I think it’d be a very interesting and enlightening experience to interview Maddy Thorson. Thorson is a non-binary indie game developer most known for their work on Celeste, a 2D-platformer. The game involves the main character, Madeline, climbing up Celeste Mountain as an act of self validation, while tackling many relevant topics such as depression and anxiety.
The game is very important to Thorson, for a number of reasons, so I would love to ask them questions about how their personal experiences influenced the game. Celeste has such a realistic and profound approach to how anxiety can affect you, and one of the main themes is how accepting your mental health is the first step in overcoming it, so I’d love to know if any specific moments Thorson has experienced influenced these themes. With a game that approaches mental health in such a nuanced manner, it’s a very important piece, and I’d love to know why Thorson decided on making a game with mental health as the main theme.
I’d also be interested in asking them about the decisions made on the difficulty of the game. Celeste is quite well known as a difficult game, and Thorson has stated that that decision is intentional due to the tough subject matter being aided by tough difficulty, but I would want to ask what made them decide on how the level difficulty progresses throughout the game. Some areas are much tougher to beat than others, even in the exact same level, so it would be interesting to learn what creative process went into deciding difficulty progression.
However, one of the most talked about ways the game has affected Thorson is the decision to make Madeline transgender. While developing the game, Thorson realized that Madeline as a character helped them come to terms with their own gender identity. If they were comfortable enough talking about it, I think it could absolutely be beneficial to ask them about how Madeline became so helpful in helping them realize they’re non binary, and to talk about how much of an inspiration Madeline has become for trans women in particular, not only to understand Thorson’s own feelings with regards to gender, but to further normalize trans and non-binary people who are into gaming.
Maddy Thorson has made other games, but the questions I’d love to ask them are about Celeste because of how personal the game is to me, and to Thorson themself. They are a huge inspiration for me when it comes to storytelling because of this game, and I’d love to interview them because of how much I admire their work on it.