When I sit down after a long day of writing about games and finally switch on my PlayStation, I generally want to relax, unwind and play something mind-numbingly simple. A lot of the time, I resort to an FPS, but every now and then, I resort to something a little bit more intellectual and effectual.
Recently, when I got this feeling, I decided that I would finally give Spiritfarer a whirl. Many of my indie game-loving friends have been singing the game’s praises for many moons, so it would be rude not to try it.
What I got from this game was something I simply could not have predicted, a lasting and meaningful memory that I will take with me through the rest of my gaming career. The game itself centers around the player character, Stella, who is thrust into the role of Spiritfarer after Charon, the ferryman of the dead from Greek mythology, decides to hang up his cloak and call it a day.
In this new role, Stella encounters many spirits who have recently passed and must deal with some of their mortal baggage before finally crossing over to greener pastures. It is the player’s job to find these spirits, help them deal with their troubles and ultimately let them go when the time comes.
The core gameplay loop of this game involves the player traveling around on their boat, managing the day-to-day workings of said boat until the spirits aboard the vessel need some more help. As mentioned, this game deals with heavy subject matter with emotive language and great storytelling throughout and is described by the developers as a “cozy management game about dying,” something that many players would definitely agree with.
One of the main characters that the player will get particularly familiar with is Gwen, the subject of today’s article. She is a perfect representative of this game’s ethos and is well worth the detailed review that this Spiritfarer Gwen guide will give her. So, without further ado, let’s get into the good stuff.
Our First Passenger
Gwen is one of the first people we meet in the game and the first charge Stella receives into her care after taking on her new role as Spiritfarer from Charon. After a brief conversation with Charon, you will meet Gwen at the very beginning of the game. Once the conversation and role handoff has finished, you will meet Gwen in Alt Harbour.
When Gwen crosses over to the other side after her death, she comes in the form of a young deer with standard brown fur and white spots. Very Bambi-like if you ask me.
Gwen is probably the most crucial character we meet in the game. Not only does she have one of the most detailed and prolonged arcs in the game, but she also serves as the tutorial character, helping the player set up their boat and complete the new tasks that present themselves along the way.
When we first meet Gwen, she is outwardly cheerful and easy-going, sporting a rather fetching red scarf and necklace at times, she also casually smokes, but I’m sure this has no relevance to her backstory. However, as the story progresses, we learn much about Gwen and her past. While cheerfully charming, Gwen quickly begins to show cracks in her armor, revealing a more profound mental struggle that she wants to keep Stella away from. Therefore, it is the player’s job to find out exactly what happened to Gwen in her life and what she needs to resolve to move on properly.
Outside of her real-life trauma, Gwen is also a talented musician and singer who brings music into the game through her character. Therefore, the player will spend a great deal of time helping her with her music until she gathers the courage to play in front of the other spirits on her boat.
Gwen’s Hefty Baggage
One of the core aspects of Spiritfarer is slowly delving deeper and deeper into the backstories of the spirits on your boat. Gwen is one of the trickier souls to pry information out of. However, throughout the main game, we learn that she is one of the few spirits that actually knew Stella in her human life.
It later transpires that Stella and Gwen were friends earlier in life and were once close enough to refer to each other as sisters. The friends only really interacted when they were young and slowly drifted apart over time. However, even back in their youth, Gwen had a difficult relationship with mental health, once trying to take her own life in her family’s villa – Villa Maggiore (a location we visit later in the game). However, at this time, Stella managed to talk Gwen off the ledge and see that life was worth living.
As the two grew apart, Gwen continued to smoke and struggle with her mental health, continually battling her demons. Sadly, though, she didn’t always have Stella to support her. Eventually, before her demons could claim her, she contracted lung cancer and passed away in her early forties.
Gwen’s journey will ultimately come to an end when the ‘One Last Time’ quest begins. In this quest, the player will go looking for Gwen, only to find that she is missing. Stella presumes correctly that she has gone to Villa Maggiore and instantly sets off to find her friend, fearing for the worst.
When the player catches up with Gwen, you soon find out that there is nothing to worry about; instead, it is simply Gwen’s time to move on. The sisters then set off for the Everdoor together, bidding each other a tearful farewell.
Her Musical Process
There are many beautiful storytelling devices utilized throughout Spiritfarer in order to explain the complex emotions and journeys the characters go through. However, one of the best devices in the entire game has to be Gwen’s musical development.
When we first meet Gwen, it becomes clear that she is a very musical soul, one that loves to sing and play the guitar. Despite this, she is rather shy and introverted with her talent to begin with. As the game progresses and the character helps Gwen reveal more and more about herself, her music begins to display this, and her performances are filled with personal feelings and her life’s journey.
This musical aspect of the game is also found in the fetch mechanic that persists throughout the game, requiring Stella to travel to and explore different locations in order to collect music sheets. With these sheets, Gwen can learn new songs and use them to interact with the other spirits you come across throughout the game.
There are many things about Spiritfarer that make the game amazing and completely memorable; however, without the management aspect of this game, the experience would feel rather hollow and less addictive. Therefore, the developers decided to give each character certain needs and requirements to keep them happy. Stuff that you will need to keep on top of to ensure your Spiritfaring career is a success.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of Gwen’s little quirks that you’ll need to know to progress her story.
|Favorite Food||Black Coffee|
There are certain things that the player or the NPC in question does throughout the game that elicits either a positive or negative reaction from the NPC. Each NPC is different and thus requires different things in order to be happy. Here is a cheat sheet for Gwen’s happiness and the things she would rather avoid.
|Positive Influences||Negative Influences|
|Joining your crew||The Morning Bell|
|Eating food she likes||Being without a home|
|Shopping at Racoon Inc.||Atul’s banging|
|Using the Loom||Going to Villa Maggiore|
|Having the Loom upgraded|
As mentioned previously, Gwen needs a nice house in order to be happy. Therefore, it is in the player’s interest to quickly build and upgrade her abode so that you can help her with her baggage as quickly as possible.
Her base home is rather simple to construct. You will be prompted to build her house as part of the opening tutorial for the game after you learn how to double jump with the first shrine ability. Once you’ve been prompted and you have the blueprint in hand, the player will need the following ingredients to construct the property.
- Ten maple logs
- Two limestones
After her base home is constructed and Gwen moves in, the player will also need to slowly upgrade her new abode in order to achieve peak character development. These improvements include:
- A Reading Corner: 5 Linen, 2 Maple Planks, and 80 Glim.
- A bookcase: 2 Linen, 2 Maple Planks, 250 Glim.
- Wall Decorations: 4 Maple Logs, 120 Glim.
Quick Quest Breakdown
As with every spirit in this game, Gwen comes with numerous quests, which each need to be completed in order to allow the character to open up more and prepare to pass through the Everdoor. As Gwen is one of the most important characters in this game and the one who helps the player through the opening tutorial section of the game, she has the most individual quests of any NPC in the game.
Due to this, we won’t be taking a detailed look at each of these quests, looking only at quests of note.
Quests such as ‘Set Sail, Captain,’ ‘I Get Cranky When I’m Hungry,’ and ‘The More, The Merrier’ will all teach the player about core aspects of the game. Within these quests, the player will learn everything from setting up and building stuff on the boat to recruiting new spirits to share the journey with Gwen.
Throughout this experience, you will learn very little about Gwen and her deeper connection to the player character.
Cut From The Same Cloth
Through this quest, the player will unlock Gwen’s unique perk, allowing the player to obtain many types of cloth or threads throughout the day on the Loom.
Back To The Past
Finally, you will begin to get some backstory from Gwen through this quest as she journeys back to her parent’s home, Villa Maggiore.
Taking Time Off
At this point, Gwen will tell the player how she doesn’t feel quite like herself and thus needs some time alone. To complete this quest, continue with other tasks on the ship for a couple of days before going to look for Gwen again.
I Must Be Off, and One Last Time
After finding Gwen is missing and catching up to her at Villa Maggiore, the player learns that Gwen’s time has come. Thus the pair set off for the Everdoor.
After Gwen passes through the Everdoor, her story is well and truly over. She will never appear again in the game, and her loss will be felt by any player who has a heart. However, this is the beauty of the game, and her passing should be embraced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I get Gwen Back in Spiritfarer?
Answer: During Gwen’s questline, there will come the point where she needs some time to rest and take a break from her adventures. The player must then give Gwen some time before going back to her. After this time has passed, she will be missing from her rooms, putting Stella in a state of panic. Soon, though, you will learn that Gwen has gone to her parent’s home, Villa Maggiore. Therefore, travel to this location to find her.
Question: Is Gwen your Sister in Spiritfarer?
Answer: While Stella and Gwen do refer to themselves as ‘Sisters’ at one point during the game, they are not actually related in any way. Instead, they use the term ‘Sisters’ to define how close they once were as friends.
Question: Does Spiritfarer Have Multiple Endings?
Answer: While there have been multiple updates and slight changes to Spiritfarer after launch, the main storyline still finishes the same way, regardless of how you play the game and the decisions you make throughout.
The Final Send-Off
Spiritfarer is one of those games that can only be appreciated by gamers who give the title their full attention when playing it. Without this, you will miss a great deal of the nuance in the writing and character representation that the development team has brought to the project.
Gwen is one of the spirits that this attention to detail is especially important as her emotions are all hidden under a mask when you first meet, requiring some keen ears and understanding to uncover the truth, allowing you to help her. Gwen’s leaving is one of the first big emotional hits that this game will deal to the player, leaving you with an unfillable space on your boat for the rest of the game. This is why Gwen is the perfect tutorial character; even her leaving displays how painful yet beautiful the writing of Spiritfarer can be.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about Gwen that you may have missed during your playthrough of Spiritfarer. Regardless, I look forward to seeing you again soon.
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