Pentiment wouldn’t be the same without its gorgeous fonts, but they’re more authentic than you might suspect.
Sporting precisely zero voicovers, medieval detective game Pentiment relies on text boxes, speech bubbles and the like to convey its dialogue. The fantastic, curving fonts Pentiment uses does wonders for its atmosphere. Sure, developer Obsidian Entertainment could have gone with Comic Sans but it wouldn’t have been nearly the same.
But, as revealed by Lettermatic’s Riley Cran, Obsidian didn’t just yank the fonts from a bank of existing ones. Instead of purchasing a few likely looking candidates, Obsidian commissioned the company to produce something a little bit special.
As Cran reveals on Lettermatic’s site, Obsidian had already done some typographic research before approaching the company. But Lettermatic dialled things up to eleven, poring over books, documents and more. They even picked through the like the last will and testament of William Shakespeare, to help craft an authentic typeface.
NEW CASE STUDY // Pentiment, the new game from @Obsidian, has a series of custom fonts inspired by handwritten letters of the 16th century.
They were designed by the team at Lettermatic. 🔤
— Riley Cran (@rileycran) November 17, 2022
It wasn’t just a case of producing a few different fonts and calling it a day, either. The team had to consider legibility which, particularly where cursive is concerned, isn’t always straight forward. Some fonts also had multiple versions of the same letter which, as Cran explains “…can be used to represent the skill level of the author, or they can be used to help more accurately simulate the natural spontaneity of hand drawn words.”
So, while you might take Pentiment’s fonts for granted, they’re a real work of art. And the effort that’s gone into making them elevates the game, even if you’re not acutely aware of it. You can read Cran’s full account here on Lettermatic – it’s absolutely worth diving into, even if you’re not a games designer or font enthusiast.
As for the game itself, you can read our review here and pick it up on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. It’s also available free to Game Pass subscribers.