“Super vacuous, no substance at all -- like we're a vessel for other people's stupid fantasies, basically,” Berkman said. “The [initial look of the] game is the ultimate version of that: a triple-A, military-style RPG game with 500 hours of content and only one ending!"
Esposito joined on as Capsule Silence’s one-man development team, handling the bulk of the game’s art, level design and programming. His first time working so closely with a band, Esposito endeavored to combine their aesthetic love of Katamari Damacy with the crash-prone, outsider-art games of Thecatamites. But beyond that -- and anything he’d done as a contracted maker before -- he probed into Anamanaguchi’s feelings about each other. Proustian Google spreadsheets were filled out to make Capsule Silence capture as much of the band as possible, giving fans an intimate, almost intruding look into the peculiarities of each band member.
“I felt like I was doing a documentary, in some aspects,” Esposito said. “I would do these phone interviews with them and I would have them tell me how they wanted their room to be, but I'd also ask them about each other, to try and get a more well-rounded picture. What I ended up building was about as [reflective of] them as I could make it.”
As Capsule Silence was being prepped for release, the band -- Berkman especially -- began emphasizing to Esposito their second layer of performance. As a rebellion against NHX, the band leaked the WIP test-version game (hence its amateurish look), as well as screenshotted arguments with developers and an eleven-page PDF detailing NHX’s “dedicated fanbase targeting” and “consensual alliances” with brands like Taco Bell and shows like Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory. Once the leak was out, radio silence. The band’s Twitter account would be scrubbed and there would be no engaging with reactions, from the media or fans.
“It's the gross side of capitalism in the arts, essentially, which is a thing we were familiar with, a world that was easy for us to role-play within," Warnaar said. “But at the same time, it was a very realistic situation for us to [potentially] be in, even though to us, it was presented in such an absurd way, that everything was blatantly manufactured.”
“They went full-throttle on it, and I got little scared, to be honest [laughs],” Esposito said. “Anamanaguchi and I both like to overdo things to comic effect, and I think they -- or at least Pete -- got really into this concept. I was under the impression that it would be an open secret, where fans were supposed to be in on it, and it would be pretty obvious that this was a stunt for their benefit. I told them, 'hey, this is probably way more than you need to do.' I think it was super funny, but I didn't know that it was going to be done in this sincere way, where they wanted people to actually think that was true.”