Anotnaides said Garland ended up suggesting a variety of touches to increase the story's clarity, such as taking camera control away briefly so a player will notice an important enemy or plot point. The development team fought the idea, saying it would break the flow, but in the end Antonaides said it actually helped keep things exciting. "It's only when you do it badly, when they're cutscenes you don't care about, that you wish the cutscenes didn't exist," Antonaides said.
"It's only when you do it badly, when they're cutscenes you don't care about, that you wish the cutscenes didn't exist."- Tameem Antonaides
But Garland's changes ended up applying to more than just the story scenes. He suggested small changes to camera angles and positions during battle scenes to make the fights feel more impactful, and even adjusted details as small as a main character's idle pose. "If she were an actress and this were a movie, I'd tell her to look more inhibited, less confident," Antonaides recalled Garland saying. The change isn't immediately noticeable, Antonaides said, but it does make a difference you can subconsciously pick up on.
Perhaps the most important thing Garland brought to the project, Antonaides said, was an insistence that everything in the game world be explainable and consistent. He questioned seemingly inconsequential environmental elements like forest paths or powered doors, demanding to know how they made sense in the game's world. "We were tripping over everywhere, [but we had to] come up with something. The world has to be believable. Anything that breaks that fantasy can ruin the whole game."
"The world has to be believable. Anything that breaks that fantasy can ruin the whole game."- Tameem Antonaides
By way of example, Antonaides described one point in the game where the designers had thrown in a few robot enemies because they "felt it was time for a fight." Garland noticed that the fight scene had no tension, and wrote a short story scene where the main characters accidentally attract the mechs' attention by loudly lowering a drawbridge. The tiny addition makes the fight itself "a payoff for something else" and gives it "a narrative flow [that] makes it a little story in itself," Antonaides said.
"If anyone says 'its just a game,' you know you have a big problem," he said. "You can't justify stuff like that. You can't just leave it. You have to fix it."