I’m sorry if this seems an insignificant detail to you, but I have to ask. At the very beginning of Thimbleweed Park, there is a close-up of the padlock used on the factory gate, and you can see it moving. Here’s a screenshot:
In hindsight, I just felt like it was a symbolic offering of the focal point of the whole game… or the hub of the game. It’s the one place which all the playable characters become obsessed with and it’s the brain of the game. I just took the moving padlock to be a result of a stiff wind, which was chosen for dramatic effect and not much else.
So, I just checked the opening cutscenes again, and there is an accompanying wind sound effect for the padlock scene. It doesn’t mean there isn’t an additional meaning there however — after all, it does follow a scene which depicts the sound of the factory and tubes and machinery turning seemingly on and off, or rather beating as though it were a living organism.
I don’t know if this is meant ironically. So I will give a serious answer - at least for readers that haven’t played the game yet: Large parts of the game are about this padlock. The padlock prevents that you can get into the factory. You first have to find the key to this padlock.
The close-up of the moving padlock at the beginning is just there to set up the mood of the game. It’s just a dramaturgical trick.
I still find it very interesting how (often) the people are (trying) to interpret something into several things and scenes in the game. This is not only valid for TWP, there are similar discussions about movies and books. In the most cases the developer/author/filmmaker just thought nothing (the scene was just fun) or he/she/it just wanted to set up a mood.
It is really a bit like saying “what is the significance of the tree in the Maniac Mansion intro? Of course it then pans to the meteor crashing but at first the tree was in focus so it HAS to mean something!”