The First Tree
News

The First Tree looks foxy (and tragic) in its first trailer

The last time that we talked to David Wehle about his upcoming game The First Tree, it wasn’t much more than a few screenshots of a fox and his earnest desire to tell a story about the nature of life and death. It aims to weave two stories together—a fox searching for her lost kits and a human couple undergoing a tragedy—to bring beauty and meaning to the exploration genre. The recently-released teaser trailer shows just how poignant these tales can be. It follows the familiar fox through a forest as a young man and woman talk about dreams. She…

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Feature

Overwatch and the pleasure of transmedia narratives

Before Winston, a glasses-clad gorilla scientist, was leaping across maps to crush his enemies in the chaotic multiplayer battles of Overwatch, he was merely a young ape with big aspirations and an affinity for peanut butter. But you wouldn’t know that from merely playing the game. You’ll find no calculated, story-driven campaign in Blizzard’s competitive team-based multiplayer shooter. Overwatch’s character-driven narrative is instead trickled elsewhere: in genuinely endearing animated shorts, character-focused one-off webcomics, and short website-bound character biographies. The latter-most isn’t uncommon within videogames, the second less so, and the first is the most uncommon of them all, the three…

Fitz Packerton
News

Fitz Packerton turns packing your bags into a theatrical videogame

The first note of suspicion arises in two boxes sat next to each other on a desk. The label on these boxes is blurred beyond detail by the low-resolution—it’s possible to make out that it depicts a cylindrical instrument, white and red in color. I told myself it must be batteries for the nearby handheld radios. But I think I knew it was shotgun shells. /// “You hold your gun up when in waist-high water. You push away tall grass. Button just for Adrian Brody voicing how much ammo you have left.” These are a few of the features of…

Postcard From Capri
News

Postcard From Capri, your upcoming videogame vacation

More videogames should be set in the places their creators want to go on vacation. I’m not sure if the person behind Postcard From Capri wants to travel to the Italian island of the game’s namesake but, hell, after having seen the work-in-progress screenshots, I know now that I certainly want to go there. It’s described as an interactive short story played from the first-person perspective. So far so ordinary. OK, but you play as either a detective or a journalist (to be decided, I guess) who receives a mysterious letter that contains a postcard, a ticket, and enough money to travel to…

A Place for the Unwilling
News

A videogame in which the city is the protagonist

The city in A Place for the Unwilling is alive. It may even be possible for it to die. The streets and buildings make up its physical form as bones and muscles and arteries do ours. The population is its life force; rushing like a bloodstream through the alleys and avenues, occasionally stopping for conversation next to a monument or under a streetlamp. The city hears them whispering each other’s names, it feels them moving around inside of it, and more recently it has felt something darker and twisted lurking within it. The idea in this upcoming narrative adventure is to explore…

Dissonance
News

A videogame dares to ask “What is the meaning of life?”

You might head into Dissonance assuming it to have something to say about so-called “ludonarrative dissonance.” Because that’s all people can think about when the word dissonance comes up in the videogame space, apparently. And, actually, upon playing through the first couple of minutes, you might find that suspicion of yours steadily coming true. You’ll be reading along with this virtual novelette and, all of a sudden, a maze game will appear at the end of the first chapter. It’ll seem completely dissociated with what you’ve just read as well as the entire format of reading a book; it’s like it’s been…

Forest of Sleep
News

Turning Narrative Into A Play Space With Forest Of Sleep

Proteus creator Ed Key and artist Nicolai Troshinsky of Twisted Tree Games have only talked abstractly about their upcoming experimental narrative game Forest of Sleep before. But now, a few months after its initial announcement, the pair have cut into the specifics of what they mean when citing “emergent associations” and “cinematic language.” Speaking to Gamasutra, Key revealed the process behind his effort to use procedural generation to create stories that had both drama and pacing, using only hand-made art pieces and wordless animated scenes. Crucial to this aim is the choice of influence found in late-20th century Eastern European illustration…

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News

Memoir En Code, or how to sell yourself through a videogame

“The more you play, the more you know me.” This is the line that hammers out, a single word at a time, every time you open up Alex Camilleri’s autobiographical game album Memoir En Code. It strikes me as an odd objective for a creator to imply to their audience. But, as I think about it, I realize that it’s hardly strange at all. How much of art appreciation has been dedicated to finding out more about the artist’s life? A lot of it. That’s the answer. When we talk about van Gogh we don’t only speak of his paintings…