Preview As Dusk Falls: between series and video game, a narrative experience that can change the genre?
Announced at the 2020 Xbox Games Showcase, As Dusk Falls is the first work from INTERIOR/NIGHT. Founded by Caroline Marchal, a former Quantic Dream developer who also works at Sony London, the studio aims to put her passion and experience in Interactive Drama at the service of an adventure where the choices – sometimes – involve seriousness. consequences. Fasten your seatbelt, it’s time to go on the road with the Walker family.
The story of a family in the wrong place at the wrong time
In the paper, As Dusk Falls promises an interactive story that recounts the interconnected lives of two families over thirty years. Our demo, it only covers the first two chapters of the adventure and is only interested in the events that took place in 1998. The story begins in a small town in Arizona. Vincent, Michelle, their daughter Zoé and grandfather Jim stopped at a lost motel due to a car accident that kept them in the area. Sadly for them, this beautiful parenthesis of their lives seemed to come to an end when the three running brothers took place. Inexperienced, nervous and most of all armed, they tried to flee the police following the robbery. This is the time when As Dusk Falls takes the form of a camera. Trapped by robbers with unpredictable reactions, Vincent must make the right choices so his family can get out alive.. In the skin of an ordinary person without superpowers or concrete abs, the player can rely only on his calm, his judgment, as well as his reflexes to get out of inseparable situations.
The weight of words as a weapon
At first glance, the INTERIOR / NIGHT software is no different from other 100% narrative games with options. Taking direct control of his hero, the player is content to click on decorative elements, choose answers and create QTEs to progress.. This very tight game won’t reconcile the Interactive Drama allergies of the genre, but it will make life easier for neophytes that the joystick is a real enemy.
Gameplay-wise, While Dusk Falls borrows elements from the many Interactive Dramas that preceded it.. Like Detroit: Be Human, once a chapter is over, it’s possible to see all the branches removed, but also reload a save to try other options. If it doesn’t change the genre it serves, the INTERIOR/NIGHT software provides, for now, what is most important in a 100% narrative game: a shocking story, interesting characters, challenging options and tense situations.
At the point. Or almost
As Dusk Falls had good features a first game was done by a team specially created to develop it in good shape. Unlike many Interactive Dramas that don’t have much to say but pull the strings because their name sells, the INTERIOR/NIGHT app smells like a thoughtful, long -standing project, designed to put the player in dangerous situations while being somewhat subtle in what it says. It’s good to look at work in a studio that doesn’t pull the violins so we can tear up, and that allows itself every now and then in a lighter tone (if the player decides to go in this direction with his character). Our two hour play revealed a scenery that was definitely simple but engaging, served up by a very good cast. Once again, has intelligence on As Dusk Falls with its protagonists in many shades of gray, whether they’re on the side of “bad people” or the cops.
Sadly the breathless rhythm is interrupted by flashbacks. Granted, the latter, playable, has the merit of teaching us a little more about the past of the main characters. Unfortunately, the intrigue revealed in chapter 2 is not the most compelling: to find out if Vincent’s wife cheated on him with an office mate seems like a mockery if, at the present time, the whole small family at risk of death. TV series have been abusing this narrative deception for years. For now, we feel the account would be even better without this forced flashback of such a mundane subplot. However, we remember that we only played two chapters. We hope the following will use side stories in a more compelling way.
A confusing visual near Route 66
The artistic direction, singular, is the greatest originality of the INTERIOR/NIGHT title. We can re-describe to you the technique used, which is a mixture of “real” 3D for decorations, and drawings of 2D characters that one would swear by from a graphic novel. The most important question is above all if the translation works, and what does it bring to the story. Obviously after a few minutes of play, we almost forget that the characters on the screen are (almost) not animated.. It was as if our brain was able to reconstitute the lost images between the two drawings. INTERIOR/NIGHT for a young independent studio, this is definitely the best solution for both to see while making sure that a dangerous technique doesn’t ruin intentions. Yes, you can feel things for these characters, even if they are just illustrations set in 3D settings. In addition, we want to point out that the title has very good quality French sounds. The feeling of immersion is only so much better.
As Dusk Falls seems set to give players an exciting Interactive Drama, if not to change the genre. We were confident about the writing of the characters, the already many twists, and the artistic direction to act. We just hope the parallel subplots don’t slow down the flow of the adventure too much. There are many more things to explore, such as the consequences of some choices over time, but the lights are green for the INTERIOR/NIGHT title. As Dusk Falls arrives on July 19, 2022 on Xbox Series, Xbox One and PC. It will be included in the Game Pass from the day of its release.