Preview As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

Preview As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

Announced at Xbox Games Showcase 2020, As Dusk Falls is the first work from INTERIOR / NIGHT. Founded by Caroline Marchal, a former developer of Quantic Dream, who also worked for Sony London, the studio aims to put her passion and experience of interactive drama at the service of an adventure where choice – sometimes – involves serious consequences. Fasten your seat belt, it’s time to take the road with the Walker family.

The story of a family in the wrong place at the wrong time

On paper, As Dusk Falls promises an interactive story that tells the story of two families’ intertwined lives over thirty years. Our demo, it only included the first two chapters of the adventure and was 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 stop in a lost motel due to a car accident that caused them to get stuck on the spot. Unfortunately for them, this picturesque parenthesis in their lives gets the appearance of an end as three brothers on the run take over the place. Inexperienced, nervous and above all armed, they seek to escape from the police after a robbery that has gone wrong. That’s when As Dusk Falls takes the form of a camera. Trapped by thugs with unpredictable reactions, Vincent will have to make the right choices so that his family comes out alive.. In the skin of an ordinary man without superpowers or concrete abdominal muscles, the player can only count on his composure, his judgment as well as his reflexes to get out of unsolvable situations.

The weight of words as weapons

As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

At first glance, there is nothing that distinguishes the INTERIOR / NIGHT software from another 100% narrative game of choice. Deprived of direct control of his hero, the player is content to click on elements of the device, select answers, and perform QTEs to advance. This very restrictive gameplay will not unite those who are allergic to interactive drama with the genre, but it will make life easier for beginners for whom the joystick is a real enemy.

As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre? As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

In terms of gameplay, As Dusk Falls borrows elements from many interactive dramas that have come before it.. Like Detroit: Become Human, when a chapter is over, it’s possible to see all the branches taken, but also to reload a saw to try other choices. If it does not revolutionize the genre it serves, the INTERIOR / NIGHT software currently provides the most important thing in a 100% narrative game: a gripping story, interesting characters, difficult choices, and tense situations.

To the point. Or almost

As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

Like Dusk Falls, they have the good sides of a first game made by a team specifically created to develop it under good conditions. Unlike many interactive dramas that do not have much left to tell, but pull the strings because their name sells, The INTERIOR / NIGHT app smells like a thoughtful, long-lasting project, designed to put the player in dangerous situations and at the same time be quite subtle in what it tells. It’s good to see the work in a studio that does not pull the violins out to tear us to tears, and which from time to time allows itself a lighter tone (if the player decides to go in this direction with his character) . Our two-hour game revealed a scenario that was certainly simple but fascinating, served by an excellent cast. Again, there is intelligence in As Dusk Falls with its protagonists in several shades of gray, whether on the side of the “bad guys” or the police.

As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

How unfortunate that the breathless rhythm is mixed with flashbacks. The latter, playable, certainly has the merit of teaching us a little more about the protagonists’ past. Unfortunately, the intrigue revealed in Chapter 2 is not the most compelling: Knowing if Vincent’s wife was unfaithful to him with an office colleague seems rather ridiculous when the whole little family risks death in the present. TV series have been abusing this storytelling trick for years. For now, we feel that the narrative would have fared better without this forced flashback to such a banal subplot. However, we remember that we only played two chapters. We hope the following will use the page stories in a more engaging way.

A confusing picture near Route 66

As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

The artistic direction, singular, is without a doubt the greatest originality of the title INTERIOR / NIGHT. We could once again describe to you the technique used, namely a mixture of “real” 3D for the decorations, and drawings of characters in 2D, which one would swear, originated from a graphic novel. The most important question is, above all, whether the rendering works and what it brings to the story. It is clear that after a few minutes of play we almost forget that the characters on the screen are (almost) not animated. It is as if our brain managed to reconstruct the missing images between two drawings. INTERIOR / NIGHT as a young independent studio, it was definitely the best solution to both stand out visually and at the same time ensure that a dangerous technique would not ruin the intentions. Yes, you will feel things for these characters, even if they are just illustrations placed in 3D settings. In addition, we would point out that the title has French voices of excellent quality. The feeling of contemplation is only better.

As Dusk Falls: between series and video games, a narrative experience capable of renewing the genre?

Our impression

As Dusk Falls seems to give players an exciting interactive drama, if not to revolutionize the genre. We are reassured by the writing of the characters, the already numerous twists and its artistic direction that works. We just hope the parallel subplots don’t slow down the pace of the adventure too much. There are still many things to check, such as the consequences of certain choices over time, but the lights glow green for the title INTERIOR / NIGHT. As Dusk Falls arrives on July 19, 2022 for the Xbox Series, Xbox One and PC. It will be included in Game Pass from the day of its release.

Editorial Review

Promising

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