GameTech: Death Come True impresses with cinematic scenes

GameTech: Death Come True impresses with cinematic scenes
Some of the characters from the Death Comes True video game, a big step up from the FMV games of the 1990s.

They say some stories don’t translate to film. Well, in Death Come True, we’re about to find out if that’s true for gaming. Not only is Death Come True a wacky Full Motion Video (FMV) game, but it’s coming from Japan, with all the cultural differences that might bring.

An FMV game is one where the story is played out through cinematic film scenes, rather than traditional graphics or computer designs. In effect, they tend to be Choose Your Own Adventure stories, played out through the medium of film. The most famous of these games are those in the horror genre, like Night Trap and 7th Guest, both of which released in the early ‘90s. But many Irish gamers might also remember Mad Dog McCree, the western arcade game where the player had to shoot villainous bandits in FMV duels.

The genre never really took off, with good reason – as games became more 3D in the ‘90s, the appeal of interactive film just didn’t have a niche. Why spend most of your time watching a game, when you could be immersed and interacting in the world?

Most recently, however, the excellent Her Story showed that the FMV scene still had potential. Made by just one person, it was a very clever FMV game that used the premise of a police video interview to understand the story behind a crime. A woman is interviewed seven times by the police and you search through the video database to discover the truth.

Which brings us back to Death Comes True, set for release on June 24 on consoles and PC. Death Come True also revolves around a crime, as a young man wakes up in a weird hotel to find himself accused of murder. Unfortunately, the man is an amnesiac, meaning he can’t be sure the accusations aren’t true. On the plus side, he has time-travelling powers that allow him to explore all the options, and a sidekick detective to help prove his innocence.

We expect Death Comes True to be much like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, but multiplied by a million. The choices you make along the journey will lead to all kinds of weird and interesting outcomes. With the benefits of modern film-making and interactive technology, the journey is likely to be much more fun than the old FMV games of the ‘90s, so for that alone Death Come True is worth watching.

However, if you’re looking for some entertaining film while you wait, check out the Japanese advert for Death Comes True on YouTube. It features actor Jiro Sato in a largely unrelated and surreal speech in which he ponders the death of his best friend, begs his wife for a higher allowance and generally acts hilariously strange. Lost in translation? Maybe, but that’s an FMV game we’d buy in a heartbeat.

STEAM LAUNCH

Meanwhile, the Tidy Towns competition may have been cancelled for 2020, but that won’t stop you making tidy-looking towns on your PC or mobile. A cute little game called Townscaper will launch on Steam Early Access next month, with the goal to build quaint European-style villages and towns that are aesthetically pleasing.

There are no other goals or obstacles of note. Unlike other town or city-building games, there aren’t any resource management aspects or hurdles to overcome like finances and natural disasters. This isn’t a simulation – it’s more like an art tool.

The creator Oskar Stalberg describes Townscaper like this: “Pick colors from the palette, plop down colored blocks of house on the irregular grid, and watch Townscaper’s underlying algorithm automatically turn those blocks into cute little houses, arches, stairways, bridges, and lush backyards, depending on their configuration.” Not just tidy, but neat!

SONY GAMING EVENT

Sony’s The Future of Gaming streaming event, which was postponed from last week due to Black Lives Matter protests, has now been rescheduled for tomorrow (Thurs) at 9.00pm Irish time.

The event is set to reveal a slew of PlayStation 5 gameplay, making it the most exciting gaming stream of the year so far, and the closest thing we’ll get to a traditional E3 event in 2020.

We expect to see a number of next-generation games revealed, with gameplay, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see the console itself finally revealed too. Exciting!

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