Indigo Prophecy – First Impressions

Three things:

1) [quoting from page 4 of the instruction manual]

My desire to create video games dates back to the arrival of 3D real time. I remember how many possibilities suddenly opened up because of this new technology. I saw it as a new means of expression where the world could be pushed to its limits. It was my way of exploring new horizons. I felt like a pioneer filmmaker at the start of the 20th century: grappling with basic technology, but also being aware that there is everything left to invent – in particular a new language that is both narrative and visual.

To be honest, the ten years that followed didn’t satisfy my hunger. I was under the impression that video games were only exploiting a tiny part of their amazing creative potential, because they concentrated on “Action” and totally neglected a fundamental element of all human experience – emotion. The technology, meanwhile, was moving much faster.

Indigo Prophecy is my contribution to the transformation of video games into a true form of expression that coveys emotion. The solutions I offer are not the only ones, but Indigo Prophecy‘s huge merit is that it asks real questions and offers concrete answers. It shows how it’s possible to create an interactive experience that is more than just killing monsters in corridors and shooting crates to find ammunition. It shows that it’s possible to create experiences that are richer and deeper. It shows that it’s also possible to tell a story and play a game without sacrificing either the interactivity or the narrative. I hope you, as skilled or occasional players, will enjoy the experience that we have tried to create here. If you hold prejudices against video games, I hope that Indigo Prophecy will help you reconsider your judgment. I also hope that more people will be tempted to explore this new creative path, injecting their own inspiration, talent, and ambitions. Interactivity is still in its infancy. There is still everything left to invent.

Indigo Prophecy has been a huge part of our lives these last two years and has proved to be a vast human and intellectual adventure for the whole Quantic Dream team, one that has forced us to question many of the principles that we previously took as read. I will consider myself fortunate if, like the books, films, and songs that have made lasting impressions on you, Indigo Prophecy could leave some small trace too.

David Cage

2) The Tutorial: Prior to starting a new game, you can choose to play through the tutorial. The tutorial is hosted by David Cage. He doesn’t just narrate, but is mapped to a 3D character model using the in-game graphics engine. The tutorial takes place on a movie set, complete with random props, a blue screen, and the crash-test dummy that you control to learn the basics of how you will be interacting with the game environment. What Mr. Cage has to say in the tutorial augments his statement in the instruction manual, which earns him much respect from this gamer. Good vibes.

3) I didn’t look to see what percentage of the story I had completed last night when I went to bed, but so far, the game is a great play, and from what I can gather from my wife, quite good to watch. Indigo Prophecy truly is a choose-your-own adventure movie. It isn’t an action game, it’s more like Out of This World or Deja Vu. You control the characters as they play out their roles in “life”. You are constrained by certain devices – the game won’t let you leave an area without accomplishing some key element, if there is one – and not everything can be interacted with by everyone at all times. But the freedom you do have is excellent, and allows you to learn more about the characters as well as shape who they are yourself. So far I’ve used the toilet lots of times, I’ve had milk, hard alcohol, coffee, and water to drink, played blues guitar, done some kick-boxing, shot hoops, ran around in my underwear, fed birds, listened to music on a juke box, surfed the web, taken naps… killed a guy, died a few times, been arrested a few times, and have become delightfully embroiled in an intriguing murder mystery. The action elements aren’t incredibly challenging – most of the time, but they do seem to be ingeniously paced to illicit the appropriate emotion for the task. I just played a chapter that requires a very slow, and even, repetition of analogue stick movements. On the surface, it’s a very simple task. But it’s long. And combined with the events that are unfolding as you watch, and sudden subtle changes in tempo or complexity of the pattern, it makes itself more difficult because you get tense and expectant yourself. It really does seem to pull you into the experience of the character on screen. And that’s a key thing to remember, you are playing the lives of these people as they are trying to figure out the events unfolding before them. You aren’t going to see everything and do everything perfectly the first time. It’s okay to mess up sometimes as it keeps the game real, and the game is scripted very well (so far) to handle deviations in the way you play. I am looking forward to the rest of the game, and am already trying to decide how I want to play it my second time through.

Definitely, this is the type of game I would make.

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