Released on July 19, irrigated by the influences of series like Justified, “As Dusk Falls” is the first game from the Interior / Night studio founded by a former Quantic Dream. A visually appealing Interactive Drama with a gripping storyline.
It’s not easy to make your mark when you try to walk in a furrow already largely dug and plowed for years by a number of Interactive dramas, with more or less success. However, this is the bet made by Interior / Night, a young London studio founded in 2017 by Caroline Marchal, former Lead Designer at the Quantic Dream studio, working on games heavy rain and Beyond – Two Souls. A studio specializing precisely in interactive thrillers where the notion of choice and consequences is supposed to be at the heart of the video game experience.
First shown at the July 2020 X Box Showcase, As Dusk Falls models its narrative structure on that of a TV series; in this case six episodes of about an hour each.
Here is the trailer…
The story begins in 1998, in Arizona, and takes place over fifteen years. The Walker family is on their way to Saint Louis, determined to change their lives and reset the counters. There is Vincent, the father of the family and almost the video game counterpart of Zach Galifianakis; Michelle, his wife; their daughter Zoé and grandfather Jim, who joined the trip, accompanied by his little dog.
Following an accident, the family is forced to stay in a roadside motel. Shortly after their arrival, the Holt brothers, a family well known to the local police, also find refuge at the motel, when they are chased by the Authorities for a more or less failed robbery in the house itself. from the local sheriff… What happens next is now in your hands.
Or, even, in the hands of several players in fact, like for example what the Supermassives Games studio experienced for its horrific narrative games. Because it is possible to play As Dusk Falls up to eight, using the X Box console controller, keyboard or mouse, as well as a free downloadable application, to transform your smartphone into an interactive control screen. The idea is to make the game as accessible as possible. In multiplayer, interactions are then done by votes.
Praise of Less is more
A cluttered genre as we said above. The only way to get out of the game with this type of production must come from both a strong and catchy visual identity, coupled with a sufficiently well-crafted scenario.
The artistic approach of As Dusk Falls is for once original; anyway attractive. Designed as a Graphic Novel, the game unfolds its common thread through successive vignettes, like a kind of flip book. The animations are also very minimalistic. Tell yourself that at best, it will be a car starting and moving away, a wind effect in your hair, flame effects too, to put it in perspective.
Interactions are also often kept to a minimum. Beyond a few QTEs (which can be modulated in the options by the way), we sometimes just scan a thumbnail looking for an object or a clue; but there is no question of going through everything with a fine-toothed comb like a devious point’n click.
However, a truly astonishing energy emerges from this refined approach, ultimately like a veritable apology for Less is more. Thanks to the live actors who are reworked in the graphic palette, already, giving a “realistic” aspect to this interactive fiction. The choice of framing of the vignettes too, on which are juxtaposed abundant dialogues, creating a real dynamic in a story that never stops.
The second spring, not the least, is the scenario. Drinking from the springs of series like justified or even Fargomultiplying flashbacks and flash forwards, playing on several temporalities, As Dusk Falls gets away with it with honors, and features characters that are sometimes endearing, detestable or pathetic, but all deeply human, enthralled by a dramatic tension that is little faulted.
If, as is often the case in this type of game, you will sometimes have an illusion of choice, or, to be more precise, the feeling that at certain times the choice you make will ultimately not be that impactful, As Dusk Falls however, has many narrative branches, which will be revealed to you at the end of each chapter.
It will also be possible for you, if you wish, to explore other branches from certain given points. Useful; especially if a character dies due to an unfortunate choice on your part… Anyway, it is also the guarantee of a welcome replay value, which will be essential for you to have a view of the game. together all the pieces of the plot puzzle. Highly recommended.