As mentioned in yesterday’s round-up post, I was a little disappointed that the organisers had taken the decision to move the Rezzed sessions out of the main hall at this year’s EGX and remove the schedule from the mobile app. I’ve always found these talks to be some of the most interesting at the event; and in the past I’ve had the opportunity to hear Charles Cecil talk about why adventure titles should be celebrated, and the Small Impact Games team discuss how to survive the survival genre.
The developer sessions however remained in the main area but were unfortunately tucked into a corner over at the far back of the hall that I wouldn’t be surprised if many attendees ended up missing them completely. There was one presentation I did want to make a point of seeing however, and as a result my other-half and I made it our mission to seek out the EGX Theatre in the afternoon of our visit to watch DONTNOD Entertainment share more about their upcoming psychological-thriller Twin Mirror.
The game’s story begins in Basswood, West Virginia, where 33-year old Samuel Higgs has sadly returned to attend the funeral of his best friend. Things take a turn for the worse when he wakes up in his hotel room the next day to find his shirt covered in blood and no memory of the previous night. It’s up to Sam to recall his memories and search for disparate clues throughout the town to find the truth in this mysterious investigation; it’s set to be a dark and emotional adventure where the line between truth and deception is blurred.
In an announcement published on the PlayStation Blog back in June, publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment revealed that Twin Mirror is going to be ‘a compelling journey that explores the elements of choice and hypocrisy, while paving a players’ way toward the conclusion of their investigation.’ Your decisions will have an impact: truth, duality and polarity will all become factors as Sam’s future is dictated through the choices made while investigating the place he used to call home.
As you may have already guessed already, the protagonist isn’t your standard hero and this is one of the reasons I’ve been drawn to DONTNOD’s project. Art Director Pierre-Etienne Travers said in his developer session: “Sam is broken. It’s really hard for him to come back… [He] is a bit lost. He [doesn’t] really know what to do. He is an adult but no-one told him it was time to grow up. So as you explore Basswood you will try to find a place in this universe as a player for Sam.”
An aspect of Sam’s duality is his mind palace, an inner world he created to be an escape from reality as a child. It’s a place that blends memories with logical extrapolation where he can perfectly recreate real-world scenarios to better understand them, making it the perfect tool for solving puzzles and uncovering the truth. By investigating his hotel room and using his mind palace to reconstruct his activities from the night before, he might be able to fill in the blanks and figure out what happened.
However, Sam isn’t alone and there’s someone who wants to weigh in on his investigation: The Double. Travers continued his presentation by revealing: “The Double is another part of [his personality]. He will always be there, giving him advice and choices, and as a player sometimes we have to choose between the way of Sam or the way of The Double… He isn’t evil and he isn’t good; he’s just one aspect Sam’s personality that he can’t express to others so he’s more eccentric and he’s funny at some points.”
At first the developers went down the route of making a ‘badass’ version of the protagonist but then decided this wasn’t the right the direction. Instead, they had Sam create this ‘character’ when he was younger and The Double is therefore his idea of what he’d look like as a successful man but in a childish way. It should be noted however that this is nothing to do with mental health or the supernatural, and I find it incredibly intriguing for a video game; after all, don’t we all have an image of what our perfect selves would be like in our heads?
There’s much more at stake in Basswood than just a forgotten evening and although it will be a tough journey for him, it might just be what Sam needs to finally heal the wounds of the past and move forward. There’s only one truth and his mind is the only place you’ll find it. As said by Travers at EGX: “Twin Mirror is not a game about saving the world but, I would say, it’s more a game about saving yourself.”
This episodic adventure is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2019.