If I had to pick the phrase that has caught my attention in a press release most quickly, “adventure set in the final 21 days of a dying Dickensian city” is certainly in the running.
Spanish independent game developers AlPixel released a 6 minute narrative trailer for their game A Place for the Unwilling earlier today, and it is crammed full of potential that has me quite intrigued.
A Place for the Unwilling is a branching narrative adventure set in the final 21 days of a dying Dickensian city, where the clock is ticking, and you can’t be everywhere at once. Decide what to explore, who to meet and see every decision shape curious stories and terrible secrets.
The game’s initial pitch would be enough to intrigue me, regardless of the mechanics, to be quite honest. After the suicide of a family friend that leaves you property, you start your life in a city, but you’ll only have 21 days to make a difference before the city dies, and the clock NEVER stops ticking. Talk about instant pressure! As tense as that all sounds, there something exciting about knowing that every one of your actions and decisions matters, from who you talk to, to what you buy, to how you get around.
This trailer does an absolutely fantastic job of showing just how open this game makes things. Showing three different characters, doing three ENTIRELY different things on their first day in the city, really give you a sense of, one, how much there is to do in A Place for the Unwilling, and two, the kind of cascading choices you might be faced with.
This also speaks to the game’s potential replayability. With so many possible paths to explore, I can see playing through A Place for the Unwilling a few times, perhaps first as an investigative type, then as a socialite, then as a ruthless mercantile. Each playthrough is sure to unveil more and more about the seemingly Lovecraftian mystery surrounding the city and what you might be able to do to stop it.
I’d be remiss if i didn’t mention the game’s art style, specifically one little detail. All the NPCs in the city seem wrapped in a cloud of smoke, until you start talking to them, which is when the smoke dissipates and the colorful and characterful models appear.
THIS. IS. BRILLIANT.
First, It saves on assets for AlPixel, as they don’t have to create full character models for every single character in the city. Second, it’s the most brilliant way of showing who you’ve met in a gigantic new city.
A Place for the Willing can now be wish listed on Steam. Current release is set for sometime in 2019.