The Last Night Is Flashback Meets Blade Runner In Pixel Art

By Graham Smith on June 30th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Often game jams produce a lot of interesting ideas rendered in basic, barely-legible programmer art, but themes like the cyberpunk jam or the space cowboy jam seem to attract artists as much as game designers.

Case in point: The Last Night, made by brothers Tim and Adrien Soret. It’s a “Blade Runner + delicious pixels”. It’s inspired by Flashback and games of its era. It is by implication a stealth game, though it contains no mechanics to support that so you have to shoot everything. It is three minutes long, beautifully drawn, and full of great music. Play it in your browser at that or this link.

Played it? Good. The Last Night won the overall and aesthetics categories of the cyberpunk jam, and it’s easy to see why. I badly want a whole game set in this universe. Heck, I badly want a whole game set in the nightclub that centers the piece. Here’s the track that’s playing in there.

The Soret brothers put together the Last Night in six days, but their main project is Behind Nowhere. It’s a pixel art action platformer, similarly inspired by Flashback but riffing also on Oddworld Abe’s Oddysee and Limbo. It’s a long way away – “Kickstarter campaign starting in 2015,” says the website – but already looks great. Like this:

And since I was bored last night, I stitched together some screenshots from The Last Night to make this (click for better quality):

, , , .

22 Comments »

  1. Fomorian1988 says:

    This looks so very georgeous. Definitely will play it once I have the time.

  2. Gwilym says:

    Gorgeous. The aesthetics prize was well-earned. I’m not so sure about the ‘overall’ one, since I’m not convinced there was any real interaction, but to continue along that path would see me inadvertently stumbling into the walking simulator debate, so I’ll briskly move on.

    *spoilers follow*

    I wish they hadn’t used the ending of Hotline Miami. I realise the whole thing’s a pastiche (I suppose HLM was too), but that seemed an oddly specific and recent source. It worked, but it was a weirdly familiar note to go out on, and it deflated my excitement a bit.

    But yeah, gorgeous. Some of the most effective pixel art I’ve seen in a long time. Behind Nowhere looks beautiful too.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I agree entirely, both with the “this is visually gorgeous” and the “you don’t really do anything” points.

  3. Viroso says:

    Open world games, please, stop taking place in medieval fantasy worlds, modern day cities or tropical islands. Okay, historical cities are nice for the first two times, but that’s it.

    Whole point of open world is the world, and what’s the fun in being somewhere you’ve been to before in five other games?

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I’d probably consider stabbing someone if it’d guarantee I got an open world game in a Shadowrun or CP2020-esque setting.

    • Perjoss says:

      Deus Ex: Human Revolution although suffers from slight console dumbed-downness is pretty good. Its not truly an open world game but once you’re let loose to explore into the cities looking for missions, specially Shengha, I did get a nice Bladerunner kind of feeling.

      I cant think of anything else right now that really comes close as far as open world games go, we really do need more diversity when it comes to creating virtual open worlds, and not just in terms of setting and location, but also in the form of fresh objectives and gameplay ideas. These days everything seems to be a criminal/mass murder simulator.

    • Polifemo says:

      I, for one, cant get enough of medieval setting games (preferably light on the fantasy part). Though I would really enjoy a game that focused on a detailed medieval city or small county/duchy/port city instead of the wide strokes “look at this whole world” aproach most game settings seem to take (which always ends up creating a very empty world with “silly minigames/baubles/collectibles uninspired efortless filler content as a result).
      Bloodborne seems to be taking this aproach with the whole old decayed reinnasance city which is pretty nice.

      I feel “open world” games take the “world” part too literaly, or use the same general idea other “open world” games use so people get tired of it faster.

      Theres loads of unexplored grounds and fertile soil for medieval setings stil imo. I kinda want more port city and crusades stuff personally. Deus vult!

      • noodlecake says:

        So maybe a King’s Landing from Game Of Thrones game?

        An open world city based RPG would be really good! I love that idea. Maybe something along the lines of a story wrapped around a city like Dragon Age 2, only not re-using assets or having iffy combat and all been completely open and with realtime combat?

        • Polifemo says:

          I would actually prefer if the city isnt a capital one and if it is it would focus on a district. Theres a tendency of games to go for a grand scale and often the more compact, personal scales get neglected. You can be a cattle watchman for some lord scouring the castle town and outskirts for a group of cattle thiefs. You can be a city guard in charge of an outer district. You can be a Hedge knight escorting a caravan to the next town.

          The amount of interesting stories is small settings are far more interesting than a grand epic.

          Theres also a tendency towards the bleak and gritty and shitty in medieval settings. It doesnt have to be that way at all. I think Crusader Kings 2 handles it pretty well with a rather aloof “hes your son, he loves you, hes the kindest man around, but that county is his by rights and hes gonna call the Holy Roman empire on your ass to get it if necesary. Hell still love you afterwards and invite you over for mutton” or something.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    I don’t want to put too fine a point on this, but I’m kinda getting to a point where I’m very over the low res pixel art aesthetic. Even when it’s used nicely as seems very much to be the case here, it just makes me wish they’d gone with something a bit higher fidelity.

    Am I alone here?

    • Laurentius says:

      I’m a bit there myslef, I mean it’s has great graphical design but I remember Flashback of that time, it wasn’t made as lo-fi graphics game, it was universally named as one of the game with most impressive graphics of that time utilizing then-current resolutions ( Amiga ). So I dig the esthetics but i wouldn’t mind if they went for something more “high-res”.

      • Tim Soret says:

        Hi, it’s Tim, the developer here =)
        We totally agree about the resolution. Bear in mind that we had 6 days to make a game, so we couldn’t afford the time to create better sprites. Of course we wanted them bigger, more detailed and with more frames of animations. But given the deadline, we had to cut corners & we made our best to offer a game, very short we agree, but still enough deliver a very strong mood & give you a good hindsight at what we’re preparing.

        • Laurentius says:

          Yeah, of course you are right about it being special project, my response was rather general observeation in line with Jackblade comment about many games nowdays utilizaing lo-fi retro pixel graphics inspired by old games that on the other hand actually strived and achived graphical excellency, which I find a bit jarring.

          And great game btw,

          • JFS says:

            Welcome to what’s been happening in music since the late 1990′s. And you know, it’s a great thing. Lo-fi is a legitimate art style/genre in itself.

          • Laurentius says:

            @JFS
            Everyone has an opinion and I have mine but I did play Flashback back in a day on Amiga and it didn’t have pixelated graphics, not at all. Delphine Soft knew how to made their game crisp and smooth. Lo-fi might very well be a ligitimate style/genre but I do find it jarring to look for inspiration for it in games that just didn’t aim for it or just simply don’t have it for all their limitations.

        • noodlecake says:

          I do really like lo fi pixel art. I don’t really have time to check this out tonight but I will do soon! I’m trying to create my own pixel art characters/scenes for a game (using RPG Maker because I have no programming skills). I have no idea how you could make something so awesome looking in less than a week! How many of you worked on the visuals?

    • Polifemo says:

      I feel much of the bias for retro pixely stuff tends to be a perception that the artist is trying to be “retro because retro is arty and easy” which to their is sometimes the case. Not saying that is your stanve/bias just the impression I get from people that complain about it.

      Think of it as an artstyle like Impressionism, Cubism, Surealism and the like. Its Pixelism. Its a resource for the artist to use. A resource that happens to be easier and cheaper to manage than most and in vouge to boot so everyone is using it, especially small developers.

      Dont worry, we will get the next big fad eventually. I, for one, am hoping for Cupheadism.

    • valrus says:

      Well, I don’t think it’s as if these thousands of pixel art games would have been made in other styles were it not for a pixel “fad”. It’s that low-res pixel art is sufficiently cheap, quick, and easy to animate that small teams can actually bring their projects to release. (Emphasis on the low-res; high-res 2d art can get expensive fast.)

  5. Mephistoau says:

    Man…. that was short but friggin awesome. So much atmosphere for such a short period of time. Loved it :)

  6. JFS says:

    Super gorgeous. This game has more atmosphere in three minutes than anything I’ve played since I don’t know when.

  7. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    It’s the atmosphere that makes it. Then again, a game having great atmosphere is nothing to scoff at.