Damn Fine! Twin Peaks-ish, X-Files-y Virginia Announced

By Alice O'Connor on July 2nd, 2014 at 8:00 am.

That's just how I like my cherry pie!

Virginia was made for me, you need to understand. Other ’90s weird kids might feel that too, but it’s for me. A weird first-person “interactive drama” with low-fi untextured polygons and a period story inspired by Twin Peaks and The X-Files? It couldn’t be for anyone else.

Two FBI agents (two non-white ladies, unless I’m mistaken) investigating a missing child in a small town where the locals are weird and the cherry pie’s “damn fine” is an idea I adore so much I threatened Alec (me! me who rejects absolutely revenge, aggression, and retaliation) when he considered writing about the game’s announcement himself.

“Inspired by our collective love of 90s TV dramas like Twin Peaks, The X-Files and The Outer Limits, we wanted to create a game which captured their mixture of the inexplicable, the absurd and the mundane,” developers Variable State explain. “Our missing person drama is set in a world both familiar and strange and tells a story unlike any featured in a game before.”

It’ll be important for Virginia to establish its own identity, of course, to be more than a collection of references. Deadly Premonition only came alive when it stepped out of Twin Peaks’ shadow. Mentioning that stuff at the start is the best way to get coverage of your announcement from suckers like me, though.

Variable State is Jonathan Burroughs and Terry Kenny, who met through AI company DeepMind–one of the many AI/robotics companies Google has eerily acquired. Before then and before going indie, they worked on games including B movie pastiche The House of the Dead: Overkill, which Burroughs wrote and was a designer on. Music’s coming from Lyndon Holland, whose portfolio seems to go heavy on the weird and melancholy.

(Say, does this living room remind you of the Hayward family’s in Twin Peaks?)

They plan to release Virginia next year. Look, look at how beautiful this game is:

Look at it!

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Top comments

  1. HiFiHair says:

    There's no doubt a little bit of osmotic inspiration from Alan Wake, but the main reference for the diner was the Ovaltine Cafe, as featured in Jose Chung's From Outer Space.
  1. KwisatzHaderach says:

    The owls are not what they seem

    • HiFiHair says:

      Without chemicals he points.

    • Becalel says:

      I know. My log saw it.

      Boy, if only they managed to throw the Northern Exposure to the mix as well :D

      • HiFiHair says:

        Shamefully I’ve never made time to watch it. I shall remedy this post-haste!

        • Becalel says:

          To be honest, it’s completely different in atmosphere but, although it pretends to be in Alaska, it was shot about half an hour drive from the set of Twin Peaks and roughly about the same time. There was even a special episode in the first season done Twin Peaks style. It’s charming though and a must-see for those who love the pine forest America.

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    Skeletor68 says:

    Diane, this ‘Virginia’ game looks interesting. Seems familiar. *Stops recording*

  3. snowgim says:

    As someone who never watched X-Files or Twin Peaks until ‘marathon’ing both of them back to back earlier this year, I am very interested in this.

  4. Nathan_G says:

    Ahh lovely, this looks most excellent. Very much looking forward to this one. That street scene through the window looks charming as all get out.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    It’ll be fine as long as they don’t make it like Fire Walk With Me. I made the mistake of watching that first and it nearly stopped me from watching the series >.>

    • HiFiHair says:

      Thanks for the kind words, everyone. It’s a little overwhelming. Re: Twin Peaks, am impossibly excited for this (be warned, contains all the spoilers): http://youtu.be/g5EqPZMZO4s

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        If I’d known you were listening I’d… probably have given less emphasis to complaining about how I didn’t like FWWM.

        Quite aside from this being Twin Peaks-inspired, I’m won over by the low-fi, yet clean visual style.

        • HiFiHair says:

          Sorry for snooping! I couldn’t help myself. I’ll admit I have a soft spot for FWWM, although I can totally appreciate how it’s tone is a million miles from the TV series. And thank you for the kind words about the art style. I’ll pass them on to Terry, our artist. He’ll be dead chuffed.

    • Ross Angus says:

      But … but … David Bowie.

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        Harlander says:

        I might have enjoyed it more (i.e at all) if I’d watched it after the series. The resolution of a mystery I didn’t know about wasn’t enough to drag me through it, and zero to FWWM was too big of a weirdness jump as well. The show had a somewhat gentler ramp to it.

        • Ross Angus says:

          Fair enough. I came for the weirdness. Stayed for the pie.

        • joa says:

          The problem with with Fire Walk With Me is that it’s a Lynch feature film. On the series he would have had studio execs and producers keeping him on track.

          • Ross Angus says:

            Where you see a problem, I see what I love about it. Different strokes!

      • forddent says:

        Holy shit I didn’t know David Bowie was in FWWM! I should finish the series and watch that. Also, that is a DEEPLY WEIRD CLIP, man.

    • Nate says:

      Did you then end up liking the series? That Lynchian weirdness pervades it as well.

      I loved FWWM, but part of its role is the way that it contrasts with Twin Peaks. The darkness of FWWM gives context to the brightness of Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks was pretty good at examining pain– the Palmer’s grief affected me deeply– but there was so much brightness and hope, a sense that one could be innocent without naivety, a love of family and neighbor. FWWM was a warning against taking that for granted, a reminder of the horror of abuse and murder, and an amplification of Twin Peaks’ ultimate tragedies.

    • drygear says:

      Fire Walk With Me is great, but it definitely shouldn’t be anyone’s introduction to Twin Peaks. It turns a lot of what you know about it on its head.
      Very powerful movie, but hard to watch.

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    Bradamantium says:

    YES. I started Deadly Premonition for its Twin Peaks-iness, but it was an absolute snooze when it worked at all. I’m glad to see someone else tapping that inspiration, hopefully for a game that’s put together more like Agent Cooper than Deputy Andy.

  7. Richeh says:

    That Diner looks a lot like it’s slightly lifted from Alan Wake, too. This also makes me excited, in a manner that BBC Two at about seven o’clock on a Tuesday night did.

    • HiFiHair says:

      There’s no doubt a little bit of osmotic inspiration from Alan Wake, but the main reference for the diner was the Ovaltine Cafe, as featured in Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.

      • Richeh says:

        Ah, looks like mutual inspiration of Alan Wake and this Virginia game. Although it made me smile that the link to the article about the Ovaltine opened with two aging rockers sharing a meal, much like… the opening to Alan Wake.

        I think maybe life is inspired my Alan Wake. Retroactively.

      • SRTie4k says:

        “You ever experienced a period of missing time?”

        “You ever had the suspicion that you’ve been abducted by aliens?”

        “Have you ever found a metal implant in your body?”

        “Have you checked everywhere?”

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      That’s probably because the diner in Alan Wake is a direct reference to the Double R Diner in Twin Peaks.

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    The Sombrero Kid says:

    I actually think starting with Twin Peaks as a basis for the structure of an investigation game is a great way to start, it’s how I started Alaska and then I moved towards more literary references as the narrative got deeper, much like Kentucky Route Zero and I think this game sounds like it’s taking a similar approach which is awesome! Even if it achieves half of what Kentucky route zero managed it’ll be a classic.

  9. Hydrogene says:

    Great artstyle! The characters remind me of Interstate 76, in a good way. Great use of untextured polygons.

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      Hodge says:

      You know, untextured polygons could replace 8-bit pixel art as the done-to-death visual style du jour and I would be perfectly okay with that.

  10. malkav11 says:

    House of the Dead: Overkill was the best game on Wii (with the possible exception of Xenoblade Chronicles, which I’ve never picked up), largely due to its writing, so that’s very promising indeed.

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    tumbleworld says:

    Yes. Please.

  12. feday says:

    Great, now I’ve wasted a couple hours in a sentimental frenzy reading Twin Peaks articles etc on wikipedia. And now I’m finally trying to get some work done but Angelo Badalamenti is distracting me with his smooth jazz.

  13. Meneldil says:

    Haha. I read Twin Peaks, X-Files, and got all excited.

    Then I saw the screenshots. No way a game can be as creepy as those series with those graphics. Sorry.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Man, that Rosenfield scene. My favourite from the series along with this one (Spoilers!).

  15. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    I want to hug all of you.

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    J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I want to believe this will be good.