Recall Concept Is Time-Controlling FPS

Blocks have proven useful in the history of videogames. But will it always be so? I say no. The block must fall!
The shining miracle of content-unearthing that is Pixel Prospector forwarded us this earlier today, and it’s quite exciting. Recall, which you can see in action below, is a time-rewinding FPS concept. A neat idea that takes things a little further than Timeshift. Essentially it’s Braid in 3D, but it really gets going when the character stops time and uses time-frozen mid-air blocks that have stopped mid-fall as platforms to get somewhere. If famed concept-nappers Valve aren’t turning their talent-suction machine at this for inclusion in Portal 3 or similar, I’ll be surprised, sad, and a little bit indignant. Not unlike my cat.

Serendipitously, it’s also the exact concept I need to finish off a stalled piece about experimental videogame architecture for BLDGBLOG. So that’s hype for another blog I write for. Well done me.


  1. TychoCelchuuu says:

    I love BLDGBLOG! Oh, and also, the whole recording aesthetic that they have going on here always freaks me out a little, I think because horror movies use it so much. The sound design does not help.

  2. markcocjin says:

    This is already in Valve’s backburner in the form of F-Stop.

    Don’t tell them I told you okay?

  3. Quasar says:

    Will every single innovative mechanic in a first-person indie puzzler get pipped as being the next Valve game? :P

    And yeah, this does seem a lot like what I imagine F-Stop to be.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, with the exception of a talking protagonist and free-running.

    • tstapp1026 says:

      What?! No parkour while holding an idiot box with Max Headroom on it? (oh boy I just dated myself)

    • Vandelay says:

      I actually had no idea what F-stop was, until reading these posts, but a little digging shows that I doubt very much that F-Stop involves time manipulation.

      I found this post about a development freeze in Valve where Newell wanted teams of people to come up with ideas( link to ). Kim Swift of Portal fame came up with the idea of recording actions and then replaying, pretty much what is shown in the above video. Her hope was that this would develop into a full game, but Newell didn’t think it would work, after seeing the demo. The piece then goes on to talk about F-Stop, as a separate idea. It also explicitly states that it will not divulge what the gameplay mechanic is, as it is likely to be used in a future game.

      I’m not hundred percent sure, but I believe the section might be taken from Portal 2 “Final Hours” thing.

    • HothMonster says:

      since we know valve worked on something similar we know f-stop is nothing similar because we know nothing about f-stop

      gabe said something along the line of the game like this was cool in concept but once you got into advanced puzzles with multiple objects in seperate time streams, or trying to get everything in sync in the same time stream, it was too much (yeah its all from the final hours thing)

      hopefully these kids can figure it out

    • KenTWOu says:

      Yeah, this is excerpt from Portal 2 – The Final Hours, I’m 100 percent sure.

  4. Coccyx says:

    I am most certainly not clever enough for this game.

  5. yhancik says:

    The protagonist clearly is a turntablist looking for a disc to scratch.

  6. The Army of None says:

    So… Which nice elderly fellow wants to tell me what a VCR is.

    • Heliocentric says:

      virtual contingency recorder. Its what you use to try out different paths of time lines.

    • tungstenHead says:

      It’s good to finally see someone making a game about Virtual Human Service personnel that served in the VCRs when we were at war with the Betamax. The Department of Virtual Devices shut all that down though. They buried it.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I feel this calls for a Not the Nine O’Clock News sketch.

  7. mollemannen says:

    the whole time; scratching an invisible record ^^

    • Dhatz says:

      yet another camera equipped with footstep generator and plastic hand replica. At least turntablist edition is unprecedented.

  8. Squishpoke says:

    Anyone remember Prometheus?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I remember getting bored of it after one level, given the dynamic was largely based on trial, error, and a huge amount of repetition because it was more awkward than outright puzzlingly hard. Being first-person means I can’t tell what effect a button has when I stand on it at time X—at all, if it’s effect is beyond some door Y that’s not open yet. Start over! Start over! Start over!

    • Mr_Initials says:

      That titan dude who was all about free expression and gave fire to the humans? He was all like word up humans screw the Zeus. Then he got taken by the man and chained to a rock with a trippy bird eating his insides everyday? Dude was cool.

  9. ResonanceCascade says:

    Wow, I’ll be keeping an eye on this one. It’s a shame there don’t appear to be any NPCs to torture, this would be a great device for some Garry’s mod-style destruction!

  10. Heliocentric says:

    I paused this video went to the fridge for a drink and then resumed it 10 seconds rewound. META

  11. Unaco says:

    Interesting concept, but I’d reckon it would need quite a lot of very, very good design to get a substantial game from it. I could definitely see Valve getting hold of this and using it in Portal 3, or even Half Life 3 (not the be-all-and-end-all of HL3, but a feature, like the Grav gun in HL2).

    • Felixader says:

      Oh NO You Don’t.
      I don want a time-traveling-making-everything-undone story wich then in return declares everything happening in the last Half Life Games as inconsequential.
      I want to see the world after humanity (and Gordon) has (probably) overcome that crisis and threat.

  12. Boarnoah says:

    They even included chell’s hand!

  13. Squeeby says:

    Why does he rub an invisible badger as he moves?

    • Wunce says:

      I don’t know about you, but if I had an invisible badger in front of me I’d keep rubbing it to make sure it was still there – nothing worse than an invisible badger on the loose.

  14. Johnny Lizard says:

    Because it’s the ghost of his dead badger TOPICAL

    EDIT: Reply fail aargh.

  15. Dave Mongoose says:

    It looks interesting… but there only seemed to be two actual puzzles in that video – the moving platform and the laser grid.

    I don’t know if 3D can really add anything to what Braid achieved in 2D.

    • psycho7005 says:


      And i’m pretty sure i could’ve jumped onto that platform and onto the other side whilst it was still moving anyway…

  16. BeamSplashX says:

    I always wanted to master time-control and the mambo simultaneously.

  17. Mo says:

    Yeah, that looked pretty cool from a technology POV, but I have no idea where the puzzles were. The only one I caught was the laser jump puzzle at the end.

    • Ralphomon says:

      Yeah, it looked like it needed some commentary to function as a demo of the mechanic, or some real puzzles to function as a demo of the game proper. So far, not that interesting, at least to me.

  18. Lopsang says:

    You guys need to do a Wot I Think on A New Zero. It is a great game that needs more players. If it gets publicity maybe the creator will start updating it again!

  19. higgins says:

    you know. when Portal first come out, there was same quetion “where is puzzle?”.

    • Mo says:

      I recall the first Portal trailer very clearly showing puzzles, along with the infographics and narration by GladOS.

  20. Ricc says:

    Keep in mind:

    LASER is Dangerous.

  21. MartinNr5 says:

    Nice idea but I need to see more game before I’m excited.

    We all remember Hydrophobia, don’t we?

  22. Ondrej says:

    The hand will haunt me in my sleep from now on.

  23. hamster says:

    Doesn’t serendipity mean ‘lucky coincidence’?

  24. FMacInnes says:

    Devilishly clever stuff – definitely going to be following what these guys get up to over the next wee while. It is ideal for Portal, though I’d be even happier to see it realized as a completely new FPS puzzle title. Great post!

  25. higgins says:

    wow, there is more video.

  26. dsi1 says:

    Achron FPS?

  27. Eukatheude says:

    Oooh, i really like this.