If At First You Don’t Succeed, Revolt Again: Paradise Never

Paradise Never screenshot

Paradise Never [official site] is an action RPG set on a French island colony in the year 2027. Said colony is in turmoil as rebellion foments: revolution is in the air. You’ll be working alongside a group of colonial rebels, trying to overthrow your French rulers without getting yourself or your comrades killed.

So far, so standard: it’s not like games haven’t done revolution before, right? What attracts me about Paradise Never is the bevy of fresh ideas it brings to the table. More on that below the fold, after a (fairly lengthy) trailer.

The subtitle, “The Revolution Fails”, is a good start. Revolutions are messy things and rarely work out as planned. At the start of the game a revolution has been put down, presumably rather bloodily. But worry not because a mystical goddess has decided to step in and intervene, resetting time to three days prior, affording you – and the revolution – another chance.

This time-looping lends structure to the game – after three days elapse time will reset, the tropical island environment will be regenerated and you’ll have to begin again. It’s not clear what – if anything – you carry over, but by the sounds of it the most important resource is knowledge. Understanding the motivations of the various NPCs you’ll encounter, and presumably need to win to your cause, sounds crucial.

I really like the idea of a sort of revolutionary Groundhog Day, forced to relive history until you set it on the expected path. I also like the idea that NPCs will respond to you differently depending on the time and their circumstances, complicating the process of understanding them. If well-written, that could be wonderful. I also like the stylish UI and portrait art, which is the work of indie game artist Sara Gross, as well as the music used in the trailer.

On the other hand I think the visual style of the rest of the game is… going to prove divisive. Frankly it looks like developer graphics, or one of those shonky my-first-game efforts you see cropping up on indie game webstores. Here’s hoping that either the visuals are reconsidered as development continues, or that the rest of the game’s ideas come together well enough that its appearance simply doesn’t matter.

Paradise Never’s release date is yet to be confirmed.

31 Comments

  1. Dominic White says:

    Clearly the writer has never played/seen the devs previous game, The Real Texas, and I highly suggest he does so:

    • April March says:

      I’ve seen The Real Texas, but I think Shaun’s criticism holds. This game is a lot heavier in theme than TRTX, so I’d also like if its style was changed appropriately. Not a dealbreaker for me personally, but I can see how it’ll be a divisive decision.

      • Tukuturi says:

        I think the style really worked in TRT. It will be interesting to see how this game creates an atmosphere. The visual element of any game is necessarily a reductive abstraction after all. What really matters (for me) is how the style of that abstraction cues particular emotional responses. With TRT, there was a certain nostalgia evoked for me in the way it all moved, like being a kid and playing with action figures, that worked for the story the game told.

        • April March says:

          Oh, I agree entirely. TRTX was essentially Weird Zelda, so it was good that it looked like a weird version of an old console game. I’m definitively not arguing against their choice there. But, like, I like TF2’s visual style, but I wouldn’t suggest that it be used in the Battlefield series. They’ve got very distinct gameplay styles, and their visual styles helps inform the player of what kind of gameplay the game contains.

          That said, this game was pretty much revealed last Tuesday, so maybe it will have more of TRTX’s quirkiness and strangeness than I’m thinking it will right now and its art choice is actually quite fitting.

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            Aerothorn says:

            Not to point too fine a point on it, but this is, for most intents and purposes, a one-person game. Sara Gross is doing the illustrations, but I’m pretty sure she isn’t doing any of the polygonal graphics.

            When Shaun writes “Here’s hoping that either the visuals are reconsidered as development continues…:” he seems to assume that this is viable. The Real Texas didn’t sell very much and I don’t think French has bags of money lying around to hire modelers and texture artists. I hope I’m wrong, but sometimes a developer works within their limits, and just because you’re a good game designer and writer doesn’t mean you are good at rapidly producing high-quality assets.

      • twaitsfan says:

        I love TRT (except the bloody radioactive frog puzzle), so this is a day one purchase for me.

    • Shaun Green says:

      I have not played it, but on my travels I did read a few recommendations for it. I’ll be honest, I’m more interested in Paradise Never because of its themes, but if I find myself hankering for it I might try out The Real Texas to sate those urges. :)

  2. Legion23 says:

    I recognized the art style from following Rebuild 3: Sara Gross does the art for that game too. One of the good games in Early Access in my opinion.

    • Frank says:

      Agreed; I like how the art in Rebuild 3 is turning out. (I backed the KS.)

      • Shaun Green says:

        Ack, I knew I’d run into Gross’s artwork in a game I really liked! I even spoke with Sarah N about Sara G when I interviewed her. *facepalm*

  3. qeloqoo says:

    Is it just me or Bridgette girl on header image strongly resembles recently announced Overwatch’s “heavy weapons girl” Zarya?

    • persopolis says:

      Remember: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing!” is the unofficial motto of the gaming industry. So I’m thinking it’s more a matter of design trends: Mass effect had them, Watchdogs had them…plenty of punk chick-characters in games these days.
      And of course the punk aesthetic is quite unique, making it easy to tell characters apart, at least, when not everyone is trying to do the same thing.

    • Monggerel says:

      Take a look at Vi from League of Legands.
      And then tell me it’s possible to go wrong with RRRRIOTTTT GRRRRRLLLLL aesthetics.
      It is.
      It is.
      Christ ist is.
      Vi is the halfway example
      But even so.
      DO YOU NOT WANT EXTREMELY ARTIFICIAL COLORED HAIR

    • psysal says:

      For the record I stole it from Cassie, like e’rrybody else :)

  4. Serenegoose says:

    This revolution has met with a terrible fate, hasn’t it?

    DAWN OF THE THIRD DAY: 72 HOURS REMAIN.

  5. April March says:

    I really wish ‘hero has to loop back in time to solve thing’ had become a genre after Majora’s Mask. Has my time come at last?

  6. Misha says:

    I don’t know what the fuss is about re: the graphics.

    It doesn’t look any worse than any of the other artsy fartsy “drawn in crayons on a used napkin” junk that pops up on Steam every other day now.

    • dskzero says:

      It doesn’t make it any less terrible though.

      • Misha says:

        Well, I don’t know about the game since I haven’t played it, so there is that. Full disclosure and all that rot :-)

        It’s just that I’ve seen a lot of much more terrible games being hyped endlessly on this site that looked a whole lot worse, so I didn’t quite understand why this one rated a “horrid graphics” comment.

  7. Sivart13 says:

    I support this Majora’s Mask re-imagining.

  8. apa says:

    What was that upcoming game where there’s a similar time loop idea? It was something about “just a normal morning turning into a murder mystery” and the player would go through the same time period over and over again but of course would know ahead what’s going to happen. There were a few posts about it last year here.

  9. grrrz says:

    now that’s a specific setting, I wonder why he chosed this.
    I’d really have liked to see this done in french with people speaking creole, for the real feel of it. wonder how it would translate to english.
    The real life french government provides more and more autonomy to the island colonies who demands it, in some case independance (see the comores), but the tension still is very palpable in some places.

  10. toshiro says:

    I sense thinking and I sense reflection. On my watch list

  11. benexclaimed says:

    Very excited for this. I looooooved The Real Texas as much as almost any game over the past few years. Day 1.

  12. alms says:

    one of those shonky my-first-game efforts you see cropping up on indie game webstores

    is this still RPS am I reading? Look same concept, less condescendance:

    On the other hand I think the visual style of the rest of the game is… going to prove divisive. Frankly it looks like developer graphics, here’s hoping that either the visuals are reconsidered as development continues, or that the rest of the game’s ideas come together well enough that its appearance simply doesn’t matter”

    • psysal says:

      :) Always open to criticism and I really think the author will feel different once the game actually drops, but yeah, your version woulda been a lot easier to read (and said the same thing, really) after pouring my life into this for two years. So… TY! :)

      • Shaun Green says:

        I’ll concede that line was a bit unfair! Still learning the RPS ropes here.

        If it’s any consolation, psysal, I am very much looking forward to playing Paradise Never, irrespective of my thoughts on some of the visuals.