First-Person Investigator: Virginia Gets A Demo

It’s been ages since we last visited the Twin Peaks-inspired-ish first-person vignette ’em up Virginia [official site] but whoa hey hello, here’s a release date and a demo out of nowhere. The demo is about twenty minutes long, offering a taste of life as a ’90s FBI agent investigating a missing child in a small town and answering basic questions like “Okay but what is it and what do I do?” That is now answered for me and so I’m quite looking forward to its full launch on September 22nd.

It’s 1992 and a boy has gone missing in the town of Kingdom, Virginia, see, and you play one of two FBI agents on the investigation. Your investigation flits from scene to scene without connection, a bit like Thirty Flights of Loving but with less non-linear trickery. It’s the scenes that would make it into a TV show, you? As the black bars framing its screen would suggest, it’s definitely going for a televisual/cinematic feel.

It’s quiet. Characters don’t speak. Everything is (quite nice) body language, action, and expressions. Your clothes make nice noises when you move.

But what do you do? In some scenes you can wander and poke at a few key items (a few – it’s not Gone Home nor is it trying to be) before finding the trigger to advance events. In others you’re rooted to the spot but can still rummage a little. In others, you can only look around. Some things just happen. The important point is: you can look down and see your body and arms and legs and everything.

It’s quite a pretty game too. Nice style. Very nice first-person animations.

You can download the demo from Steam. I like it. I’m interested in getting to know the characters. I want to see more of what happens. I like the slight supernatural tinge. Some of the scene cuts are really nice. I like the music. I want to bust those dang teens from the gas station. September 22nd it is.

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    I wasn’t sold, I felt too constrained. Also it made me feel queasy for some reason.
    Another thing, and for this the game is not directly at fault, I’m tired of seeing the same setting for the 10000nd time: it’s always the US, either a big city or a small north-western town(c’mon Lynch already exausted the latter). And I’m not talking about video games specifically.

    • Beefsurgeon says:

      I agree that the feeling of constraint was too strong. It feels like you’re not really playing anything, rather you’re just along for the ride.

      I also noticed a weird bit of motion blur or “out of focusness” when looking around with the mouse. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but it wasn’t pleasant.

      As for the setting I kind of have to disagree. They seem to have captured something of the actual atmosphere of VA (I grew up there). It definitely feels distinct from the northwest, at least in terms of trees/light/architecture. That said, I was specifically looking for this so it may feel “samey” to others.

      Overall, I was somewhat underwhelmed. I’ll probably still get the full version, if only to experience the one game set in my home state.

  2. Hyena Grin says:

    It looks really good, and the demo struck a nice atmospheric cord. The art direction is pretty top-notch.

    The lack of voice acting feels like a nice flourish for a demo, but there’s a part of me that worries it’ll get old over the course of an entire game. I kind of want people to speak, and not having that ‘anchor’ makes me feel like an outsider even when in a room full of cops and my partner and a crying woman.

    Maybe being an outsider is part of the theme and this central conceit will emphasize it in an interesting way, but for the short vignettes that make up the demo it mostly made me feel a little more lost than I should’ve felt. Granted the superb animations and art direction helped a lot, so we’ll see, I suppose.

    Definitely going to check this out on release, anyway. The subject matter and aesthetic appeal.

  3. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    I thought for a second that it was Alyx in the header pic

  4. klops says:

    Uuh ooh! I (mis)understood that this game was on hiatus or even cancelled. Great! Doesn’t sound as promising as I wanted but have to try the demo first.

  5. malkav11 says:

    I was much more excited about this game before I heard they’d decided to eschew dialogue completely. Wordless storytelling – as a sustained style, at least – just isn’t my thing usually.

  6. Premium User Badge

    InfamousPotato says:

    The game looks lovely, and I’m glad that demos still exist.

    I also appreciate the use of the “I CAN SEE MY LEGS” tag, and hope that RPS continues to document the number of games that include this vital feature.

  7. Morcane says:

    I tried it too, looks ok. I’m not really sure the wordless stuff can capture me, but I’ll keep an eye out for this one.

    Upped the FPS cap and then the game told me it’s best to play this at 30FPS because of reasons.