The modern FMV revival might well have peaked with the charming camp comedy of Roundabout but I’m still interested to see what developers do with this odd ’90s artform. Following Her Story, Contradiction, Quantum Break, and The Bunker, among others, Late Shift [official site] is coming in April. It’s an interactive movie about a lad caught up in London underworld antics around a heist, shaping the story as he makes decisions. It sounds like something Jason Statham should be in but sadly no, he is not. It is, however, co-written by Michael R. Johnson, one of the screenwriters on Guy Ritchie’s sillyfun Sherlock Holmes. Here, check out this trailer:
Aye, that’s an interactive movie all right. It doesn’t look a good movie? But it is an interactive one. Publishers Wales Interactive say:
“After being forced into the robbery of a lucrative auction house, mathematics student Matt is left proving his innocence in the brutal London heist. Your choices will have consequences from the very start, right through to the very end. One small decision could change the entire outcome in a choose-your-own-adventure style gameplay that can lead to one of seven conclusions.”
It has over 180 decisions, they say, with no looping or pausing while you ponder. That’s good – after Alpha Protocol, I welcome more real-time tough calls.
A lot of the FMV revival — not necessarily Late Shift, as I’ve not played it — is still so odd to me. Part of why the genre died out in the ’90s is that the novelty of the technology wore off and few FMV games were interesting enough beyond that, and now it’s largely being treated as a novelty again. I also find myself a lot less forgiving of bad writing and acting or poor puzzles in FMV games. Live-action video draws them into a context where I compare them to real movies and real life rather than video games, which tends to amplify shortcomings. I forgive or overlook a lot of bad writing in games because most writing in games in rubbish.
Anyway. Late Shift is due for Windows and Mac some time in April, costing £9.99/$12.49 through Steam. It’s made by CtrlMovie and published by Wales Interactive.