When I first saw All Walls Must Fall [official site], almost a year ago, I fell for its tech-noir setting and time-warping tactics immediately. Now it’s hit Kickstarter, with new info over on the page, and a playable alpha coming to backers in the near future.
Developed by three former Yager folks, who worked on Spec Ops: The Line among other things, it’s set in an alternate future where the Berlin wall is still standing in 2089. Kicking the fourth wall down, it asks you to steer a group of secret agents through one night in the city, as the music pounds and the bullets fly. It’s not all shooting and clubbing though – you can hack and charm your way through situations. The most important thing is that time is on your side. Quite literally. All is explained below.
Here, look, this trailer sort of shows how a mission might play out in several different ways.
And here’s a side order of words to complete the picture:
“In combat, you use the pause mechanic to plan out your strategy and take down your opponents. While you have the luxury of time manipulation, for everyone else on the ground, this intense firefight has only lasted a few seconds. Once you take out all your opponents, the game rewinds back to the beginning of the combat sequence and replays the whole thing in real time. This sequence is called The Drop; the music gets turned up to 11 and all the gunfire, shouts and explosions happen in time with the beat. It’s an audiovisual ballet of intense music, violence and pyrotechnics!”
It sounds just as fantastic as it did at the time of the initial announcement. Using my time-rewind abilities, I can send you back there now, but only if you agree to click on this link. How was April 2016? Did the title All Walls Must Fall feel slightly less relevant to contemporary politics? I can’t remember what it was like back then and I don’t like to use my temporal powers too much because of the associated seven-day nausea and what I think of as ‘abattoir nose-bleeds’. Probably should have warned you about that up-front.
Music is important to the game, not only because the beat is the backing to the action and flow of time, but because Berlin is mostly nightclubs. There are four tracks on the Kickstarter page and they’re exactly the right blend of hypnotic beats and sinister synths. Like the levels themselves, the music will contain procedural elements:
“The music in All Walls Must Fall uses a procedural music mixer that recombines electronic music loops to create a soundtrack that reacts to the game as you’re playing. What you are hearing here is just a small sample.”
The one big question I had at the time of the initial announcement was about the game’s structure. All of the crowd scenes and tactical time-warping sounded great, but I didn’t just want to loop through one nightclub for the rest of my life. That might have seemed like the dream when I was a whelp but I’ve barely got the energy for one night out a month these days – if that night ended up stuck on a loop, I’d be complaining about the noise and the youths, and asking everyone if they had any painkillers by the second or third iteration.
All Walls Must Fall has a solid structure though. It appears to be another in the line of shorter-form strategy games, best exemplified by Invisible, Inc..
“A single campaign consists of a number of missions, taking place in the same night in Berlin. Missions are not scripted, but give you a clear goal. It’s up to you to decide on how to best achieve it within the sandbox of a Berlin nightclub. A single campaign will take a few hours to play through, but each one will contain different missions and may have different outcomes.”
Just about everything here is extremely appealing to me. The target is a mere €15,000, though that’s not expected to fund development of the entire game. A lot of the work has already been done, with the alpha set for May.
“Money raised from Kickstarter will be used to run and support a closed alpha exclusive to Kickstarter backers. During this alpha we will be incorporating feedback, implementing additional features, adding more music and creating more content. The goal is to get a better, open alpha version ready, to be published via Early Access on Steam, without having to rely on publisher support.”
This music will not be in the game.