You’re already in the car when you spot the first sign that something might be wrong. A matchbook hidden in the armrest of the passenger seat; someone has written ‘HELP’ on it. Oh no.
Hitchhiker doesn’t look like a horror game, at least not in the ghoulish and grotesque sense. I don’t think it’s about serial killers collecting victims along backroads. Instead, it looks like a conversational mystery, unfolding as much in the exploration of your own character as in the discovery of any sinister qualities relating to the driver. Its website describes it as a blend of Firewatch and Twin Peaks, and the trailer does a good job of getting that across. The first chapter (one driver) is due next year, with a full season of drivers to follow.
As someone who enjoys searching behind the sun visor in every car I find in The Long Dark, I’m obviously on board with this whole idea. Trapped in a seat, fumbling with bits of the car, trying not to make eye contact or to be spotted when fiddling with mysterious and potentially incriminating photos and notes. Here’s what it’s all about:
“You’re a hitchhiker with a strange problem: you can’t remember your own name, or where you’re headed. Something tragic has happened in your recent past to rob you of your memory— but what? As you travel the highway, clues come from strange places: a matchbook hidden in your armrest, a photo placed in the glovebox, crows flying alongside the car. And— most of all— from the drivers, whose memories provide a roadmap to your own past.
“But when a chance slip-up reveals a web of deceit, the ride takes a turn for the darker. You’ll face dangers and make choices of trust, never knowing whether your subconscious mind is your own worst enemy. Hitchhiker explores questions of memory, deception and existential awareness, all along a highway where nothing is quite what it seems.”
I think this might be a car called guilt and the destination might well be either ACCEPTANCEBURG, DENIALTOWN or DEATHSVILLE.
As I say, I’m definitely on board for that ride. The one thing that bothers me, and it’s no big deal given how much I like the scenery, is the blank-faced chatting. It’s probably because I thought the speech was a voiceover monologue rather than part of an actual dialogue at first, but the voice and the character just don’t gel for me in this video. It is only a concept video though and I should be just be glad that we’re getting more games about mysteries out on the open road.