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Investigative thriller The Occupation breaks its story October 9th

First-person thriller The Occupation (from Ether One devs White Paper Games) looks like an exciting spin on the immersive sim genre. Playing as a journalist in 1987 England, there’s sneaking, talking and even a bit of Deus Ex-ish crawling through vents to be done in search of the truth behind a (presumed) terrorist bombing. Unlike most games, the entire story plays out over the course of four real-time hours. Either you get to the truth and make your choices by then, or the government will pass a restrictive new set of laws unopposed. Unveiled last year, the game now has a release date set – this October 9th.

I’ve been eager to get my hands on The Occupation ever since PlayStation Universe’s hands-on preview last year. While time management is an undeniably stressful element, I feel it’s an important part of making a game suspenseful. There’s only so much you can do, and you won’t be able to see every event and interact with every character on a single run, especially if you make mistakes and get sat down in a security office for a long, stern talking-to.

I especially appreciate the choice to set it in the late ’80s. Not just politically relevant, but the limited technology of the era – chunky computers, pagers and similar – make for exciting restrictions. Oh, how easy an investigation would be with a single modern smartphone, recording audio and video and storing all your data. You even have to keep all of your inventory in a briefcase which can be put down or hidden away, if you’re afraid that prying eyes might seize or search it. It’s a far cry from Deus Ex’s data-kleptomania.

Everything that I’ve seen so far of The Occupation adds up to an interesting blend of elements wrapped around a familiar Deus Ex-ish core of exploration, storytelling and stealth. After re-acquiring my taste for time-limited immersive sim fun with Prey: Mooncrash, I absolutely need to try this one for myself.

The Occupation is due to launch on October 9th. You can find it here on Steam and Humble, and read more on its official site here.

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