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Let's All Try To Work Out What Dollhouse Is

Ben doesn't know what this is, help him.

I haven't been this confused by a game trailer since the first time Rouge The Bat showed up in Sonic. Dollhouse [official site] is ... uh ... well we're falling at the first hurdle here, aren't we? As far as I can tell, it's a horror game about a woman with amnesia being pursued by some mysterious force. Set entirely in black and white, it's film noir and 40s class in one big horror ball. Except it also has four player co-op, some sort of competitive multiplayer mode and a dozen playable characters all with different special abilities to be unlocked. Oh, and something about a deadline, implying the whole thing is on a Majora's Mask style time limit to recover your memories and "create your own story." Um. Start where I did, with the trailer below.

What a wonderful job of clearing things up you've done trailer, thanks. "Forget a remembered past or remember a forgotten future"? I mean come on, video games. But I'm intrigued, because of course I am. What's really weird here is unlike previous mysterious oddities I've become enamoured with, Dollhouse's official site and development team Creazn Studio at least seem to be trying to telling me what's going on. They're just either doing a stunningly poor job or they've created something so weird and ambitious it's difficult to explain.

That site contains three pages of actual info, not counting a beta sign-up and the front page. Features covers the building blocks, characters details your various possible avatars and essences goes over their abilities. None describe exactly what you might be doing as or with any of this, but several make reference to "it" - the pursuing force that's hunting you - and wanting to impede its progress. There's also all that perception-switching stuff that implies you'll be tracking its movements through its own eyes. The abilities and character pages seem to go into quite some detail, but without ever explaining what the various resources they're referencing are.

As for your own goal, it seems to be to construct a story based on elements you remember, but you only have a certain amount of time to do so and the more you forget, the longer you can keep playing. The benefits and drawbacks to a more fragmented "memory" or a more full story aren't mentioned. Doing all that seems to involve delving into your own mind, but then why do you need to do so? Why are you being attacked there? Does each character have an alternate story and, if so, why is Marie referenced as the main protagonist?

I have a lot of questions. The beta (which I assume is for the multiplayer but who the hell knows) is apparently this year, with a full release in 2016. Part of me hopes it's never explained more fully before then, while another is crying out for clarification.

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About the Author

Ben Barrett


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