Posts Tagged ‘Variable State’

How Virginia’s Cinematic Editing Works

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Virginia [official site].

Virginia is a new game from studio Variable State about two FBI agents investigating the disappearance of a child. But its story is less about that mystery than it is about the lines you draw between the fragmentary events, images, locations and characters you witness, as well as lines you draw towards things you sense you haven’t.

Like Brendan Chung’s Thirty Flights of Loving, Virginia tells its story through a technique that’s absolutely native and everyday to filmmaking but it’s novel to games, at least outside of cutscenes. Games are meant to be unbroken realtime, right? And yet powerful and subtle dramatic effects are possible through:

THE MECHANIC: Cutting

(Light spoilers and references to events in the game naturally follow.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Virginia

I’m delighted to say that Virginia [official site] was not at all about what I thought it would be, what it seemed to be. Pretty early on, its narrative took a surprising sideways step, a sudden and yet fluid motion that made it feel fresh, exciting and unpredictable. It was the first of a series of such steps the game would take, crabbing its way into increasingly unusual territory until, at the end of its two hour story, I wasn’t quite sure where either of us were left standing. Many of its surprises were pleasant, but others were perplexing.

Ostensibly, Virginia is about two women working for the FBI in the early 1990s, tasked to find a boy who has gone missing in the titular state. However, this missing person case isn’t quite what it seems. Nor is your own objective. Nor even is your character or, it seems, much of what’s going on around you. By its conclusion, I wasn’t entirely sure what Virginia was about and I’m not sure how much of this I could attribute to imperfect storytelling, to elements of very deliberate obfuscation or to my own ignorance. Virginia is strange and fascinating. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but it certainly is remarkable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet FBI Agent Anne Tarver In This New Virginia Trailer

David Lynch-inspired, small town whodunnit Virginia [official site] is gearing up for its launch next week and has released a new character trailer in preparation. We get a closer look at the game’s protagonist, Anne Tarver.

She’s an FBI agent, fresh on the scene after graduation. She drives around Virginia with her partner, Maria Halperin, as they try to solve the case of a missing boy. She has a very official looking badge. She can drive. There is a large telescope. Okay, so the trailer doesn’t actually tell us that much about the character, but the game sure looks pretty.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mysterious Girl: Virginia Gets Cinematic Trailer

Right, I’m going to level with you: I’m really behind on Virginia [official site] news because I want to go into it as fresh as is feasible while retaining my job on this PC gaming website. Single-player mystery thrillers involving FBI agents are very much my area of interest and I do prefer mysteries where I know very little about them going in.

With that in mind, I’m watching this cinematic trailer for Virginia, but I’m doing the kind of watching where I’m deliberately not paying attention, I’m just trying to ensure it’s definitely a trailer and there’s definitely a game and no-one’s accidentally left a bunch of porn halfway through or something:

Read the rest of this entry »

First-Person Investigator: Virginia Gets A Demo

It’s been ages since we last visited the Twin Peaks-inspired-ish first-person vignette ’em up Virginia [official site] but whoa hey hello, here’s a release date and a demo out of nowhere. The demo is about twenty minutes long, offering a taste of life as a ’90s FBI agent investigating a missing child in a small town and answering basic questions like “Okay but what is it and what do I do?” That is now answered for me and so I’m quite looking forward to its full launch on September 22nd.

Read the rest of this entry »

Virginia Hands-On: 30 Flights Of Lynchian

Virginia is an upcoming first-person ‘interactive drama’ infused with unabashed Twin Peaks and X-Files influences, which had already very much piqued the interest of Alice and Adam. I played a short demo build at the EGX games show over the weekend.

It’s not fair on any game that’s primarily about tone and mood to experience it whilst sat a stone’s throw from a man bellowing into a PA system about Street Fighter. That was murder-mystery Virginia’s lot at EGX, sadly, but testament to how well its demo pulls off a languid Lynch-does-police-procedural style is that I nonetheless had a moment when I closed my eyes and let its sounds – and all they meant – wash over me.
Read the rest of this entry »

A Mysterious State Of Mind: Virginia Interview

Virginia set up camp in our collective consciousness the moment we saw its stylish agents and what looked like a small town diner. Inspired by Twin Peaks, The Outer Limits and The X-Files, it’s a game about the investigation into a missing person case in one of America’s first States. This is an America in touch with its fictional history as well as its actual past, and I wanted to know more about how those influences will sit together, and how the game would actually play. I also took the opportunity to ask the team about a few of their favourite things. The team are designer/writer Jonathan Burroughs, animator/artist Terry Kenny and composer Lyndon Holland. Here are their answers.

Read the rest of this entry »