The Occupation is out now, White Paper Games's investigative journo-thriller wrapped in the trappings of a sneaky immersive sim. Putting players in the shoes of an English journalist in 1987, a restrictive government bill that sounds remarkably like the American PATRIOT act is about to come into force. There's only a few hours left, and the clock is ticking in real-time, but snooping around the right places might provide the evidence to derail the government's plans. So far, responses to the game's launch have been all over the place, but I can't deny the launch trailer below looks rather striking.
The Occupation is an immersive sim in the vein of Deus Ex, minus the cybernetics and combat. You're going to be lurking in the shadows, rifling through peoples files and (of course) crawling through vent shafts in search of clues. Being a British journalist, the worst that can happen is being taken away for a stern talking to, but that still takes a chunk out of your remaining time and you might miss meetings or opportunities that won't repeat in that playthrough. It's a bold system, but some players will undoubtedly be frustrated, and early reviews have criticised the game's save system.
Still, other outlets are singing the game's praises, but one common thread even on more positive takes is that there's still some bugs to be hammered out. Not surprising, given the genre and the complexity of its always-moving world. Hopefully White Paper Games get the opportunity to work out the kinks over the coming months. It'd be a shame for so daring a take on the genre to end up as a mere also-ran. Alice B is currently poking and prodding at The Occupation to deliver us a shocking expose on Wot She Thunk about it later this week, so keep an eye open for that one.