Vivid new game from Call Of The Sea Dev

Angela talks into a phone while standing next to Trevor in key art for American Arcadia.

picture: Out of the blue

You don’t see that very often in games these days.

For the first ten minutes American Arcadia, I amble and jump to the right side of the screen – you know, typical side scrolling platforming. Then suddenly I’m a different character and look at the world from the first-person perspective. Hm.

American Arcadia is the next game from Out of the bluea Madrid-based studio that hit the scene in 2020 with the Lovecraftian puzzle game call of the sea. After that debut, Out of the Blue remained relatively quiet until a 30-second teaser was released for American Arcadia In April. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to play a preview build at the Tribeca Festival. (Programmer note: the demo crashed after about 20 minutes. This was the result of a hardware problem, at least to my understanding. I was told I was pretty close to the end anyway.)

American Arcadiawhich has no release date but is under development for PC and consoles, is not a puzzle platformer. Rather, it is a jigsaw puzzle and a platformer. It begins in a retro future inspired by the 70’s in media res, with an office worker named Trevor sitting in an interrogation room and recounting how he escaped. In these segments, narrated via flashback, you navigate through a huge office building.

But a few minutes later a twist. You learn that Trevor doesn’t work for some low profile company. He is an unknowing cast member on a reality TV show. (The Truman Show is an obvious comparison.) His best friend Gus was, say, removed from the cast under the pretense of “winning a vacation.” Trevor, reading between the lines, tries to escape. Then the perspective changes and you take on the role of Angela, a producer on the series.

There’s a lot to process. Here is a video overview:

“We wanted something different, and we came up with this cool idea of ​​escaping a TV show, we thought so [could have] a character lives Inside Screen”, Tatiana Delgado, American Arcadia‘s creative director, tells kotaku. “It made sense to separate them… We wanted to separate them with.” [a] Metaphor.”

Of course, there are many games that deal with changing perspectives. From the days of Zelda II, Golgo 13: Top Secret Episodeand The legend of the mystical ninja, developers have experimented with designing games around such a gimmick. For a while, for example, it would be a side-scrolling platformer. Then you would switch to a top-down view.

This is far less common in modern games. (Yes, some tent poles like Grand Theft Auto V and various Elder Scrolls Entries allow you to play the game from both first-person and third-person perspectives, but that’s just a feature that’s not essential to the core game.) Ubisoft did it in 2013 with the pirate story simulation Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The majority Black flag is set in the past, an action game viewed from the third-person perspective. But that’s punctuated by a handful of exploration segments set in a 2010s office building, all played from the first-person perspective. I’m sure you’ll point out a few games I miss in the comments as well.

For one thing, some game engines — the toolkit developers used to create video games — are better. (We saw that at BioWare Mass Effect: Andromeda, which suffered from turbulent production in part because EA decreed that it be developed on DICE’s proprietary Frostbite engine. Frostbite was a really good foundation for first-person games, less so for sprawling third-person RPGs.) But designing games for two perspectives also requires a flexible mindset and poses other challenges.

“For a first-person game, you can just create a room and fill it with things to explore,” Delgado said. “In a 2.5D game, you create a lot of things for a room that you can pass through in 30 seconds. The biggest challenge is creating a production for a larger level that needs to be played in less time.”

American Arcadia has his cake and eats it too. From what I’ve played, you’re forced to slow down a bit in densely packed environments thanks to the shifted perspectives. As Trevor, I was trying to navigate an unlit room. The game then drew me to Angela. At a TV studio, I had to block some cameras and break into a co-worker’s office, where after I turned on the lights, the game shifted me back to Trevor, where I could actually see what I was doing and where I needed to go. It’s a space I have to deal with twice.

It wasn’t exactly the most difficult problem to solve, but Delgado said so while American Arcadia is a little less headache overall than call of the sea, Puzzles get more complex later in the game. Of course, that’s something that can’t be judged until the game comes out. (American Arcadia doesn’t have a release date.) But at least it will feature something you don’t see often these days. Vivid new game from Call Of The Sea Dev

Curtis Crabtree

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