Sunset preview: a war seen through the window

Sunset is an upcoming first-person narrative-driven game by Tale of Tales, developer of The Path, The Graveyard, and most recently Luxuria Superbia. Funded in part by a successful Kickstarter, Sunset takes place in a penthouse apartment in the fictional South American city of San Bavón over the course of a year in the 1970s. The city is in the grip of an escalating revolution, and while you won't be picking up a rocket launcher and leaping into the fray—you play as a civilian, not an action hero—you'll still be drawn into the drama of the rebellion.

As Angela Burnes, a housekeeper working for wealthy bachelor Gabriel Ortega, you'll visit his penthouse once a week for an hour to perform various housekeeping duties. You can also explore the penthouse, interacting with your employer through notes, examining items found in rooms, and discovering clues to the larger drama unfolding outside. You'll also have the chance to discover what part Ortega has in the violent revolution, and decide if there's a role for Angela to play as well.

The preview I played consisted of three separate visits, one from the start of the game, one from the middle, and one from the end, which demonstrated the escalation of the revolution both in the penthouse's interior—it appeared Ortega was hastily packing his valuables—and outside the windows, where events in the city streets had grown more and more violent with each visit.


When faced with a choice, such as how to respond (if at all) to a note left by Ortega, you can use different keystrokes which alert you to how your actions may be received. Pressing 'E' tells you your action is neutral, using 'Y' lets you know the action will be seen as friendly and perhaps even romantic, and 'N' indicates a more professional response should you wish to keep your employer at arm's length.

Via email, I asked Tale of Tales developer Auriea Harvey if Sunset was based in any way on personal accounts from those who had witnessed or been caught up in a real-world conflict or coup. Her response:

"It’s not about any one historical account... we see videogames as tools to reflect deeper upon difficult themes. We don’t want to pass judgement with the game or have the story didactically proclaim some moral choice. We want players to think and reflect upon the story and make up their own mind, and in the process be entertained and surprised, but come away with a deeper reflection on what is going on around us in the world today."

While the developers state the revolution will escalate regardless of your actions, the decisions you make will have an effect on Angela's relationship with the unseen Ortega. Due to the limited nature of the preview, I wasn't really able to determine how the actions I took would ultimately play out. Still, I had a few engaging snoops through the penthouse and uncovered a secret or two.

Sunset's team includes composer Austin Wintory (The Banner Saga, Journey) and sound designer Kris Force. Leigh Alexander and Ste Curran served as consultants. (Note: Ste formerly worked as an editor at Edge Magazine, another Future publication.) Sunset is due out in spring of this year, and is now available for pre-order.



The first PC game Chris owned was Choplifter in 1982, and since then our staff writer has played at least three other games. He has a love/hate relationship with Early Access survival games and an odd fascination with the lives of NPCs.
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