Following its flurry into full-motion video with The Bunker, Soul Axiom developer Wales Interactive is back with Late Shift—a new cinematic FMV adventure game that's developed by CtrlMovie and written by Michael R. Johnson, who authored the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes. It's due next month on Steam.
Said to boast "multi-optional storytelling", whereby one story unfolds with branching narratives leading to seven possible endings, Late Shift is entirely live-action and was filmed in full HD in London, England. In doing so, players will determine the game's story over 180 decision points—"with no pauses and no looping footage"—in a choose-your-own-adventure style tale.
With performances from professional actors—including Oliver Twist's Richard Durden—some of that looks like this:
Speaking to moral dilemma and giving players the choice to act ethically or otherwise, co-author Johnson says:
"There are two aspects of ‘Late Shift’ that really drew me to the project. The first is the idea of a truly interactive film. It’s been attempted before with limited degrees of success, but what I feel puts Late Shift ahead of the pack is the CtrlMovie format itself, which brings the viewer/player into the experience in a very intuitive way. I like the fact that rather than saddling the viewer with a series of arbitrary 'go left' or 'go right' choices, Late Shift instead puts you into the shoes of an actual character… you feel that each separate decision is weighted with careful consideration and the possibility of multiple consequences, good or bad.
"Which leads onto the second aspect of 'Late Shift' that really appealed to me: the fact that although there are any number of possible paths through the story, involving different characters and locations, the outcomes of each are strongly influenced by the morality of the viewer’s decisions. How you choose to interact with other human beings has a cumulative effect on how they decide to treat you, and how that impacts on your own fortunes as the story progresses.
"The viewer is free to interact in whatever way they see fit, ethical or otherwise. It’s just I like very much the fact that—unlike many games—you cannot simply crash through the story with impunity and not at some point be faced with the consequences of your own actions. Just like in life."