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- Knee Deep
At PAX West this past weekend, Nick and I attended an [email protected] event, where Microsoft set up at their offices in Redmond a couple of rooms for Xbox indie developers to show off what they're making. We walked a little aimlessly around the kiosk rooms, but I felt a tug toward a game called Knee Deep.
The developer at the kiosk had already started his spiel with other interested gamers about the title when I walked up. He was explaining that Knee Deep is an adventure game that takes place over the course of a three-act swamp noir play.
I completely interrupted him. "Excuse me, did you just say 'swamp noir'?"
"Yes, I did. We're inventing genres, dammit."
Well, now I'm all in. Please sir, do tell me more!
As he was saying, Knee Deep is a point-and-click adventure murder mystery that takes place in a three-act play. The player will control the actors as well as the director and the audience, as it's up to the player how the play proceeds! The Prologue Games dev stressed that the murderer will never change, despite the choices the player makes throughout the play, but it's about how you get there. Depending on what you choose, you could watch vastly different plays.
Even though the murderer stays the same no matter what you choose, your choices do matter. What you choose as the three playable characters will greatly affect how the play goes. You could make the play a complete snoozefest or full of melodrama and action. This is how you're the director as much as you are the characters; it's completely up to you to run the plot of the play and keep the audience entertained or bored.
The reason why Knee Deep is "swamp noir" is because it takes place in Florida in a town called Cypress Knee, which borders a swamp. You may notice in screenshot below that the swamp leaves plenty to be desired visually.
And there's a good reason for that—the game is literally a play told in three acts. As the scenes change, the screen goes dark and props are moved around. Hence, why the swamp looks like it came from a stage—it's supposed to. Not every play has Disney money behind it to make incredible special effects.
The dev also mentioned that the writer got a lot of inspiration from the popular TV series Twin Peaks, which sold most of the other event attendees gathering around.
If you think you've heard of this game before, you might have. It's been on Steam since last summer, but it's making its way to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. It's an indie game that fans of murder mysteries, point-and-click, and/or watching choices matter should keep on their radars.