First person indie adventure game Gone Home did a lot of good for the interactive storytelling genre last year. The unexpected hit touched on all the right notes: a deftly told story, interesting character work, pitch-perfect atmosphere, and a heavy dose of 90s nostalgia. In many ways, Gone Home helped make it okay for games to be about the story and only about the story. The next step? More interactive drama games. Enter Variable State with their 90s cult classic TV-inspired Virginia.
Virginia is the first game under development from Variable State—a new studio whose owners and employees are industry veterans, ranging from stays at EA to Rockstar. The game sets the player in the shoes of a freshly-graduated FBI agent who, along with her partner, is tasked with investigating the mysterious disappearance of a young boy in (where else?) Virginia. If that doesn’t scream a developer coding under the influence of David Lynch and Chris Carter to you, we don’t know what does. Developer Jonathan Burroughs is looking to craft a deeply “personal” experience—one that the gamer may not necessarily enjoy, but nonetheless “makes them feel something a game has never made them feel before.” Accordingly, Virginia’s focus will very much be on story, setting, exploration, and the supernatural. Just as Laura Palmer’s death served as a launching point into the general goings-on of Twin Peaks, Virginia too intends to use the initial mystery as a launching point for the more significant exploration of the town itself.
Virginia is expected to launch on PC in 2015.
In other gaming news this week, Tekken 7 is announced, Microsoft gets hit by layoffs, and Garrus does Doctor Who? Read on!
- Microsoft is poised to lay off 18,000 employees in the upcoming year, including Xbox Entertainment Studios.
- Mortal Kombat 9 brought us Freddy Krueger and Kratos as guest characters from different franchises. What guest character will Mortal Kombat X bring?
- Speaking of Mortal Kombat, to the surprise of no one, Raiden returns. He seems upset.
- Sony’s 2013 E3 performance (aka the E3 that officially brought next-gen into the present) was nothing short of masterful. Microsoft made a number of missteps in their initial Xbox One announcement, not the least of which were based on pricing and DRM—all of which Sony proceeded to counter and capitalize on. CEO Andrew House details how it all went down here.
- Manuel Noriega, Panama’s former dictator, is pulling a Lindsay Lohan by suing Activision for his depiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
- Is everyone’s favorite turian, Garrus Vakarian, making a cameo appearance in the upcoming season of Doctor Who? Likely not explicitly, but word has it Steven Moffat and Matt Smith are Mass Effect fans...
- A few weeks ago, we looked at the endless possibilities and depth of open-ended space simulator, Elite: Dangerous. This week, we learned the game may no longer be PC-exclusive. Creator David Braben made known his desire to bring his hotly-anticipated game to both PS4 and Xbox One, as well.
- Tekken 7 is on its way—now with more Unreal Engine 4 goodness.
- Add this to the list of things we’re looking forward to at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Rob Zombie is debuting an Assassin’s Creed animated short during the Assassin’s Creed: Unity panel.
- Crytek’s financial troubles continue, and now key staffers are fleeing the ship. Homefront game director Hasit Zala has reportedly resigned his position from Crytek UK.