Multi-player votes and in-depth narrative choices set As Dusk Falls apart from other interactive games

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From pre-production to post-production, the studio grew from six people to 50, but they also worked with another 50 external partners on features such as music and 3D assets. While most of the studio’s core team is based in the U.K., their staff and partners are spread out all over the world and they, like so many other professionals, worked remotely during the first two years of the pandemic. 

“Working in a video game studio really appeals to me because suddenly it wasn’t all finance people or engineers I’d be interacting with,” says Desodt. “It’d be graphic designers, artists, marketing people and more – a huge variety of people I would never have met in any other industry. As soon as I joined, I’ve never looked back. I feel like I’ve found my place.” 

The team also showed up in the game in cameos, such as a tech director’s dog as the family dog Zeus and members of the dev team filling in as extras. 

Chapter 3: “It’s like going rafting together” 

Marchal says the inspiration behind multi-player came from watching people on Twitch collaborating to make things happen in Pokémon. 

“I thought, ‘That’s a collegial experience I would want to see apply to a story.’  What is the narrative equivalent of that? It’s like going rafting together.” 

For Marchal, it felt like a new experience that was much more compelling than watching a movie together, thanks to the extra layer of making decisions together, influencing the story and shaping the characters’ arcs. 

As Dusk Falls goes further than other interactive games in that it allows people to play at the same time, in the same place or online, through Twitch or the Xbox Cloud Gaming. 

A screenshot of a boy in a video game
Jay Holt, one of the main characters in the game

“To navigate the story, you don’t need to be good at games. You just need your life experience,” Marchal says. 

“From the very beginning of the concept of the game, it’s always been about taking the game to the players,” Desodt says. “We wanted to give them as many ways to play as possible. And multiplayer was a pillar of doing these interactive stories.” 

Chapter 4: Overcoming challenges with details 

The story grew and grew until it filled 1200 pages – the equivalent of 12 hours of filming. 

The team took quite a while to figure out the right visual style, which blends real-life actors’ performances and graphic novel 2D artwork to produce what they call a motion graphic novel. After filming the actors, the team extracted their images and hand-painted them. 

The nuances and subtleties in those expressions were important to Marchal and her team since the story is so character driven – and meant to appeal to TV watchers who may not consider themselves gamers (yet). 

“As humans we immediately pick up on those fleeting micro-emotions across someone’s face,” Desodt says. “We instinctively know how they’re feeling and what they’re reacting to, so we needed actors to portray that…

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