Introversion Software, the developers behind such wonderful games as Darwinia/Multiwinia and Uplink, are still in the wake of their final release of Prison Architect, with the PS4 and Xbox One releases coming in the not too distant future. However, the good people at Introversion Software are already right back to work, showing off two brand new prototypes at EGX Rezzed 2016. We went to check both the games out and ask a few questions.
The purpose of demoing these two prototypes was to receive community feedback; people who played the games were asked to vote on which prototype they would like to see expanded into a full title. The booth had a jar for each game in which people could place badges in the jar representing the game they prefer. In the closing hours of the last day of Rezzed, both jars were about as equally full as you could have got.
The two games in question are Wrong Wire and Scanner Sombre. Both of these titles seem to represent a rather big departure from themes explored in their previous titles. Neither game contains Real-Time Strategy elements, both are first-person, and are of a noticeably smaller scale than any of their previous titles.
First off, Wrong Wire is, as you might have guessed from the name, a bomb disposal simulator. The prototype presented showed off 4 levels, with the last demonstrating a significant jump in difficulty. Wrong Wire dumps you in front of a bomb, with a short handbook giving a few hints and diagrams, showing what wires you should cut on specific bombs. Simple enough.
However, as the levels progressed, the player is presented with many other tasks that need to be tackled in order to disarm the bomb, such as having to remove screws to reveal secret compartments, keypads to hack, etc. This all culminated in the fourth level in which the player had to hack multiple keypads and remove a dead terrorist's finger in order to bypass a fingerprint scanner on the bomb. While an incredibly straightforward game, seeing the inventive little twists and variety of tasks even in the prototype leaves me hopeful that the developers who brought us the wonderfully in-depth hacking sim that was Uplink could have a field day with this concept.
The second title, Scanner Sombre, is a little more tricky to explain. It's an exploration game in which the player must color in the environment using a strange scanner that disperses little dots of red around the environment in order to reveal obstacles and then figure out how best to traverse the area. There was also a wonderful element of unease underlying the whole thing, the atmospheric soundtrack, the cave setting, the colourful dotted figure standing atop a bridge not moving. This extra layer of creepy on top was really what sold me on the idea. The concept of scanning a pitch black environment lends itself so well to horror, slowly discovering little at a time, not knowing what might be hiding. While I do not think Scanner Sombre's intent is to be a full-fledged horror game, the little dash of creepiness was very much appreciated.
With Introversion Software's catalogue being as stellar as it is, I am expecting that either of these prototypes would make a fantastic title if expanded into a short release. Introversion has shown its ability to exceed in a diverse range of genres, and I have no reason to expect that they won't do the same again.