I don't know what the future has in store for us. I leave that line of thought to people much more creative than I am. Thankfully, the world is overflowing with them. I can always turn to books, movies, and video games to give me some unique and new perspectives. In this case, I turned my attention to Daedalic Entertainment and their upcoming adventure game State of Mind. I came away quite interested in what's coming next.
The game puts you in the role of two different yet mysteriously connected protagonists. On one side you have Richard, a journalist living in Berlin in the year 2048. Due to a mysterious circumstance, Richard suffers from partial amnesia and is trying to piece together what happened to cause this, what's going on in his life, and where his family is. On the other side of the coin, you have Adam. He lives in a virtual world known as City 5, though it's not entirely clear if he's actually aware of this. At the very least, we were told Adam's memories have been altered to make him believe he has always lived in City 5. While the details of how Richard and Adam are connected weren't revealed, it seems like it will be serving as one of the central plot points for the game.
In addition to these two, we were told there will be four other minor playable characters. I only got to see one, a woman trapped in a laboratory. She had to knock out a scientist to get out and did so by mixing some drugs and injecting it into the good scientist's neck, so she could steal his security card. The developers told me that you can find mementos for these characters that help further explain their stories.
This kind of adventure and puzzle solving makes up a good chunk of State of Mind's gameplay. You won't be fighting enemies; in fact, I was told there was no combat system in the game. Instead, you'll be spending a lot of time talking. There's a lot of conversation to be had in State of Mind, for all six characters. Despite this, there are no branching narratives. Instead of making a variable story that may not feel fully fleshed out if you take a lesser arc, State of Mind is shooting for just one strong and focused narrative.
For the most part, I was just shown random scenes from the game. The first scene shown off had Richard in his apartment. Here we got to see the game's phone feature. At any time you can call up Richard's friends, who are willing to provide hints, world building, or just move the plot along. It's a smart way to keep you in character without adding an obtrusive hint system. We also got a chance to see Richard check out his pin board, where he could organize newspaper articles, leads, advertisements, and just general world-building material. These go a long way into making State of Mind feel like it's fully fleshed out.
After this, the demo then moved to a section with Adam. He's on a date with his wife in a park where citizens of City 5 can show off art they created. One of the artists begins to tell Adam about the truth of City 5, but before she can get far he's called away by his wife. At this point, the developers noted that Adam's story shares some similarities to the classic movie The Truman Show, though they didn't want to spoil how. Shortly after Adam and his wife got to a section where Adam could make his own art.
At this point, the player can mess with some panels to create shapes. They can change the time of day, ambient noises, and generally let you mess around until you got an art design you're happy with. It's one of the advantages of living in a virtual city: art on demand. The developers then told us that there will be minigames in State of Mind so you have more to do. Some examples given include drone racing and hacking, though we didn't get to see any of it. After this, Adam and his wife got into a balloon and floated away for an areal view of City 5.
At this point the demo on the Xbox One ended, though I was given a brief look at the Nintendo Switch version of the game as well. All I really got to see was Richard and a woman running around in a lab that was going into quarantine, but it did serve as a good showcase that the Switch version still looks just as good as the Xbox. A lot of this is probably thanks to the game's fantastically unique art style. The realistic backgrounds and environments look great, and the character models have a strange low-poly look that totally fits. It's a smart way to make the game stand out without needing to throw a ton of money into a budget.
I came away from State of Mind quite interested in seeing more. An interesting story and great art style do a lot to make me really care for the game's world. I'm sure whatever Daedalic has planned will be more than enough to keep my attention. At the very least, it's one more look into a future that I want to see.
State of Mind will be launching on August 16th for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch and will cost $39.99.