D4 – also known as Dark Dreams Don't Die – is a cinematic, cel-shaded game with Kinect-focused controls. "You probably have this image of Kinect games with which you have to stand in front of the camera and move around, but for this game it's more of a relaxing experience. You can sit and play," the eccentric designer Hidetaka "Swery65" Suehiro tells us through a translator.
"Just like watching TV, with your popcorn," Swery65 adds, as he mimes the action of scarfing down a bowl of freshly popped kernels. Swery65 wants D4 to be as easy to play as it is to watch a television show. To accomplish this the game uses easy gestures, supports voice for both NPC dialog sequences and for unspecified commands and will be structured episodically.
In D4, a private detective named David loses all memory following the death of his wife Peggy. Soon David discovers a special skill, that under certain unspecified circumstances, he can travel through time. While Swery65's breakdown of the game's narrative makes no mention of how David acquires the ability, a video of the game in action shown to Joystiq included David offering up a possible explanation: "In exchange for my memories, I got this 'skill.'"
David's ability allows him to hop from a memory adjacent to an event in time he wants to change. If he's able to find the right memento to remind him of a specific moment – such as the death of his wife – perhaps he can change the past, the protagonist ponders.
The in-game action is similar to Elite Beat Agents, though utilizing motion control to successfully complete character motions on screen. In the demo, David finds himself on a plane face-to-face with Antonio Zapatero, a psychopath that is said to have vital information. As the two engage in a stylish battle in the aircraft, prompts appear for players to move their arms back and forth in specific directions that coincide with David's movements on screen. Well-timed movements execute stylish and humorous moments. As the pair fight down the asile David is pushed into a stewardess that looks very much like his lost wife; if the timing is executed correctly, David grabs her hand and the pair twist between the row of seats like two expert dancers.
Though a traditional controller can be used for D4's action, Swery65 says the game was designed for Kinect and would prefer players interact with the game using Microsoft's updated camera peripheral.
"Popcorn," Swery65's translator says, "he likes the idea of people playing the game, sitting on the couch, eating their popcorn." With Kinect, Swery65 adds, there's no need to dirty the controller.
David's aim, Swery65 tells us, is to travel through time to solve crimes, and specifically to discover who is responsible for his wife's murder and stop the event from taking place. But David's quest may be for naught, Swery65 admits. "[David] knows he cannot change the past," the creator says. Though he's aware of his limitations, David persists and struggles with his reality.
Swery65 won't share too much about the game's narrative; however, he promises that even the name will indicate the world players are in store for. D4 has many meanings: it's the name of the game, it signifies the fourth dimension, and throughout the game many keywords start with the letter 'D.'
Perhaps David's destiny through the fourth dimension is darker than we've been able to determine.
D4 is coming exclusively to the Xbox One. No release window was revealed.