Indie darling The Last Night stepped onto the big stage this week at E3. The game was announced as an Xbox exclusive during the same event that Microsoft officially revealed its powerful new 4K console: the Xbox One X. After those proceedings, we sat down with Odd Tales' Tim Soret for an update on the "cinematic platformer" and to discuss the recent controversy about his tweets.
You've heard us say this before, but it's worth mentioning again: The Last Night looks amazing. It's one of the most visually stunning games I've seen in a long time, and watching parts of the game in the 4K trailer makes it look even better. The 16-bit aesthetic, set inside an immersive cyberpunk world full of depth, lighting and texture is an intriguing mix of old and new. That's exactly what Soret is going for -- right down to the side-scrolling navigation.
"I wanted to create a glorified game, in a way," Soret said in an interview at E3. "It's like the old games as you remember them, not as how they really are. Imagination makes everything better than it actually was."
Unfortunately, we won't be able to play The Last Night until next year, when it's scheduled to arrive on both Xbox One and Windows. Yes, the game has been in the works for a couple of years, but the team at Odd Tales is incredibly small. Not to mention the fact that when he started working on The Last Night, Soret didn't have a studio and wasn't really a game developer per se. However, his background as an effects artist is on full display here.
When it is available, expect to get lost in a world where your interactions with other characters have consequences both immediately and later on in the game. Soret explains that the characters remember how you treat them and if you're a real asshole, they'll remember the next time you see them.
"I don't want systemic gameplay, I wanted to make only unique situations," he explained. "We have branching dialogues in the game." Soret gave an example of knowing that a character you're talking to in the game had information but is hiding it. You can choose to try and persuade her to give it up through conversation or you can choose to threaten her.
"We have a system where every NPC has a memory that recalls every choice you made and everything you did to them," he said. "If you threaten someone, imagine having to go back to ask him for something. It might not be in your favor." Soret said the characters also share information, so word-of-mouth is something else you'll have to contend with. As the game goes on, the world becomes increasingly restrictive due to factors like politics, the police and others, so you feel more and more like you're trapped.
Soret has recently come under fire for some of his tweets on feminism, equality and other hot topics. Both he and The Last Night publisher Raw Fury released statements this week admitting that Soret used a poor choice of words and those posts don't reflect who he is now or the overall premise of the game. Soret has also had very public and very heated debates with Anita Sarkeesian regarding her efforts battling sexism in the gaming industry.
"I'm trying to clarify any misleading statements I made in the past," he said. "Twitter doesn't lend itself to understanding all of the context and the mindset I was in when I was talking about those things." Soret admits the backlash during E3 was rough, but he says that he's for equality and that The Last Night has nothing to do with the negative side of the issues he discussed in a social-media setting.
"I'm not trying to push any agenda anywhere," he explained. "I hope that by the time the game arrives, everything will be clarified and people will understand it's worth it."