Full-motion video “interactive films” have fallen in popularity since the days of the Sega CD, but Wales Interactive and studio CtrlMovie are looking to bring them back to their former glory with Late Shift, a crime adventure featuring more than 180 decisions and seven endings.
Penned by the screenwriter behind Guy Ritchie’s first Sherlock Holmes film, Late Shift was originally written “like a normal film,” according to director Tobias Weber, before changing to a “hybrid between flowchart and traditional film script” in order to keep better track of the game’s complex choices and their consequences.
The “game” stars Joe Sowerbutts as Matt, a college student “forced” into robbing an auction house. To account for all possible player choices. Sowerbutts and co-lead Haruka Abe had to memorize lines for several different outcomes in each scene.
“We would first film one story strand, then move on to a variation of it. Then we’d change camera angles and do all the variations again. At times it was confusing, but somehow we did it,” said Weber in a post on the PlayStation Blog. Going back through the game and trying out all choices will also earn you trophies or achievements.
Though Late Shift is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam this April, the film-game hybrid has already been screened at several festivals, including Cannes and the New York Film Festival. During these events, audiences collaboratively voted on which choices to make in the film.
This isn’t the first time Wales Interactive has experimented with full-motion video in its video games. The Bunker released on consoles, PC, and Mac last year, mixing video with more traditional game elements to tell a dreary post-apocalyptic tale.
Can’t wait until April to try Late Shift out? It’s also available right now on the App Store, with the first episode released free of charge.