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narrative adventure game There has been a revival in recent years, from the popular life is weird series to wandering, which took the world by storm with its adorable feline heroes. Annapurna Interactive, known for its narrative-focused art games, has partnered with a developer called Third Shift to offer another unique narrative experience: forever ago is a delightful road trip experience that bucks one of the most common trends in video game history: its protagonist is an old man.

Older protagonists are a rarity in video games, even in a genre as broad as narrative adventure. “We explore the theme of grief in the story of this game, how to deal with grief and redemption,” said Kai Brueckers, co-founder of Third Shift inverse“And we always thought it might be interesting to see how an old man as the protagonist of a video game handles these things in life.”

With a few exceptions, video games as a whole — especially big-budget AAA titles — still struggle with diversity and representation. Over the past few decades, many big games have featured cisgender white male protagonists. (think Joel last survivorKratos from Marswith peter parker Marvel’s Spider-Man, to name a few). Even games with customizable player characters struggle to edge Astutely pointed out that the biggest and best-reviewed games of 2022, Eldon Ring, “Failed black players.”

forever ago is a small step in the right direction to help solve this problem within the industry.

“I think it’s important to have more diverse roles, especially the main ones,” said Fabian Denter, another co-founder of Third Shift. “Not just the age, but the different races and backgrounds of the characters. We tried to keep your typical 30-year-old white male character at the center of the game.”

forever agoThe protagonist, Albert, embarks on a road trip across the West Coast of the United States. Players won’t visit real cities in the game, but the locations are inspired by actual road trips the Brueckers take with their families.Other narrative games such as life is weird As a major inspiration, Dante points out Life is Strange 2Especially since its road trip theme makes a big impact.

Alfred encounters a variety of characters during his travels.Annapurna Interactive

Along the way, Alfred meets a variety of characters, including a dog who becomes his permanent companion. forever ago There will be multiple smaller stories throughout the experience, and the developers hope that people will connect with the various characters in Alfred’s life.

Dent hopes that people can see some of their personal experiences with their grandparents in the game, and develop empathy for the elders in the player’s life. The nostalgic nature of the plot may make the youngest players reflect on their deaths in tender ways.

“Now that we’re dealing with such serious topics, like grief, redemption, or memory, maybe this game can help people overcome some of those issues on their own,” Dent said. inverse.

The camera system allows players to delve into Alfred’s past.Annapurna Interactive

A particularly interesting feature forever ago is a photography system that goes beyond simply taking pictures of the beautiful places you visit. It’s a full game mechanic that allows Alfred to delve into his memory in a series of vignettes.

“Alfred has the ability to use this camera as a shot of his past,” Brooks said. “So Alfred encounters certain places and objects that remind him of places he went to many years ago, and with this camera, he can unlock memories that players can relive. “

more than one way, forever ago It’s a memory trip.

forever ago It looks like an engaging narrative adventure with a relatively new protagonist exploring related themes through some unique game mechanics.It’s clear that the developers of Third Shift are leveraging their own gaming experience, while forever ago There are many heavy topics to be dealt with, and there is a feeling of hope throughout.

“We all have happy moments and sad moments in our lives,” Brooks said. “I think these balance each other out, and it makes sense for us to have those themes represented equally in the game.”

This is the kind of epiphany that Alfred learned forever ago As he ironically drives through the peaks and valleys of the Pacific coastline, looking for things he may not recognize.

forever ago Currently in development for PC and consoles.

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