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Working is Hell in Yuppie Psycho – PAX East 2018 Preview

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My first appointment of PAX East Day 2 was seeing an indie game by the name of Yuppie Psycho, developed by a team known as Baroque Decay. The premise places you as an incredibly clueless G-Class citizen in a society that has made not only clear social but also workplace boundaries due to the existing hierarchy. When a letter randomly arrives at Brian Pasternack’s home assuring him a position at the most prestigious company in the world, he puts on his brightest blue suit and red tie and surprisingly walks himself into the office, where he is met by classism and the exaggerated doldrums of being the new guy in the office. I say surprisingly because according to the game, Brian is just shy of being an idiot.

The bit of Yuppie Psycho that I managed to play, which seemed like the opening portion of the game, is incredibly dense and laden with dialogue. The good news is that it’s mostly funny. Yuppie Psycho is more than just a pointed satire of the workplace, but also an exploration of the horror inherent to the setting. It decides that it’s not enough to just drop you into the shoes of a new guy, rather the game pits you against the terrors that have manifested themselves within Pasternack’s mind. These horrors are often depicted as surrealist renditions of what corporate office environments look like and how they can affect people.

When Brian gets called up to the top floor on his first day, a place new guys never go to, he suffers what appears to be a breakdown halfway up to his destination. When he finally arrives to the ninth floor, which is is poorly lit, Pasternack stumbles upon a bloody trail which eventually leads to a wall that’s covered by blood. The phrase “KILL THE WITCH” is spelled out in the blood, merely feet away from where Brian is expected to sign his life away via company paperwork. Yuppie Psycho is the least subtle game I’ve ever played, and yet it’s one of the most intriguing for its boldness to run forward with such an insane pitch.

The gameplay in Yuppie Psycho regrettably never took shape until the very scenario in which I died, a chase scene that in this instant I can’t quite explain because of just how ridiculous it was. It concerns me though that I stood there for what seemed like ten minutes before proper mechanics decided to show. For a game as rich in premise and writing, it’s sorely lacking in anything compelling beyond the next punchline. Even if combat never enters the fray, it feels like a game missing a proper thrust and while the existing trailer shows light stealth mechanics, I’m interested to see if the game manages to do anything interesting with that or any sort of gameplay it may decide to introduce – which could be just about anything. So while it may not be the best feeling game, I think there’s for sure something promising about Yuppie Psycho. At the very least, the game is worth looking into and keeping an eye on as it’s developed.

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