With The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit and Twin Mirror, DONTNOD Entertainment had a huge presence at E3 2018. In our latest video, we discuss how the Life is Strange developer is evolving.
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Captain Spirit, Twin Mirror, and Dontnod Entertainment – Script:
It’s a genre that has picked up steam due to games like Heavy Rain and Telltale’s The Walking Dead sort of, igniting a fire under this method of storytelling. Storytelling in video games, as we all know, is an ever-evolving thing. We get your Last of Us’s and God of Wars sort of nailing it in a lot of ways but there’s still a long ways to go before the medium truly reaches the levels of The Great Gatsby or To Kill A Mockingbird. This is why I love narrative driven adventure games.These games tend to present themselves as narrative first which comes off as antithetical to being a video game, an interactive medium, but I believe the very act of being a game actually makes their very existence worthwhile. Being a game means they’re able to play with how they deliver the narrative, choice, player involvement and culpability, and more.
This is why I want to talk about Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind the graphic adventure game Life is Strange. They recently announced The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit and Twin Mirror during E3 and I think we’re seeing Dontnod grow into something much bigger than ever expected. Dontnod occupies a very similar space as Telltale. Their games are not near the budget of a game like Detroit: Become Human, but they’re able to tell stories in a similar way and make an impactful impression on their audience. Life is Strange fans love Max and Chloe. I personally prefer Chloe and Rachel but that’s beside the point. With Dontnod tripling down on this style of game after the underperformance of their last gen title, Remember Me, and the seemingly underwhelming reception of Vampyr, I believe this says a lot about the nature of storytelling in games. Especially in Dontnod entertainment games. Remember Me and Vampyr are both action games made by Dontnod which is a small studio. These are far from AAA games. But the nature of action games calls for flashy visuals, pitch perfect controls, high level character design, and the accoutrements that can be provided by a AAA studio with a publisher like EA or Activision… Anyone can tell a story. And oftentimes, these smaller, intimate studios are able to craft a much better story than the big ones due to the ability to have a cleaner focus, and less intrusion.
Dontnod, as a small studio, has honed in on their ability to craft unique stories as showcased by Life is Strange, a story of a high school girl who’s found herself with the power to rewind time. What made that story wasn’t the superpower she was given, it was the pacific northwest portrayal of teen life and the struggle of relationship and adolescence. Dontnot touched on something that felt affecting, for lack of a better term. Non-cognitive. The story of Life is Strange does a great job of making the player feel. And that’s something that Dontnod has been able to rely on within their storytelling.
I’m extremely excited for Captain Spirit. It takes place in the Life is Strange universe and is a tale of a young boy and his imagination. Take a look. [Footage]
That’s not a story you would get from a Quantic Dream. The crazy thing? Captain Spirit is going to be free. I’m not exactly sure why they’re going this route other than the idea that they want more people to understand the value of the stories that they’re presenting.
Twin Mirror is a different kind of experience. It’s a mysterious, surreal tale in the vain of Twin Peaks or even Indigo Prophecy, one of Quantic Dream’s oldest games. Take a look. [Footage]
The smaller, more contained, heartfelt story of Captain Spirit juxtaposed against the psychological-thriller that is Twin Mirror showcases the vastness they see in their ability as a studio. They understand their games have something special to bring to the table. The art of storytelling, has a long way to go in video games. And they’re pushing it forward.
The fact that Dontnod is able to work on these games and also have Life is Strange 2 in development speaks to the efficiency of their process and to say I’m excited to see what they deliver would be an understatement. Dontnod is quietly leading the way for cool stories to be told in video games, and I’m excited to see what Captain Spirit and Twin Mirror have in store.