If you’re somebody who likes to maintain up with what’s scorching on the earth of TV, 2022 might be a nightmare. Between cable and streaming providers, it looks like there’s 100 reveals to binge at any given time, with numerous ranges of time dedication hooked up to them. But is there room in your busy schedule for a story online game that mirrors the episodic nature of TV?
That’s a query that sport builders have been experimenting with this summer time thanks to 2 totally different releases. In July, we bought the Xbox unique As Dusk Falls, a five-episode interactive movement comedian a couple of hostage scenario at a lodge. This week, we’re getting one other episodic sport within the type of We Are OFK. The trendy visible novel follows a fictional band because it tries to document its debut EP in-between day jobs and relationship. Like As Dusk Falls, it unfolds in 5 episodes. But in contrast to that sport, it’s not launching . Instead, new episodes drop each week, similar to a cable TV present.
It’s a inventive idea and one which video games are not any strangers to because of studios like TellTale Games (and Valve, much less efficiently). But can a online game naturally match right into a TV construction? In an interview with Digital Trends, We Are OFK Director Teddy Dief shed some gentle on how the undertaking got here collectively and what different distinctive concepts are within the playing cards for the digital band. Dief makes it clear that that is greater than only a sport; it’s your subsequent favourite band.
We Are OFK is an enchanting undertaking. On its floor, it’s your normal visible novel. The five-part story tells the story of a band coming collectively, specializing in every member’s private journey. The interactive element is about what you’d anticipate from the style, with gamers selecting dialogue choices and textual content message responses. The added twist is that each episode options an interactive music video for one of many songs on the band’s EP. It’s a captivating narrative that places queer characters and tales entrance and middle whereas delivering a set of real bops.
I’ve at all times needed to get again to the TV medium … So I cheated and put all of it in a sport.
But what significantly makes the sport fascinating is its launch construction. When you purchase the sport at launch, you’ll get entry to the primary two episode. A brand new episode drops each week after that. For Dief (who can be the band’s lead vocalist), the choice to stagger the episodes got here from a want to seize the social power of TV.
“I wanted to bring a feeling to games that I see in music and TV all the time — a new drop EVERY WEEK,” Dief tells Digital Trends. “This big moment where you get together with friends every weekend to see what happens next. Big watch party energy.”
That strategy is evident within the closing undertaking. We Are OFK has about all the pieces you’d need and anticipate from a TV present. Episodes are crammed with interpersonal drama, as band members navigate their dead-end jobs and relationships. It’s straightforward to see how a fandom might type round it, with gamers drawing fan artwork and gossiping about who’s going to this point who to kill time between releases. There’s purpose the sport is so efficient at its episodic strategy. Despite being recognized for video games, Dief has a historical past with TV.
“I moved out to LA in the first place wanting to write for television, before I got into video games,” Dief says. “I’ve always wanted to get back to the TV medium, and even further back to my roots in music. So I cheated and put it all in a game. LOL. Everyone expected me to make another game after Hyper Light Drifter, so I just designed this band/TV/game hybrid, and if they want to think of it as a game, that’s cool.”
To create the undertaking, Dief must take a completely totally different strategy to how video games are normally written. Working with co-writer Claire Jia (who beforehand labored on Fresh Off the Boat and Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens), the group initially constructed the episodes round a conventional sitcom format earlier than ultimately deciding on extra of a “one-hour dramedy” construction.
That episodic strategy serves a twin objective. For one, it permits episodes to provide a highlight to every member of the band. Additionally, it’s a intelligent advertising trick on the musical aspect. The very actual digital band on the coronary heart of the undertaking would get to drop their EP over the course of some weeks, sustaining some long-term curiosity within the launch — a troublesome job that loads of bands wrestle with.
I’d like to share extra story and home windows into their lives. But the band must stay a bit first.
That didn’t come with out some technical obstacles, although. Releasing a sport app that will unlock new episodes each week required some inventive workarounds.
“From a technical and logistics standpoint, there have been a lot of huge hurdles that our tech and porting teams have cleared,” Dief says. “On the Switch especially, we are hijacking a system that was never intended to be used like this, but Nintendo and PlayStation have both been super supportive!”
There’s one other impediment to an strategy like this, but it surely’s extra long-term: What occurs if followers desire a second season? Games can take for much longer to develop than TV reveals, so it wouldn’t be terribly sensible for the group to churn out a second set of episodes one 12 months later like a typical TV present.
Dief isn’t involved with that, although. While a second season isn’t off the desk, it’s secondary to the precise subsequent part for the band. The aim is to introduce the band to actuality subsequent, having them tour and document extra music. In that sense, the sport isn’t precisely the main focus right here a lot because the band it’s about.
“We created the game to be an introduction to this band of characters we love, that we are. Now they get to live,” Dief says. “We need OFK to tour, to play little reveals round LA. They’re not trapped within the online game. That’s simply the way you meet them. Now … go joke with them on Twitter or duet them on TikTook or no matter. And yeah, I’d like to share extra story and home windows into their lives. But the band must stay a bit first.
“We Are OFK tells their story right up until present day — the release of their first EP. So we can’t tell more story until they’ve made some more music, played some shows, embarrassed themselves at a party. They’ve gotta have time to make stories we can tell!”
We Are OFK launches on August 18 for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, and PC. Episode 1 and a pair of can be found at launch, with three extra to comply with on a weekly schedule.