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As mainstream as video games have become, there are still millions of people who do not yet participate in the hobby. These people represent the future growth of the industry, and publishers, developers and platform holders alike are exploring new ways to get them engaged.
Whether it’s Google’s attempts to bring down the barrier to entry with cloud gaming service Stadia, hypercasual mobile developers focusing on accessible game design to get people playing, or Nintendo hoping to recapture the Wii Fit magic with products like Ring Fit Adventure, there are myriad ways of appealing to non-gamers.
But for Caroline Marchal, CEO of UK developer Interior Night, there’s a simpler method: tell them a story.
“I don’t think anyone has watched something like this anywhere – and they certainly haven’t played this”
“Story is a fundamental element of attracting people to play a game,” she says. “We focus 100% on getting a great script with flawed characters that people will find relatable and compelling.”
Marchal and her team aim to demonstrate this with their debut title As Dusk Falls, an interactive drama heading to Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. The game centres on a conflict at a motel in the Arizona desert, in a story that’s “not about saving the world, but about deep and intimate relationships.”
“We’ve got two families we focus on across 30 years, so it’s got scope and it’s a really original story,” says Marchal. “I don’t think anyone has watched something like this anywhere — and they certainly haven’t played this.
“We confront [the audience] to ask questions about really relatable themes and real-life struggles. Can you break free from a toxic family? Can you start over by moving house or changing jobs? Will all your problems