narrative adventure games have been experiencing a renaissance in recent years, from the hugely popular Life is strange A series Lost, who captivated the world with his lovable feline hero. Annapurna Interactive has made a name for itself with narrative art games, and has partnered with a developer called Third Shift for another unique narrative experience: an eternity ago is a delightful road trip experience that breaks 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 adventures. “We explore themes of grief, dealing with grief, and redemption within the story of this game,” says Third Shift co-founder Kai Brueckers. Reverse. “And we always thought it would be interesting to see how an old man as the protagonist of a video game would approach those things in life.”
With a few exceptions, video games in general, especially big-budget triple-A games, still struggle when it comes to diversity and representation. Many of the biggest games of the last few decades feature cis-gendered white male protagonists. (Think of Joel from The last of usKratos of God of Warand Peter Parker in marvel spider man, just to name a few). Even games with customizable player characters struggle with inclusivity. What the edge cunningly points out, the biggest and most praised game of 2022, elden ring, “Fail the black players.”
an eternity ago it 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 characters, particularly the main characters,” says Third Shift co-founder Fabian Denter. “Not only in age, but also in different ethnicities and backgrounds of the characters. We try not to have the typical 30-year-old white male character at the center of the game.”
an eternity agoThe protagonist of , Albert, sets out on a road trip through the west coast of the United States. Players will not visit actual cities in the game, but the locations are inspired by a real road trip that Brueckers took with his family. Other narrative games like Life is strange served as a great inspiration, and Denter notes that life is strange 2in particular, it was a major influence due to its road trip theme.
Along the way, Alfred meets various characters, including a dog who becomes his constant companion. an eternity ago will have multiple smaller stories that unfold throughout the experience, and the developers hope that people will be able to connect with the various characters that come into Alfred’s life.
Denter hopes that people will be able to see some of their personal experiences with their grandparents represented in the game and foster a sense of empathy for the older people in players’ lives. The nostalgic nature of the plot can make even the youngest players reflect on their mortality tenderly.
“Since we’re dealing with such serious issues, like grief, redemption, or memories, maybe the game can help people work through some of those issues,” says Denter. Reverse.
An especially interesting feature in an eternity ago it is the photography system, which goes far beyond simply taking pictures of the beautiful places you visit. It’s a complete gameplay mechanic that allows Alfred to dive into his own memories of him in a series of vignettes.
“Alfred has the ability to use this camera as his kind of lens into the past,” says Brueckers. “Then Alfred will come across certain places and objects that will remind him of something he visited many years ago, and with this camera, he can unlock memories that the player can re-experience..”
In more ways than one an eternity ago It’s a trip down memory lane.
an eternity ago It looks like a riveting narrative adventure with a relatively new protagonist who explores related themes through some unique gameplay mechanics. It’s clear that the developers of Third Shift draw from their own experiences for the game and while an eternity ago will deal with many heavy topics, present at all times a feeling of hope.
“We all have happy times in our lives and we all have sad times in our lives,” says Brueckers. “I think they offset each other, and it made sense for us to have those themes equally represented in the game.”
It’s the kind of epiphany that Alfred learns in an eternity ago as he wryly drives up and down the peaks and valleys of the Pacific Coast, searching for something he may not be able to identify.
an eternity ago It is currently in development for PC and consoles.