The game creator Mike Bithell seems to be intent on exploring how interactive narrative narratives can work in a game context.
- Thomas Was Alone (2012) was a major indie hit that told a story about relationships and belonging, through a platform game, of all things.
After launching the stealth game, Volume (2015) and the VR game EarthShape (2016) Bithell is now making a series of smaller projects, each taking the narrative form further:
- Subsurface Circular (2017) trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8ARXL4W1bw
- Quarantine Circular (2018) trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU14jdXJ64A
Emily Short analyses the narrative qualities of Quarantine Circular, pointing out the struggle between the emotionas of the underlying story and the mechanics of interaction:
"A handful of times, the systemic aspects of Quarantine Circular do help, providing goals and tension that the writing did not supply on its own. In my first interaction with the alien, I’ve got a status bar indicating how much it trusts me, and I wound up removing its restraining bolt simply because I wanted to see that status bar go up. You could say that that was anti-fictional, or you could say that the mechanic actually represented something about the protagonist in the first scene — his eagerness to please, his desire to establish rapport, the fact that connection matters more to him than fear. Shortly thereafter, in a dialogue with multiple characters, I find that dialogue that raises trust with one character lowers the patience of another: again, a mechanical way to signal a valid fictional tension."
Emily Short's blog: https://emshort.blog/2018/09/18/quarantine-circular-bithell-games/#more-38638