Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Compulsion Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: NA: November 15th, 2013, EU: November 29th, 2013
Contrast is an upcoming Film Noir inspired video game from the developers, Compulsion Games. The development team at Compulsion Games has said that “like JJ. Abrams, we’re big on the power of mystery”, this perhaps explains the games puzzle platforming focus. It is currently set to be published by Focus Home Interactive, and the game will be available on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. It will also launch as a PlayStation Plus title for free.
Details regarding the games launch have been changing since the delay of the PlayStation 4 title DriveClub. In a recent blog post on the games official site, Compulsion Games have said, “Our Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4 builds are all ready to go, having passed submission in nearly every territory, so we’re right on time for launch in mid-November.”
Right now, the PC, Xbox 360 and US PS4 versions are planned to launch on 15th November 2013. The PS3 version is planned to launch on 19th November in the US, and 20th November in Europe. Finally, PS4 Europe players will get it on the launch of the PS4, on 29th November.
Contrast is heavily inspired by the cinema genre, Film Noir. This is present in both the games visual aesthetic as well as its soundtrack, as demonstrated in the game’s trailer. The Film Noir, for those of you that don’t know, is a very stylish form of cinematography. Not in an overtly flamboyant sense of the word, but stylish in its approach to portrayal of the subject matter. The 2007 book “Rough Guides” by Alexander Ballinger and Danny Graydon attempts to describe the strange style by saying “We’d be oversimplifying things in calling film noir-oneiric, strange, ambivalent, and cruel”.
Strangely however, the Studio Head of Compulsion Games seems to have perfectly captured the definition of the genre and put it into video game form. Guillaume Provost was, at the time working on a freelance basis for Arkane Studios (The Lyon Based, ZeniMax owned studio behind games like Dishonored and Dark Messiah of Might & Magic) and while spending time in a coffee shop in Lyon, France he had the idea for Contrast. Speaking in an interview with 1UP, he said “I used to be a rendering programmer when I used to write code, so I thought about a lot of physical and/or graphical novel ways of interacting with games, and that’s how the idea sparked. I can’t say ‘I saw a shadow on a wall’ and had this sudden boom of an idea. I was basically sitting in a café when I got the original idea, and I built up from that”.
It is this mention of a ‘shadow on a wall’ that best represents how the game will be played, leaping from one shadow to the next and manipulating various light sources to create platforms that best suit your needs. Contrast was originally supposed to launch on all the major platforms, however a problem arose with the PlayStation 4. PlayStation 4 gamers were promised the supposedly ground breaking racing title “Drive Club” on the day the console launched, but problems arose within the development team and the decision was made to delay the game until early 2014 due to concerns that the game wasn’t 100% complete in its current form.
A posting on the official PlayStation Blog says “SCE Worldwide Studios and the team at Evolution Studios have made the difficult decision to delay the release of Driveclub and Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition until early 2014.” In order to make sure that the PlayStation fan base was not let down or left feeling disappointed, they were instead promised a free copy of Contrast as a means of compensation, this is currently set to be redeemable via the PlayStation Plus program.
A statement from the developer says “We’re also excited that the PS4 version of Contrast will be free to PS4 owners who are also PS+ subscribers. This means a whole heap of people will play the game, who might not have otherwise. We think this is really cool, because it’s a great opportunity to introduce new players to the indie scene.”
The plot of Contrast will see you playing as two characters called Dawn and Didi, whom we meet for the first time in a train station. We then discover that the youngest of the two, Didi comes from a rather dysfunctional and broken down family, with her mother having been recently murdered and having an estranged father. When asked about the story, Guillaume Provost said “She’s asking the player to change the course of past events in order to mend her family. And that’s a little bit the theme of the whole game.”
The gameplay of Contrast is rather similar to Nintendo’s upcoming game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The player will be taking control of the young detective called Dawn, who can make her way through the games various levels by both traversing the world in 3D movement, or by flattening herself against a wall and becoming a silhouette of herself. Unlike Zelda: : A Link Between Worlds however, Dawn must make use of light and dark in order to become her flat, two dimensional self.
While in her shadow form she can leap from shadow to shadow and leave them at will, this will be her primary means of Platforming. The player will also be able to manipulate various light sources in the game such as spotlights, to cast shadows in different directions or to create platforms for Dawn. This can be seen in the trailer for the game wherein she can be seen leaping from the heads of horse shaped shadows while a Merry Go Round carousel spins in the centre of a plaza and as she leaps between two shadows becoming both two and three dimensional.
There are to main playable characters in Contrast.
- Dawn: Dawn is a young detective, we don’t know very much about her except that she has the ability to leap in and out of shadows and light to help traverse her environment.
- Didi: Didi is a young girl from a broken family. Her mother was recently the victim of a murder and her father is estranged and we know little about him.