12 Minutes Interview – Time Loop

12 Minutes' Game Director Luis Antonio speaks with GamingBolt about the unique adventure title.

Posted By | On 10th, Jul. 2019

12 Minutes Interview – Time Loop

12 Minutes is a transformative experience in which you play as a man trapped in a time loop trying to save his wife from certain doom. Dealing with the outcomes of triggering different realistic emotions within the man and his wife is one of the many obstacles you’ll be going through over and over within 12 Minutes. As you dive deeper into the story, you’ll uncover a detailed story layered in plot points and intense truths that you will have to convince your wife of. We had a chance to sit down with 12 Minutes‘ Game Director Luis Antonio to ask him a few dying questions we had.

12 minutes

"The game never tells you what to do, never gives objectives. It’s up to your interpretation to figure out what’s happening."

How would you best describe 12 Minutes?

12 Minutes is an interactive thriller about a man trapped in a time loop. You play as the husband. You come in from work, have a meal with your wife, she dies, you’re accused of murder. You get beat up, pass out, wake up at the start of the same day. You have to use the knowledge of what you know is going to happen to change the loop. The loop lasts 12 Minutes in real-time. If you’re experienced at adventure games it will take 6-8 hours to come to a satisfactory conclusion for you.

The game never tells you what to do, never gives objectives. It’s up to your interpretation to figure out what’s happening. I looked to many movies and books like Memento for inspiration. Accessibility is a big thing. I made the game something everyone can try. That lead to the top-down view so navigation is accessible. You just click where you want to go. There’s no dealing with perspective and moving up and down. It also means interface is drag-and-drop. You just combine things to create interactions. I realized that allows for a pretty complex experience without losing anything.

What was the choice behind playing the entire game with one button?

Accessibility. When I started, I was doing things with a mouse like enter/open. But I realized it doesn’t bring anything but complications. With one button you can do anything. When you click on the door it’s one button. I figured I could add this logic to everything. I never needed more.

What was the concept behind the idea of having exactly 12 Minutes?

So five years ago I had this prototype, trying to show it to see if it had any potential. I was asked, “what’s the name of the game?“ Well, it lasts 12 minutes so it’s called 12 Minutes. So I tried to make the shortest most condensed time loop as possible, and I arrived at 12 Minutes.

12 minutes

"How do you make it exciting if it’s too broad? So this is what I learned. Originally I wanted to do 24 hours in a city. I realize it’s very hard to understand the cause-and-effect of your actions if they’re too sprawled out. And the more I can do to this, the deeper I can go into what I present to you. Then my next big question was how far can I go in such a small environment? And it kept going and going and going and going."

The entire game takes place in a single apartment. How do you keep the excitement going for 6-8 hours with no scenery changers?

Well, it’s actually the opposite. How do you make it exciting if it’s too broad? So this is what I learned. Originally I wanted to do 24 hours in a city. I realize it’s very hard to understand the cause-and-effect of your actions if they’re too sprawled out. And the more I can do to this, the deeper I can go into what I present to you. Then my next big question was how far can I go in such a small environment? And it kept going and going and going and going.

So does the man who’s re-experiencing this day over and over with his wife have some powers or knowledge on why this is happening? Is this part explained in the game?

That’s what the game is about. I hope that’s one of the drives for living the loop.

The screen doesn’t have a HUD or really any gauges that explain much. Is there a way to tell how much time is left or does that not matter?

If you right click on the mouse it tells you how much time you have left. But the game is designed in a way that you don’t need that. You learn by the cues of the environment and the sounds that are happening. And naturally you’ll know you have a minute left or two Minutes left. Early on I realize it’s not fun to be stressed with these things. I never make you pile up 15 combinations and you miss combination 14 and you have to do it again. There’s no stress, you can plan it out. It’s more knowing what you want to do, rather. So the time is there but it’s not really too short. I mean it is, but not, like, per second.

12 minutes

"Five years ago I had this prototype, trying to show it to see if it had any potential. I was asked, “what’s the name of the game?“ Well, it lasts 12 minutes so it’s called 12 Minutes. So I tried to make the shortest most condensed time loop as possible, and I arrived at 12 Minutes."

How does the wife play into all this? Do you have to continually go over facts with her?

She also learns from everything you’re doing. For example, if you told her the cop is coming can you ask her to not open the door, she thinks you’re joking. When [the cop] actually comes, she’s going to realize you’re telling the truth. She’s not going to open the door. She’s going to be like, “That’s the guy you’re talking about?”


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