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Monday, January 25, 2021

The catch-up coffee: Monday, January 25, 2021


News by Lindsay M.

Welcome to Digitally Downloaded’s regular catch-up news feature. With each issue we will bring you the best news that you may have missed. Grab the biggest mug you’ve got, fill it with your favourite brew, and catch up with us (and our favourite news anchor, Dee Dee)!

A new horror FMV game is on the horizon


If Wales Interactive publishes an FMV game, I will play it. That's just fact at this point. So I was super excited to see that it will be publishing a new title in the first quarter of this year. Produced (developed?) by Ghost Dog Films, I Saw Black Clouds is an FMV psychological thriller interactive movie starring some faces familiar to fans of Penny Dreadful, Outlander, and Avatar. It will first be released for PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One; current-gen systems will launch later on. Here's the teaser trailer:



Kristina has returned to her hometown following a friend's death, desperately seeking answers. She discovers a series of dark secrets that add up to a shocking truth. And, spoiler alert: it involves the supernatural. I do love a supernatural thriller thriller this time of year! (Sorry, I've been watching too much Jersey Shore.) The narrative features many different branches based on the player's decision during moral choice sequences. Your personality traits (honesty, strength, morality, tact, introspection) will shift based on choices, as will your acceptance level (denial, acceptance, guilt). These factors will all effect the final outcome of the film.

Ghost Dog Films have produced two previous films to date: The Singing Bird Will Come (described as an English ghost story) and Crucible of the Vampire (there's a graphic novel, too). This will be the company's first interactive film. Wales Interactive has published most of my favourite contemporary FMV titles, including The Bunker, Late Shift, The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, The Shapeshifting Detective, Headspun, The Complex, and Five Dates. And I love them all so much I couldn't cut that list down any further. I Saw Black Clouds stars Nicole O'Neill (Penny Dreadful), Rachel Jackson (Outlander), and Larry Rew (Avatar).

There's some news about Dark Side of the Moon!


I last wrote about this upcoming supernatural FMV game (yes, another one, it was a good week for news!) when I added it to my list of games I'm looking forward to in 2021. I was pleasantly surprised that information has dropped this early in the year, and I am here to share the wealth! First up, there's a new trailer available:



Dean is a single father with two children who disappear from their beds in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. He will have to search for where they are, and who has taken them. The game takes its interactive elements from traditional point-and-click gameplay. It stars the developer (Darren Hall) alongside Anarosa De Eizaguirre Butler (The Shapeshifting Detective) and Rupert Booth (Contradiction, The Shapeshifting Detective).

In other news regarding Dark Side of the Moon, it is now available to wishlist on Steam. It will be released for consoles in addition to PC sometime during the next few months.

The folks at Xbox can't make up their darned minds


It's the time of month that Microsoft/Xbox announced the Xbox Games With Gold titles for the following month, so when that happened last week it was most expected. Xbox One games available for the full month are Gears 5 and the Resident Evil remake, with Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition will be available from February 16 to March 15. The Xbox 360 title, Lost Planet 2, will also be available from February 16 to March 15. And the Xbox title, Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb (nice timing/choice) will be available from February 1 to 15.


But that's not where the real news lies. At the same time as the Games With Gold announcement, Xbox announced that the cost of Xbox Live Gold would be going up, sometimes quite dramatically. A one-month subscription would cost US$10.99 (vs. US$9.99), a three-month subscription would be US$29.99 (vs. US$24.99), and a six-month subscription would raise a whipping US$20 to US$59.99. The general consensus it that the price was going up to drive people to the Ultimate package that includes both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. People also generally agreed that the increase was to the point of being unacceptable.

So what did Xbox do? Surprisingly, it folded. Completely. There will be no price increase, at all, for anything. An official message from Xbox states, "We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing." Not only that, to be nice (I suppose), free-to-play games will no longer require and Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online (welcome to how PlayStation works, Xbox users).

FMV title Erica now available via the App Store


Yes, that's three of today's four stories revolving around FMV games. I told you it's been a good week! Erica, a live-action interactive thriller originally released for PlayStation 4 about a year and a half ago, is now available for iPhones/iPads via the App Store. Developed by Flavourworks, the PlayStation version is published by Sony Interactive Entertainment so it owns the trademark, but this new version is self-published by Flavourworks. Take a look at the original launch trailer from 2019:



Erica is plagued by nightmares and following clues to face past traumatic events. There is a branching narrative featuring multiple different endings, and you'll have to find them all to learn the entire truth. The biggest difference between the mobile version and the console version is the controls. On PlayStation 4, players had to use the touchpad or download a mobile phone app (which was actually my preference, as I wrote in my review). This new version uses special "touch video" technology to allow player interactions. I am very, very curious about this, and cannot wait to play on my iPad.

Erica is free-to-download, with full unlock costing US$2.99. That's basically a steal, as mobile games tend to be when compared to console counterparts. In this case, the PlayStation 4 version is also incredibly reasonably priced, at US$9.99, but that's still a pretty big difference.


The catch-up coffee: Monday, January 25, 2021
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