You’ve almost certainly played some weird games in your time, but have you played a game in which you attempt to escape a town where everyone thinks you’re a criminal, and your every move is watched by a gigantic policeman who towers over the horizon? That’s the premise of Militsioner, a delightfully strange immersive sim from Russian developer TallBoys.
Oh, and you can talk to the policeman with your actual voice. Just in case it wasn’t strange enough for you yet.
TallBoys has released a new gameplay trailer, which you can watch above, that demonstrates the voice mechanics and shows off the world and tone. The immediate vibe is Half-Life 2’s City 17; it’s drenched in a communist dystopian atmosphere, and has a giant face in the sky watching you at all times. The difference, though, is that in City 17 you couldn’t answer back to Dr. Breen, but in Militsioner you can get snarky with your massive parole officer. You can even tell him to eff off, if you’re brave enough to face the consequences.
The city itself seems to be freely explorable, with NPCs to talk to using the real voice communication system. The townsfolk, at least in the trailer, do seem to hate you for the crimes you’ve been accused of, though. It seems that finding help in the town may not be easy.
While Militsioner seems to be a haunting comment on the police state, it looks to be really quite funny in its bizarre methods. The giant policeman isn’t chasing you with pepper spray or guns, and seems open for a chat. And, of course, that chat comes through your actual voice, which lends it a sense of potential absurdity.
The developers are working on making sure the voice system is as natural as possible. “In order for the policeman and the environment to understand the player correctly, we are working on a system that will correctly process the player’s responses based on the context,” a dev blog from TallBoys says. “It is important that it does not make stupid mistakes or create obstacles, as the answers will influence the mood and attitude of the Militsioner towards the player.”
For anyone who would rather not shout at their own computer, Tallboys is looking at “alternative text input as an option and possibly even a classic dialog system” according to a post on Twitter.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.