An empty room in a spaceship is one of the first things we see in the demo of The Fall of Lazarus, the new game by No Wand Studios, a group of young developers from Saragossa for whom this is their most ambitious project so far.
According to its members, some of the most important influences for the game are Firewatch and MIND: Path to Thalamus. Playing their demo, you clearly see those influences: the minimal 3d environment, the importance of those 3d elements to tell a story, quickly reminds us of games such as the already mentioned ones as examples of narrative correctly presented through the environment. Interactive narrative at its best.
The diegetics feels more inclusive in the so-called walking simulators. The information is (or should be) seamlessly included in the places our avatar visits. The progression of the player and the learning curve are both more similar to what we would encounter in our own reality: no external and extradiegetic voices or HUD telling us what to do or where to go. The Fall of Lazarus makes use of this more natural way of presenting the information, adding up some puzzles in between.
According to Jonatan Prat Guisado, Creative Director at No Wand Studios, “the game is not exactly a puzzle game, but these fit perfectly in the story we were telling. Our character wakes up in a spaceship and doesn’t know what he is doing there. In order to get out, he needs to do some stuff and live several experiences that fit perfectly with the puzzles we are including. Videogames are an interactive media that allows you to plunge into a story via its mechanics and using a character, and that’s something unique we want to use to make the player feel as close to the story as possible.”
He also mentions the foreshadowing in the excellent sci-fi film by Duncan Jones, Moon. One of the first things that comes to my mind when thinking of Moon is the plot events we don’t see because they are actually happening off-frame, but can be inferred from the very scarce elements that the protagonist encounters in his spaceship. Some videogames do this very well, and it is undoubtedly not easily achievable in one of their first games as a studio.
Same as all the studios we have been talking to for this blog, they have “very restricted access to government fundings and the support and promotion don’t exist apart from the mainstream videogames media who don’t often publish articles about mostly unknown projects”.
We will definitely keep our eyes peeled for some more information!