A short teaser was released forThe Fall Part 2: Unbound today. There's not much to it, as it's the very definition of a teaser, but hey, it's an excuse to gush about The Fall.
As a relatively new medium, we often hold video game storytelling to a lower standard. Developers are still figuring out how to tell stories with interactivity. Every so often, however, there's a game that defies expectations and is just a damn good story. The Fall, a sci-fi adventure almost nobody played when it was released back in 2014, is one of those games.
In The Fall, humans have a nifty backup system for when things go wrong in space. If they become incapacitated or injured, the A.I.-driven exoskeleton system A.R.I.D. (Autonomous Robotic Interface Device) takes over. When a pilot crashes on a mysterious planet, A.R.I.D. begins looking for a way to save them. Unfortunately, there are no mission logs or other details about the pilot.
In the opening moments, A.R.I.D. encounters a robot dubbed The Caretaker, seemingly in charge of the strange facility, A.R.I.D. is asked to explain their directive. Since the pilot can't respond and A.R.I.D. has no data, A.R.I.D.'s declared "faulty" and destined for the scrap heap.
It's in this moment The Fall gets interesting. A.R.I.D. has several directives it must follow. A.R.I.D.'s destruction means the pilot's life would be put in jeopardy—that's a no no. Thus, A.R.I.D. is granted access to the suit's networking features, which it uses to disable The Caretaker. This is one of several strict rules A.R.I.D. must abide by, the most interesting being A.R.I.D.'s inability to tell a lie. These rules cleverly function as a way of gating functionality for the player and posing uncomfortable philosophical questions about the restriction of free will.
To say anything more would ruin the genuinely shocking twists and turns along the way. It's a relatively short game, maybe three or four hours, but it doesn't waste a single moment. The ending, in particular, does the near impossible job of making the story it's telling end on a deeply satisfying note, while still leaving you desperate to know what might happen next.
I've been patiently waiting for that "next" since 2014. Lucky for you, it's not far off; the second episode hits in early 2017. Plus, right now, the original game is on sale on a whole bunch of platforms: it's only $1.50 on Xbox One, $1 on PS4, $1.99 on Wii U, and $0.99 on Steam (in the UK it's just 69p on Steam, but still £7.99 on PS4). You should play it.