On October 24, Hidden Agenda launches on PS4 for only $20. I can't wait.
There were all kinds of interesting games shown at E3, but the one that stayed with me after the show was Hidden Agenda. Supporting up to five players, you interact with Hidden Agenda on a smartphone or tablet, as the group weaves a choose-your-own-adventure story about a serial killer. Along the way, you may be given optional objectives (aka a "hidden agenda") that reward you with additional points and perks, but require you to try and covertly steer the group into making one specific decision (i.e. denying a suspect access to a judge).
I played a short demo of the game with Austin and two employees from Supermassive Games, the developers behind the criminally underrated horror adventure Until Dawn, and it was a total blast. (I won, too.)
No one has direct control over the action in Hidden Agenda. People often joke about some games being little more than an interactive movie, but in this case, that's absolutely true! At certain points, the game pauses and allows the players to make a decision, which varies from the mundane (stay together or go alone) to the momentous (shoot someone or stand down). Crucially, the decision must be made by the majority. If four people are playing—the game supports up to five—and the vote's split, someone needs to switch sides. Cue the arguing and cajoling.
There are interesting caveats. At the start of a scenario, players get three "takeover" cards. If the room is about to make a decision you disagree with, you can play one and assume control over what happens. When you use a takeover card is important because cards can stack on top of one another. If you assert control, someone else can play their own card and steal it from you. This can go back and forth until everyone is out of cards—or everyone gives up.
Though designed as a social experience, Hidden Agenda can be played solo, if you're primarily interested in is seeing the story play out (and how it can change). Even if you're on your own, though, you'll need to use a smartphone or tablet.