Bid welcome to Earth No More - a game that’s an awful long way away (we’re talking 2009 here, people), but has a mission statement that makes it damn hard to ignore. From a development house splintered from Remedy (of Max Payne fame) and 3D Realms, it’s all part of a concept known as the “cinegame.”
“Our ultimate goal is to bring games to the same level as film and television in terms of providing an interactive experience with emotional consequence,” says Samuli Syvähuoko, studio director at Recoil Games. “We want to tap into the whole gamut of human emotions, not just the low-hanging fruit like tension, excitement and fear. The single driving force behind all good films, for example, is drama. And to create meaningful drama, we’ve got to abandon the lone hero in favor of an ensemble cast. It’s this cast of characters that allows us to explore a fuller range of dynamics and conflicts that we’ve not seen in many previous games.”
Earth No More doesn’t deal with a silly alien invasion or pan-dimensional beings taking a sudden interest in world affairs; it’s very much the tale of a home-grown disaster and its effects on both planet Earth and a ragtag bunch of competing personalities you get stuck with. Your name is William Forsyth, and you find yourself trapped in a small New England town shortly after quarantine has been declared - due to a strange proliferation of War of the Worlds-esque red vines. From here on in it’s an adventure in first-person shooting through a cross-section of locations in the eastern US, as the mystery of exactly what’s going on, where the conspiracy lies and which of your squad members could well be complicit unravels.