Police bodycam game Unrecord dubbed too realistic to actually be real, devs respond with new footage and promise it's "not inspired by any real-life events"

(Image credit: DRAMA)

Last year, footage of a "bodycam-style game" from a French indie developer made waves for its realistic visuals and incredible animations. Today, that game has a title, a Steam page, and a whole lot of players insisting that it's so realistic it has to be fake.

The game is called Unrecord, and a new, even better-looking bit of footage has landed alongside its Steam page. Billed as "an immersive and narrative experience," the game puts you in the shoes of a tactical police officer working to investigate several criminal cases. Much of the gameplay in the trailer seems to focus on chasing and shooting at fleeing suspects, though there are moments where you have to rapidly choose a dialog option in the middle of the action.

Whether any of this ends up being fun or engaging remains to be seen, but the game's hyperrealistic visuals have been impressing just about everyone - to the extent that a not-insubstantial number of players are calling it fake.

"There have been many doubts raised about the authenticity of the gameplay," the devs acknowledge in a new Steam blog. "The game is developed on Unreal Engine 5, and the game footage is captured from an executable and played using a keyboard and mouse. It is not a VR game. In reality, it seems rather flattering to compare the graphics of Unrecord to reality, but fortunately, we know that a game first focuses on gameplay and universe on which we primarily concentrate."

Nothing in the footage looks light-years beyond what we see in other graphically impressive modern games, but the realistic animation really puts it over the top, and that seems to be the bit that's tripping everybody up. The game's Steam forums remain filled with threads full of accusations that the footage is faked, to the point where programmer and co-director Alexandre Spindler posted a clip to Twitter flying through the new video's opening area with the dev tools in Unreal Engine.

Of course, graphical presentation isn't the only avenue of potential controversy for a hyperrealistic game presented like bodycam footage from a police officer. The devs have gotten out ahead of that sort of discussion as part of the blog linked above.

"As a French studio addressing a global audience, the game does not engage in any foreign policy and is not inspired by any real-life events," the devs say. "The game will obviously avoid any undesirable topics such as discrimination, racism, violence against women and minorities. The game will have no biased or Manichaean take on criminal acts and police violence. We also respect and understand people who may feel disturbed by the game's images. Art cannot fight against interpretation."

The post goes on to talk about how the "public generally trusts film, series, and novel writers on the intelligence of the point of view when it comes to detective, gangster, or police stories," and says the same should be true for video games.

Of course, that also gives the public the freedom to criticize poor depictions of heavy topics, and given how Unrecord's website describes the game as "a blend of Firewatch and Ready Or Not" - the latter being the tactical shooter made infamous by its plans to include a school shooting level - the developers are certainly wrestling with some very difficult themes.

The utterly bizarre story of The Day Before showcases the degree of skepticism indie devs chasing AAA visuals are facing - justified or not.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.