Best friends Milo and Lola are dead. They have gone straight to hell, and their only chance to return to Earth is to challenge and defeat Satan himself in a drinking contest. It seems the configuration of the worst hangover of all time, but the new game of Night School Studio, Afterparty, includes a more diabolic layer: even in hell, everyone uses Twitter. Or, as it's called in the game, Bicker.
The release to launch in 2019 of the creators behind Oxenfree, the Afterparty Underworld is an international hodgepodge of common cultures, myths and religious beliefs. "For us it was important that we both offer them equal respect and we played the same amount of fun in all of that, and that we did not lean toward a particular shot," says co-creator Adam Hines.
The team also had to reflect on how to measure morality in hell when the standards of good and evil change with the times. "What would take you to hell, maybe in 10 AD, now seems very unfair," says Hines. "Or, in 10 AD, they think:" Wait, are not you allowed to do that? I did it last Saturday. "
Although the social media site of hell, Bicker, could have been a unique hit on Twitter, plays an important narrative role in Afterparty. As Milo and Lola make their way through hell, you can look at Bicker to see how the inhabitants of the underworld react to his partying presence.
"You will have a real time line of everything that is happening, and you will be able to see how people interacted and what they thought of you," says co-creator Sean Krankel. "Then most of those feeds will be based on what you do, it's not just random events … if you had to walk, stumble and spill a drink, and you wanted to say," Look at this idiot, " You have to tell me anything, I can see the tweet coming out through Bicker. "
In other words: "Hell is subtitle," says Krankel.
In this version of hell, both the demons and the humans they torture go out to the bars to mingle after a long day of work, and Bicker is another layer where that socialization takes place. If a party is organized, some tweets can tell you where to go. Krankel describes both the use of the game of tweeting and of sending text messages (complete with typographical errors such as "where are you the duck") as an indication of how big this world is, both physically and socially. "There is FOMO happening at all times," he says. "Something is happening in another place, and you can not get there, and you will lose certain things, guaranteed." As to why a cell phone would work in hell, Krankel and Hines offer a joke: "Because it's a hellish tool."
Afterparty's social elements are only part of its history about the social dynamics of drinking. "They all had a crazy night," says Krankel. "Everyone has had an experience that is worth retelling, because it was unpredictable and crazy, and someone got hurt, and someone drank too much." Night School hopes to bottle that feeling in a game. This means that your night in hell and the stories you tell about it may end up being very different from those of other people who play the game, just as you and a friend will remember a night of drunken debauchery with a different turn.
Play toys with the use of alcohol in a darkly funny way. One type of liquor could give you courage, but another could literally make you vomit your conscience, allowing you to make horrible decisions. Drink too much and you could faint, although that can also lead you to unexpected situations. "We definitely wanted the mood to be more similar to what it feels like when you go out at night," says Hines, "what drinks you get and what mood you are in, and how different drinks affect different people." "
Krankel and Hines describe creating a game around alcohol like threading a needle. He uses alcohol consumption as a tool for both the game and his characters, instead of, as it is for some people, an outlet for problems such as depression. "Every person you meet in hell is going to have some kind of tragic aspect," says Hines. "The inherent sadness that comes with alcoholism in real life … We do not want to get away from that either, it will be a comedy, but it will be a dark comedy that will also play many different things, so we are definitely trying to have our cake and eat it too" .