The Sexy Brutale Preview Gamescom 2016 – Time’s Relative

Dave Aubrey
Posted Sep 19, 2016
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Time is a concept not delved into often enough in video games. Sure, the recent Life is Strange and even Quantum Break have tried their best, but aside from plot relevancy there’s not much reason for it to be there – heck, Life is Strange’s good ending basically amounts to “This is what would’ve happened if you had never altered time” like a crap moral. The Sexy Brutale, happily, grabs time by the balls and thrusts it into the spotlight.

The Sexy Brutale is a puzzle adventure game set in a giant mansion – supernatural shenanigans are afoot, with most of the inhabitants turning to madness, resulting in strange behavior such as premeditated homicide.

The player’s role is that of elderly priest Lafcadio Boone, who is trying to prevent tragedies without ever actually having to get involved. In the demo I was shown at Gamescom 2016, the player must stop a man dying in the chapel – he’s shot with a rifle. By starting the whole incident from the beginning, Groundhog Day-style, the player can tamper with certain elements, but must remain unseen. For example, the rifle can be jammed, or ammo removed, but the steps necessary will be hidden from the player, initially. Indeed, most of the puzzles in The Sexy Brutale will require the player to fail at least once, witnessing a murder before their eyes, before preventing it.

There’s an element of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask to The Sexy Brutale, but not necessarily in the time-altering elements. Instead, it’s the way the player acts as a spectator to the NPCs – characters have set roles, places they will be at set times, and similar to Majora’s Mask, the player will find themselves eagerly watching and waiting for the right time to strike. It’s a voyeuristic experience, but in the best possible way. You’ll fulfil a feeling of curiosity, whilst also learning the ins and outs of how the puzzles in the game work and why the characters are acting the way they are.

The game doesn’t want to keep secrets from you either – a map of the game will show you where other characters are in real time, showing you a Harry Potter-esque trail of white footsteps. This will be handy for the game’s later puzzles, which are sure to strip the player of free time as they hide in wardrobes, peek through keyholes and generally learn about the environment they’re moving through, all while solving the mystery behind the strange behavior, of course.

While it was a simple demonstration, The Sexy Brutale utterly captivated me. I wanted to explore the mansion, follow NPCs, learn what was happening. It was WCCFtech’s Adventure Game of the Show, and for good reason. RiME creators Tequila Works and Cavalier Studios are jointly creating something great, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The Sexy Brutale is scheduled for a Q1 2017 release on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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