Each ,June, the Electronics Entertainment Expo brings hundreds of new video game announcements to the show floor for us to get excited about, but far too often the press conference approach means that smaller, that smaller, unique game concepts get lost in the shadows of their easier to recognize AAA cousins. As you might expect, 2017’s even was no different, and there were quite a few smaller projects which didn’t gain much traction, although none felt quite as promising from a gameplay standpoint compared to the next project from Supermassive Games called Hidden Agenda.
Best known for bringing the decision-based horror game Until Dawn to the PlayStation 4, Supermassive Games is returning to Sony’s console with a new gritty criminal thriller revolving around the concept of player choice and the consequences which follow as a direct result of said choice. Instead of developing a single-player experience where your decisions are solely your own however, the development team wanted to turn Hidden Agenda’s story into a multiplayer experience groups of players could enjoy together.
The idea for this change actually came from 2015’s Until Dawn, which the team noticed was being played through by entire groups of gamers on YouTube and Twitch. These groups would often argue about which path was best to take for each of Until Dawn’s characters, shouting out with excitement or regret depending on who lived or dived because of each passing decision made by members of the group. The goal with Hidden Agenda thus became developing this social commentary into the very core of the game, which resulted in the decision to use Sony’s new PlayLink technology as a controller.
What’s great about PlayLink is that it allows Hidden Agenda to use mobile phones as a controller, meaning that your friends can simply download an application on their phone to join you instead of purchasing extra controllers. This makes the experience more accessible for players who may not be familiar with video games, while also giving Supermassive Games the opportunity to play with the group by revealing specific details to players via their phone.
This brings a whole new element of trust into the game between every player participating, who will be working to complete secret objectives while trying to convince their group members they aren’t lying about their intention. As for how these objectives will be implemented in the game, we don’t know much outside of the fact they they’ll be handed out over the course of the story.
Naturally this is just a social supplement to the game’s main narrative though, which revolves around the players hunting down a serial killer known as The Trapper, who’s been murdering people for quite some time. His main calling card is as the name implies, he kills his victims to lure first responders onto the scene only to place traps around their bodies to kill those who respond first like some sort of game.
You’ll be working with your fellow players to control Becky Marnie, a homicide detective in charge of the investigation, and Felicity Graves, who is the district attorney assigned to the case. Just like in Until Dawn, you’ll make decisions about each branching path in the game’s story — either keeping all the characters alive or killing them all off while attempting to catch and put the serial killer behind bars. And that alone is worth a look in our book.