May 19, 2022

Twin Mirror is it a Doppelganger for Life is Strange

Dontnod a French games developer have a new title in the pipeline: Twin Mirror. They are probably best known for the hugely successful Life is Strange game. How much of a doppelganger for Life is Strange is this new game?

Twin Mirror, is a third person adventure game about a former investigative journalist named Sam who returns to his hometown. A fictional place called Basswood in West Virginia. He is there following the death of his best friend. Obviously, he gets wrapped up in a much bigger mystery involving the entire town.

Sam does have some special abilities (only found in video games) such as the “mind palace”. This is where he pieces together clues and solves mysteries. There are no superpowers or mythological creatures though. The mind palace is full of sci-fi visual motifs: triangular shapes, fragmented bits of reality, blurry vision, distorted voices etc.

Me, Myself and I

Sam is accompanied by a man named “The Double“. He’s probably a figment of Sam’s imagination. Sam is the only person who can see or interact with him. They look and sound like identical twins. The Double acts s a devil’s advocate. He pops up at crucial moments to offer up alternative courses of action.

The two games unmistakably share a lot of similarities. Both have troubled main characters and choose-your-own-adventure elements. Like Life Is Strange, Twin Mirror opens with an indie folk track (“You Keep Coming Alive,” by Sean Rowe). In those first moments you find yourself on an empty road lined with nostalgic autumn leaves.

How does it differ?

But there are a few ways in which Twin Mirror differs. With Twin Mirror, the game is clearly focussed on realism. This game is visually stunning, rather than the cartoonishness of Life Is Strange. Twin Mirror’s environmental design looks like a real photograph of rural America.

A key difference is tone. Because it’s billed as a psychological thriller, the team at Dontnod wanted to ensure that Twin Mirror felt tense. Originally, the plan was to release Twin Mirror as a series of episodes, much like Life is Strange.

All change in 2018

However, around 2018, the game underwent major reworking based on playtesting. This included restructuring it into a single, non-episodic game.

“Trying to split it into pieces, sometimes it was breaking down the rhythm,”

says Dontnod’s head of publishing Xavier Spinat

The process involved some massive rewrites of the story to make it flow. The logic of some choices also underwent restructuring.

On the decision to include the super natural element Game Director Florian Desforges says:

“You want people to be able to understand the mystery,”

“Yes, there are some supernatural elements in how we display Sam’s unique mind, but the story itself, the logic of what’s happening, the motivation of the characters, all of this is rooted in reality.”

Twin Mirror comes out later this year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Kotaku


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