The first thing we see in the trailer is a broadcasting test pattern from Wellington Wells Broadcasting Corporation. It resembles the Indian head test that was widely used up until the 1970’s. At the top of the tower there are two eye shapes, over lapping horizontally and vertically which makes me think of a surveillance state where everyone is being watched all the time. At the bottom of the screen is a profile of a woman, encircled with a crown on top. Knowing that the game is set in “an alternative 1960s England” I would believe that this is meant to be the young Queen Elizabeth II, or another royal figure that will be introduced in the game.
The image cuts to a morning broadcast of WWBC’s NEWS HOUR with Uncle Jack where he makes a brief statement on the weather and introduces the viewer to the village of Wellington Wells and it’s inhabitants. The picture then cuts to a street scene with characters wearing iconic 60’s era clothing walking in front of a shop called Oliver’s Office where what looks like liquor is sold. There are lots of flowering plants outside and the shot looks very upbeat and colorful. On the upper right hand of the screen is a sign for Wellington Underground which makes me wonder if there will be a subway system accessible during the game. Another thing I notice right away are the lights on the sidewalk, one side is blue while the other is pink.
Hopefully we’ll be able to interact with those British telephone booths. They stand out a bit and make me wonder how they feature in gameplay. There are rainy cobblestone streets throughout the village that almost look like they are lightly covered with moss or foliage. Are there vehicles? There aren’t any in the trailer. In the distance a haze covers the roads and the grey sky both give the game a very ominous feel despite the colorful, shiny and happy exterior of the town. There’s a fountain in what looks like a round-about with three figures, a man, woman and child, holding hands and revolving. Sitting and standing around it are three men who all seem to swallow a pill as Uncle Jack says “Everyone in Wellington Wells is doing exactly what he or she ought to. Smiling, laughing and taking their Joy. What about You?”
As the viewer, you are suddenly aware that Uncle Jack is watching you, and so are the people of Wellington Wells. One brandishes a type of pipe weapon. His back is hunched a bit in a threatening manner. Other people stop, notice and walk toward you in pursuit. Something is wrong and you try running into the closest shelter but the door is locked. You look back as they are getting closer, one of the villagers starts running and the panic sets in. In this instance you can see megaphones attached to buildings that are broadcasting the audio for Uncle Jacks news segment. The viewer crawls through an open window and slams it closed. The villagers are right on the other side and start banging on the glass, white smiling faces peering through. You’re hardly safe but turn around into a 60’s styled living room. The television is on WWBC and room is super trippy with geometric patterns and vibrant colors. The texture of the carpet and leather couch are noticeable if you pause the trailer.
Leaning against the couch is an Iron Duke paddle (in history the Iron Duke was a nickname for the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley). You pick up the paddle in order to protect yourself but just as you cross the threshold into the homes kitchen, a villager bashes you with a cooking pan. As you are being attacked you might notice there are items on the kitchen table. There are three syringes, six red and blue pills, a jar and a bottle. One of the syringes is placed in a coffee cup and there is also a tea cup on the other side of the table. Uncle Jack on the television is still talking “Now, some people have asked me what to do about the happy, excited throngs running through the streets. What we should do is, join the fun!”.
I liked seeing different shops through the trailer like Pawn Broker, Cutty and Son Pub, Toby’s Tobacconist, Cruft’s Pet Shop and Mrs Terry’s Cleaners. I really hope that they’ll be interactive to some degree. There were a few other signs too that I could make out. One for some type of broadcast with Uncle Jack “every night at 6” and another for “Play with Jack”.
I am so excited for this game and will be going back to Contrast for a play-through to find strengths and weaknesses in Compulsion Games development of it.