He shrugs. I ask one simple question, but in that moment, it is all I want to know. It might as well be my life’s purpose to find an answer. And in response, London-based developer George Batchelor shrugs.
It’s not surprising, really. His game Far From Noise is the same sort of enigmatic yet wholly engrossing experience. In it, you play a 20-year-old woman looking over a rather peaceful and bucolic cliffside sunset. A flock of birds slowly sweeps across the horizon while little fireflies flit about in the fading light. One crucial detail, though: you are trapped in a car teetering over the edge of said cliff.
Not unreasonably, you are freaking out, which is coming out through a sequence of dialogue choices. Initially, it’s a smattering of varying and easy perspectives. Is all hope lost or is there more to do? Do you enjoy what you have left or do you resign yourself to a gravity-flavored doom? It rests mightily on the charming and easygoing writing characterizing this poor woman and her dire situation.
That is until the deer comes. I don’t mean just any deer; I mean the deer. He’s a calm and inquisitive creature, and whether real or a figment of a panicked and addled mind, is a soothing conversationalist. As the dialogue shifts from the woman to the woman and the deer, the themes become much more existential.
And as the pair become further acquainted with one another, the responses become strangely nuanced. It’s less stark “I’M GOING TO DIE” versus “Everything Is Fine” and begins to posit bigger questions such as your own life’s purpose and your relationship with the things and people around you. It’s as philosophically bracing as it is visually and aurally tranquil.
As surreal as the scene is, it’s also incredibly intimate. The entire game is the interactions and revelations of these two characters, almost as if you took My Dinner with Andre and put it on the precipice of a looming death. There’s a lot of mystery left after this demo in finding out where else this game goes, but I do know I want to be there it arrives.
Far From Noise is currently Greenlit on Steam for PC, macOS, and Linux.