The Filmmaker Preview
by Eric Arevalo, game reviewer and beta tester
An indie developer with a mission
The power of rare games to stand out and impress
As a former PC games managing editor, reviewer, and now a beta tester, I have come across so many different types of games that I have played over the years. Many are ones that easily disappoint me in several areas, but there are a few rare games that stand out from the rest with awesome gameplay and story that have me playing from one night until the very early morning hours of the next day when the sun rises. Currently in beta testing, The Filmmaker, by small indie developer Unimatrix Productions, is one such example of an upcoming adventure game that has the power to impress you with its gameplay and story and one you should definitely buy when it releases in a few short weeks. A demo should also be available around that time as well so you can judge for yourself.
Unimatrix Productions -
Before discussing the many merits of The Filmmaker, a brief history on the developer and their previous games is in order. Unimatrix Productions is a small indie company founded in 2003 that includes owner, writer, and game designer Christopher Brendel as well as co-
The new trend of interactive fiction games and the importance of a great story
Lifestream, Shady Brook, and the upcoming The Filmmaker have several things in common. One, they are interactive fiction games, which I consider to be a blending of the best of adventure text games with modern adventure game elements. Two, a very engaging story is an integral aspect of these games and is a major reason that this new trend of games is becoming so popular. In these interactive fiction games by Unimatrix, telling a great and engaging story really matters and is not an afterthought as you see in many other games where story is not given any priority. If a game's story does not capture my attention from the beginning, nothing else matters to me, as I believe a great story is what will make or break a game. When I first previewed Lifestream earlier this year, I was very optimistic at the potential of these games and their promise to impress and standout from others in the market. Now with the upcoming release of The Filmmaker, the third game from Unimatrix, I can definitely say that the promise of these games has been fulfilled and are definitely most welcome alongside the very best adventure games because of the engaging stories, nice art, and impressive sound and music that combine to produce very memorable gaming experiences. But what makes The Filmmaker such an impressive game, you may wonder. Read on to see why you should definitely give it an opportunity to earn your gaming dollars this holiday season!
The Filmmaker -
An engaging story and well-
The Filmmaker is an exciting adventure that is divided into three different acts and occurs over the course of one long night. It tells the very engaging story of Brianna, the main character that you will play as and who is also a huge lover of B-
But then the theater was suddenly closed, as the entire staff was murdered under very mysterious circumstances. The game begins six months after the closing of the theater, and Brianna is sent an invitation to its grand reopening, as well as being able to meet Claude Ferucil, the director of her favorite B-
I was very surprised when I completed this adventure, as I did not expect for it to connect with me on so many levels. I connect with the character of Brianna, because I also love B-
Finally, I connected with an engaging story that had my attention from the very first moment that Briana arrives at the theater as she attempts to put all the pieces of what happened at the theater together, as well as her hope to reconnect with her family. Reconnecting with family, as well as moving on from the death of a loved one are central themes in this game that I am most familiar with in my own life, which is why it was so easy to connect with the character of Brianna so well. Another great story element is that Brianna keeps a journal and updates it when there are important events that occur. I have always loved the use of journals in games that help you to understand and connect with the main character better and what they are feeling as you play through the game, and I wish that many more games used a journal. I don't come across very many adventure games that connect with me on so many personal levels and in so many different ways that you can never forget when a special game like The Filmmaker comes along and surprises you with just how much it has to offer!
Gameplay that impresses with a very well-
Just like in previous games from developer Unimatrix, a very well-
There is no need to worry about these sections, as a very helpful tutorial is included that explains the use and importance of each of them. I was also impressed by the style of the interface, which was designed to look very much like a movie theater, which you can easily see by viewing the screenshots of this game. I have often been disappointed by the lack of a good interface in some of the games that I have played, which lessened my enjoyment of playing them; but fortunately that is not the case here.
Some very clever and creative puzzles are also included in this game, which add very much to the fun factor as did the story and other elements. Some of the best type of puzzles that I love to see in adventure games are those that involve the use of the environment as well as the items in your inventory to figure out. In one clever puzzle, you need to open a cash register through the clues that you are given, and you must explore the environment around you to figure out. Its like I was playing Brianna as a detective, and it was very fun to be able to follow the clues that I was given and then smile as I figured out the puzzle through careful exploration of the environment. Other puzzles require the use of your inventory items to figure out, such as one in which you must figure out how to open a toilet that has been sealed with glue. But its not as easy as you think, as its a multi-
I also love these types of puzzles in which you must figure out several steps to complete because it makes it worthwhile when you finally solve them. But its not as frustrating as you might think if you can figure out what to do by following the clues that you are given. There is also a very helpful hint system that you can choose to use on many puzzles if you get stuck, so the game is tailored for many different types of players. Another creative puzzle is one in which you must visit a fortune teller machine and figure out the correct middle-
Faithfully recreating the spirit of five different film genres through unique art, music and sound
Beyond a great memorable story, creative and challenging puzzles, and a well-
From the main title screen, to cutscenes that tell the story, to the beautiful portrait of the main character Brianna, and finally to the many locations that you visit in the game, art is used very well to tell the story of a mysterious and haunted theater and what happened to its staff. It really is impressive how nice the art looks, considering the limited budget of the game, but in the right hands a game’s greatness is not determined by its budget but by the creativeness and determination of the team that designed it. In regards to the main character portrait, I must mention how I really enjoyed seeing how it changed based on Brianna's mood, when she was sad and reflective, angry or when she was in a good mood. One of the best parts of the game that highlights the unique use of art, sound, and music to enrich the story involves Brianna and how she is able to actually go into each of five different B-
The first time I went into a B-
Another movie has you play a character in a film-
Yet another movie that you will play in is titled The Count, which is an homage of the classic black and white 1931 Universal horror film Dracula that starred the famous Bela Lugosi. In this homage of the famous Universal monster movie, you visit a Gothic castle with its sinister dark figure. Your mission here is to figure out the puzzles that will allow you entry into the mysterious crypt of Count Grimbald and find a way to ultimately defeat him. As I played through each movie genre, I could definitely tell that Unimatrix had done an enormous amount of research to be able to recreate the spirit of each film genre faithfully and created each one with the care and attention that they deserve. Each movie had its own unique elements that separated it from the others due in part to the different genres that each movie is from.
As a lover of all of these different film genres I appreciated seeing all of the different details that were included to make each film stand out, from the layout of the starship in Aliens from Mars to the creation of the Gothic castle in The Count, and many other special details seen in the other movies. Just these three film genres highlighted here: sci-
This was only but three examples of how well-
An adventure game that stands out from the rest and deserving of your gaming dollars
This holiday season, there are so many games that will be released and sold, and often it is not easy to determine which ones you should buy and devote your time to. One that is definitely deserving of your gaming dollars and is a clear choice is The Filmmaker by Unimatrix Productions. With Lifestream, Shady Brook, and now The Filmmaker, I have seen each game improve upon the last as the developer utilizes and improves the Storycentric Worlds engine that powers these games. It gives me much hope as to the future of these types of interactive fiction games when the Storycentric Worlds engine can produce a game like The Filmmaker as well as the previous two. I am a huge supporter of indie companies and the games that they develop, especially those that stand out from the others and deserve my time and attention. Unimatrix Productions is one indie company that you can definitely trust in utilizing their Storycentric Worlds engine to produce games with memorable characters, engaging stories, great art, and awesome gameplay and puzzles. Designer Christoper Brendel and writer Elle Smith, core members of the Unimatrix Productions team, are to be applauded for the great work that they have done on The Filmmaker. The faithful recreation of many of the different types of film genres featured in this game is definitely worth the price of admission by itself!
After having played and completed The Filmmaker, it has earned a spot at the top of my very short list of the very best games that I have played in 2016! You won't regret giving The Filmmaker an opportunity, especially if you are a gamer that enjoys games that connect with you on so many different levels, features very faithful recreations of popular film genres, and offers tons of value for the price! Look for The Filmmaker to be released in the upcoming weeks!
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