Gods Will Be Watching Hands-on Preview: When You Fail, People Die

Each day of PAX saw a different available scenario for players to try, with Sunday’s focusing on Burden and another character, Jack, having been captured by enemy forces after breaking into a laboratory. In a grungy room, the two men were tied to chairs and interrogated with torture.

The torture scenario is an intricate puzzle in its own right. On its face, the objective is simple: survive being tortured. To do that, players have to make careful choices — each blow Burden or Jack takes injures them a little more, and eventually they can’t take any more punishment and die. How you respond to each question determines who gets hurt.

Players can lie to the torturers to hide information from them, or they can choose to confess, and each will buy them a little more time. They can also choose to “provoke” the torturers, which will incur a blow to whichever character did the provoking, and to “beg,” which can buy a little more time between attacks. Choosing to “think,” which equates to refusing to answer, gets both characters hurt. Do enough thinking, however, and you can more effectively lie by raising the percentage chance that the torturers will believe you.

However, if the torturers get enough information out of their victims, they’ll decide they no longer need Burden and Jack and execute them. It’s a tightrope of carefully considered answers, compromises, silences, and risks.

Each day, the blond-haired torturer and his burly, mask-wearing assistant descend enter the room to ask Burden and Jack questions, and the punishments grow more severe over time. Burden and Jack can resist more punches than they can extracted teeth, for example. A heated metal bar applied to the groin kills even quicker. And all players have to go on is the contextual information delivered Burden and Jack’s breathing, bleeding, battered bodies.

It’s an intense experience. The trick to the puzzle is to carefully gauge how much punishment you can take, and give information at the right moments. Between Jack and Burden, it’s possible to balance the pain between the two men to keep both alive until the torturers eventually give up and go home at the end of each day.

The torture carries a powerful level of intensity. There’s nothing to do but bear it, and though the scenario has its puzzle elements, as each choice you make has to be a calculated one, it still is emotionally draining. In one particularly tough moment, the torturers brought out a seven-chamber revolver with one bullet. Each refused answer or taunt meant one less chance that the next fall of the hammer wouldn’t land on an empty chamber. It was impossible not to cringe each time the blond man put the gun to Burden’s head and pulled the trigger.

There’s another caveat to the scenario, as well. Another agent, Liam, sneaks into the base after the second day and informs the captives that a plan is underway to extract them — but it’ll take 20 days of preparation. It’s a huge amount of time to ask the men to hold out, but Liam pledges to bring help each night, in the form of either painkillers, which allow greater pain tolerance per injury, medicine that allows the captives to recover from their injuries between each day, or information to tell more effective lies. You can only choose one option per day, however, and your choice won’t arrive until after the next torture session.

In between each session, we get more and more information about Burden and Jack, who are, in fact, double agents. They’ve infiltrated a terrorist group that call themselves Xenolifers, and are actually working to take it down from within. Liam is the group’s leader, and is yet unaware of Burden and Jack’s true agenda.

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