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

All of this story information expands on the dimensions of the torture scene and what Burden and Jack are willing to endure. By lying, they protect the Xenolifers, and the two men seem torn about how they feel about Liam and his crew. Telling the truth can buy the two men time but would expose their “friends.” Meanwhile, Liam is actively trying to save them both, and helping them to survive, even as Burden and Jack are aware that they’re working against him.

If Burden dies, the scenario ends, but it’s possible to lose Jack through the course of the torture and continue on. He died in my playthrough early on, when I underestimated the effectiveness of the torture and didn’t realize Liam’s medicine was still a day away. Afterward, Burden continued to talk to an imaginary version of Jack, adding even more psychological drama to the moment.

All these character elements manage to engender an emotional attachment to Gods Will Be Watching’s characters, making the scenarios much more intense. Losing Jack was a failure on my part and a weight that was tough to bear through the rest of the torture.

But as de Paco mentioned, Gods Will Be Watching is a game about failure.

“Every time you fail, you learn something new,” he said.

As a video game, in a mechanical sense, Gods Will Be Watching teaches you through failure how to better solve its puzzles. As a story, it teaches about people through failure. The intensity of its situations can be tough to handle, but that allows the questions it asks to be much more poignant. Is it okay to shoot the dog? How many other lives is one life worth?

Lots of games try to put questions of survival, sacrifice and heroism to players, but it seems Gods Will Be Watching will be at its best when you don’t get the answers right the first time.

Gods Will Be Watching is set to hit PC in June 2014, and can be pre-purchased on the game’s official website and Steam. You can also play the original Ludum Dare entry here.

Phil Hornshaw is senior editor at GameFront. Read more of his work here, and follow him and GameFront on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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