American Arcadia

At Summer Game Fest 2022, American Arcadia got a new trailer. With limited information so far, it’s hard to know exactly what this game will play like, but the overall concept sounds interesting.

Setting up the new trailer, Geoff Keighley introduced the game with this blurb: “Where you play Trevor, whose life is being televised with the viewing population constantly voting you up or down. When you become unpopular, you need to start running for your life.”

That is where I draw similarities to both The Truman Show and the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive.” The Truman Show, in case you don’t remember, was a 1998 film starring Jim Carrey, in which Carrey portrayed Truman Burbank, whose life was televised to the world. “Nosedive” explored a similar concept, but it added an element where popularity would affect the protagonist’s life. So Keighley’s blurb was enough to pique my interest in this game.

Here’s the trailer, so you can check it out for yourself.

It’s difficult to glean basic elements from the trailer alone. For example, do you play as Trevor, or do you play as a rogue camera tech operator who’s helping Trevor? From the limited information I’ve been able to dig up, it seems like both are true at various points in the game.

We can gather a bit more information from a previous announcement trailer.

Well, that information doesn’t come from the trailer itself, but the description on YouTube:

Call of the Sea developers have announced American Arcadia, an upcoming 2.5D platformer and first-person puzzle game set in a sinister 1970s television utopia. Presented as a documentary, American Arcadia lifts the curtain on what goes on behind the scenes of a TV show that’s broadcast 24/7. The game will put players in the shoes of two characters, each with their own unique playstyle. Take on exciting chases in its 2.5D action side-scroller and platformer sections, and solve puzzles from a 3D first-person perspective.

And there’s more:

American Arcadia will feature the voices of Yuri Lowenthal, Krizia Bajos, and Cissy Jones. The full reveal trailer will appear at the Summer Game Fest 2022, and the game will participate in the TRIBECA Game Festival this year.

So apparently there are two playable characters with different playstyles — one is 2.5D and the other is from a first-person perspective. And there’s a little more expository information about the 24/7 TV show as a setting.

And here’s even more information, which comes directly the official American Arcadia website:

Welcome to Arcadia! A 70’s retro-futuristic metropolis where all its citizens enjoy a life of luxury and comfort… unaware that they’re being broadcast live 24/7! Arcadia is not an ordinary city, but the most watched reality show on the planet — where a drop in popularity ratings comes at the highest cost: death.

All of this paints a rather interesting portrait of how American Arcadia might play.

American Arcadia

Of course, I’m still left wondering about some of the details, like how the “Nosedive”-esque popularity mechanics factor into the gameplay, or what the playstyle is like beyond the puzzle-platformer elements. Even so, this trailer caught my eye.

We don’t yet have a release date for American Arcadia, but we know it will be coming to Steam. A blog post on the official website also mentions consoles, though it’s not specific about which ones.

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