“Shooting them will only teach them to use a gun.”
September 22, 2017 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Echo Is A Terrifying Game Where You Teach Enemies How To Kill You by Riley MacLeod [Kotaku] “The Palace is populated by beings En calls Echoes. They are copies of her who form from some black muck in the beginning of the game. As En moves through the Palace, picking up keys or orbs to unlock doors, the Echoes start learning. The Palace moves on a light-dark cycle; when it’s light, anything En does is recorded by the station. Vault over a low wall, for instance, and you’ll leave a brief, blurry ghost behind you that means the Palace has logged your actions. After you’ve performed a few actions, the Palace goes dark, and then reboots. On this round, the Echoes can do anything you did during the last light cycle until another reboot wipes the slate. Between the light and the reboot is a brief period of darkness.” [YouTube][Gameplay Trailer]

• Attack of the clones. by Justin Clark [Gamespot]
“Therein lies Echo's biggest, most captivating twist: the labyrinth itself monitors En--her every movement, her every action--recording the data, and feeding it back to the Echoes. When the power reboots, the Echoes will have learned new skills directly from your actions. Use your gun to kill the Echoes, and the next reboot, all of them are suddenly trigger-happy crack shots. Sneak up behind an Echo to take them out with stealth, the next reboot, they will skulk around silently, looking for the perfect opportunity to sneak up and choke En to death. By default, the clones are afraid of water, but if they see you get in, the next reboot, that fear is gone. Echo is an intricate game of cat and mouse where the mouse keeps sharpening the cat's claws. Fortunately for you, Echo intelligence has limits. Every system blackout wipes the progress of the previous reboot, so it's possible, with patience, for the Echoes to unlearn skills if they weren't used during the previous period of full power. Prior to a full blackout, there's a short period where the lights go out, and the labyrinth is processing the new data, i.e. not recording. These are the moments where En can act with impunity, using all the tools at her disposal to permanently put down an Echo, and traverse the environment freely without any of her movements coming back to sabotage her later.”
• Echo is a mind-boggling sci-fi game which pits you against yourself by Martin Robinson [Eurogamer]
“... it's a third-person action game in which you explore an eerie palace as you try and revive someone you've recently lost. There's a twist, though - as you're working your way around the palace, it's observing your every move, and once it's learned enough it'll briefly shut down and populate itself with Echoes, copies of yourself for you to go up against. Confusing? Just a little, so I had Ultra Ultra's Martin Emborg explain it a little to me. "They mimic the way you behave," he says, "so you're up against your own play style. If you diverge from that play style, then the Echoes will reboot for a new version of you - and then when that happens, the lights go out." When those lights go out you're free to do as you wish, briefly away from the prying eyes of the palace in a gameplay loop that I admit I haven't fully got my head around yet, but one I'm very much looking forward to discovering myself. It throws up some fascinating possibilities - go all guns blazing and you're going to have your handful of an aggressive enemy next time the palace reboots, while going stealthy will present a problem of a very different kind the next time the lights go out. "There's an ebb and flow of abilities that they learn and unlearn throughout the game," says Emborg. "How long each loop is is dependent on you - the blackouts only happen when you do enough new that the palace deems it needs a new version of you."”
posted by Fizz (52 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am not any sort of gamer at all -- I'm too old to twitch -- and my complete Steam library consists of Portal, TIS-100, Kerbal and Witness. But this sounds like something I'd be inclined to add if it comes up on sale!
posted by spacewrench at 12:02 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


I wonder how the game prevents just standing as still as possible during light periods and only attempting to progress in darkness as being the easy-mode strategy.
posted by bastionofsanity at 12:10 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


Ooh, this sounds neat.
And under 25 bucks on Steam.
And I'm taking a few days off next week...
posted by phunniemee at 12:12 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


My strategy in these games is to crouch in a corner and cry, so I guess there'll be lots of Crouching Criers to avoid in this one.
posted by notyou at 12:14 PM on September 22 [22 favorites]


It only mimics what my in game avatar does, right? I won't get a shadow that mimics my behaviour at the computer while playing?
posted by nubs at 12:18 PM on September 22 [12 favorites]


I wonder how the game prevents just standing as still as possible during light periods and only attempting to progress in darkness as being the easy-mode strategy.

Gamespot is currently streaming Echo on Twitch.tv, if you're wanting to see some gameplay in action.
posted by Fizz at 12:18 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I wonder how the game prevents just standing as still as possible during light periods and only attempting to progress in darkness as being the easy-mode strategy.

That's described in one of the pullquotes: "the blackouts only happen when you do enough new that the palace deems it needs a new version of you." So standing still is stalemate.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:20 PM on September 22 [14 favorites]


What a fascinating idea. Looks too stressful for me, but aesthetically beautiful and sure to be a hit with streamers (so I still get to watch anyway!)
posted by Monster_Zero at 12:25 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


If they mimic my actions, I hope they like creeping around really slowly because they didn't realize they were crouching the entire time.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:25 PM on September 22 [40 favorites]


I think my strategy would be to engage in incompetent gameplay for a while (ie, my usual) and then hope for an amazing run against the incompentent shadows.
posted by nubs at 12:50 PM on September 22 [4 favorites]


It only mimics what my in game avatar does, right? I won't get a shadow that mimics my behaviour at the computer while playing?

Not during the first playthrough.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:11 PM on September 22 [7 favorites]




I do think this looks cool, if a little bit end-of-"Sandkings."
posted by praemunire at 1:21 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


So can I as one of my actions, negotiate with the shadows to make a mutually beneficial arrangement? And after each dark period they up their negotiating game, so I have to come up with ever more mutualist diplomacy. I figure by the time the tenth darkness rolls through, we'll have gone full Democratic Socialist. Can we do that?
posted by happyroach at 1:30 PM on September 22 [23 favorites]


Wow, that looks rad. I'll try to catch some streams of that.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:04 PM on September 22


It only mimics what my in game avatar does, right? I won't get a shadow that mimics my behaviour at the computer while playing?

God knows I don't want to fight off an army of pants-wetters
posted by beerperson at 2:10 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


Metafilter:
posted by ominous_paws at 2:22 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


God knows I don't want to fight off an army of pants-wetters

This could be an avenue for massive hilarity if you could force the echoes to replicate some kinds of stupid glitch or terrible ragdoll physics.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:29 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


So this is pretty much freedom fighter terrorist training 101, gamified?

Had to happen eventually I suppose.
posted by flabdablet at 2:30 PM on September 22


Ahh, good 'ole SCP-1633!
posted by genpfault at 2:44 PM on September 22 [12 favorites]


So how do you succeed in the game? Is there a real win condition?
posted by boo_radley at 2:49 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


It only m𝖎𝖒ics what my in game ava𝓽𝓪𝓻 𝓭oes, right? I won't get a ѕнα∂σω that m𝖎𝖒ics my 𝕓𝕖havi𝕠𝕦𝕣 at the ɹǝʇndɯoɔ while playing?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:52 PM on September 22 [8 favorites]


it only mimics what my in game avatar does right i wont get a shadow that mimics my
𝕓𝕖havi𝕠𝕣
at the computer while playing
posted by DeviIsAdvocate at 3:00 PM on September 22 [12 favorites]


it only mimics what my in game avatar does right i wont get a shadow that mimics my behaviour at the computer while playing
posted by Devi|sAdvocate at 3:03 PM on September 22 [11 favorites]


It, only mimi;mics what my in, game av
atar, does right i WonT ge
t a 𝖘𝖍𝖆𝖉𝖔𝖜 that mimi;mics my behavior/behaviour/beeha
vor/beahaefer at the icebocks while ea
ting my 𝕡𝕝𝕦𝕞𝕤?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:09 PM on September 22 [17 favorites]


It's a good year for robotic-esque women and cube companions in video games.
posted by Fizz at 3:23 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I've got it--the very last thing that I do on each level or iteration or cycle or whatever you call them is to drop my pants around my ankles. In-game, I mean.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:28 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


This game looks cool. I've been watching this Let's Play. It's Windows-only, so I'm out of luck, but only $23 on Steam.
posted by Emily's Fist at 3:36 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


FFS Fizz, how am I ever going to catch up on my backlog of games if you keep making these great game posts?!
posted by homunculus at 3:52 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


It’s mirror neurons all the way down.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 4:28 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I think my strategy is going to be hiding in a corner and smacking myself in the face repeatedly. I'll see where that gets me.
posted by vverse23 at 4:28 PM on September 22


Wow, that Let's Play really does look great.
posted by praemunire at 4:33 PM on September 22


Wow. I don't know if I've ever encountered something fictitious that seems to capture what it is to have myalgic encephalomyelitis like that game concept does. The combination of every action having a self-defeating payback consequence and affecting an energy meter...that's my entire life.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:35 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


Use your gun to kill the Echoes, and the next reboot, all of them are suddenly trigger-happy crack shots.

I don't understand how they can become crack shots. I thought they were suppose to be copying me.
posted by ckape at 5:12 PM on September 22 [7 favorites]


Oh man, this looks great. When’s the PS4 version coming?
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:19 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


In the trailer she says the place seems familiar. Did they already spoil the ending that she's really an Echo herself? (Haven't played this game. Just snarking.)

Who the heck is that voice actress? I know I've heard her somewhere but I can't find a cast list anywhere.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:57 PM on September 22


This invokes in my mind the sentinels from XMen DOFP, which I thought were really well done in the movie and whose relentless, adaptive murdering stuck with me unlike most of the rest of the film.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:05 PM on September 22


Who the heck is that voice actress? I know I've heard her somewhere but I can't find a cast list anywhere.

Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones, The Good Fight) provides the voice of En and Nick Boulton (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Mass Effect series) as the voice of London.
posted by Fizz at 6:34 PM on September 22


my name is En
and wen its nite
i creep arounde
until its lite
some oyley things
my thots have red
i cant escaype
they likt my hed
posted by gusandrews at 7:09 PM on September 22 [27 favorites]


Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones, The Good Fight) provides the voice of En

Thanks for the info. Somehow I've managed to not see a single thing she's been in, including GOT. Guess I was wrong about thinking I'd heard her before.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:42 PM on September 22


"if you stare into the Echo, the Echo stares into you shoots you in the head and teabags your corpse. Because of you! The Echo learned it from watching you!"

-Brought to you by the National Partnership for Not Shooting Echos in the Head and Teabagging their Corpses.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:28 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


Teabagging

I have some news for you about the protagonist...
posted by praemunire at 11:59 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


some news for you about the protagonist

clamshelling then?
posted by Laotic at 12:14 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


> > "if you stare into the Echo, the Echo stares into you shoots you in the head and teabags your corpse. Because of you! The Echo learned it from watching you!"

> > -Brought to you by the National Partnership for Not Shooting Echos in the Head and Teabagging their Corpses.

> Teabagging

> I have some news for you about the protagonist...

> some news for you about the protagonist

clamshelling then?

Now I appreciate what a blighted hellscape it would be to be pursued by copies of myself that mimic my behavior.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:06 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I played the first 40 minutes and it very much messes with your mind. You're upset at yourself for doing things that come back to bite you in the ass.

I'm sure many of you are thinking, “What kind of lunatic enjoys playing this kind of game or doing this to themselves?”

*Fizz deep in thought contemplating paying Dark Souls later this afternoon*
posted by Fizz at 6:54 AM on September 23


What happens if you completely ignore all the designed-in achievement goals and just focus on choreographic design for the echoes? Could this be a game that lets a man get his Busby Berkeley on?
posted by flabdablet at 7:11 AM on September 23 [11 favorites]


Ok, now I have to buy it just to see if I can recreate A Chorus Line.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:52 AM on September 23 [5 favorites]


Seems like you could A/B strategy them or Rock/Paper/Scissors them. Play Rock, next time they play Rock you play Paper, next time they play Paper you play Scissors, next time they play Scissors you play Rock. And hope they're not smart enough to figure it out.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:27 AM on September 23 [4 favorites]


But the levels are not set up such that you have unconstrained choice of tactics. For instance, from what I saw in the Let's Play I watched, the first level where you encounter water, they can't cross it, and won't be able to do so until you show them it's possible. But you yourself don't really have the option of not crossing it. Possibly an extremely skillful player might be able to trigger the blackout at just the time to allow them to cross unobserved, but that looks pretty hard.
posted by praemunire at 11:41 AM on September 23


That sound super interesting! Too bad there's no mac version. Does anyone know if one is planned?
posted by cameleon at 2:29 AM on September 24


That sound super interesting! Too bad there's no mac version. Does anyone know if one is planned?

luckily, I was already planning on reserving space for a boot camp partition when I rebuild for high sierra. because this looks good.
posted by russm at 7:44 AM on September 24


OK, so, having played a bit and watched most of the game. It's a really interesting case of a developer making a game with limited resources by turning the necessarily repetitive setting and character design into a feature, not a bug. Pretty genius. Definitely getting over-hyped though.

Both the atmosphere of the palace and the core mechanic are scary and striking, but they didn't flesh out the gameplay enough. It relies too heavily on tedious "touch all the checkpoint" type missions. Variations on the mechanic only turn up in a limited way towards the very end. Same with the plot. It relies on truly excellent voice acting, which gives the game world the impression of real history and depth. However the outcome is pretty unsatisfying. I think the dialogue could have used rewrites to give it a little more forward thrust.

Comparing it to another game with repetitive environments built around a core mechanic that relies entirely on voiceovers for plot... Portal succeeds where fails by innovating off the core mechanic, once introduced, so it never gets stale. SOMA or the Stanley Parable would also be good models for the devs on how to create a satisfying story using their constraints.

It's an okay game and definitely a strong debut. I think it's getting so much attention because the concept is so compelling and there's a real appetite for smart AI. But the depth isn't really there. Hope the success earns the developers more resources to explore it further. Definitely excited to see what they do next.
posted by Emily's Fist at 5:28 PM on September 29


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