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Here’s 25 minutes of gameplay in The Good Life

Spy on the citizens of a small town, who turn into adorable pets at night

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The Good Life, the next project by Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro, is back on and currenty in the middle of a second crowdfunding drive on Kickstarter. Swery demoed the game at PAX East last week, and here is a 25-minute let’s play video that showcases the game’s unusual concept.

In The Good Life, players will taken on the role of a young photographer, Naomi, who discovers that the townsfolk turn into cats and dogs at night.

The playthrough shows Naomi’s interactions with townsfolk and her compassion for their problems. The first mission involves Naomi in a sidequest helping a woman who is married to an alcoholic minister, to give you a sense of the game’s interactions.

Taking pictures of people can create both positive and negative reactions, Swery explains, so you can probably guess what Naomi spying on someone’s drinking habit will do for that guy’s self esteem. Still, it’ll benefit his worried spouse. NPCs will chage their behavior when in and out of Naomi’s presence, and that makes getting the photographic goods on them a bit of a challenge. Getting out of range and using a zoom lens will also reveal private behavior, such as two secret lovers smooching in a park.

Don’t let the stylized graphics or the trivial interpersonal difficulties deceive you. There’s a lot of swearing in the subtitled dialogue (it will be voiced in the full completed version) and it gets really dark toward the end of the demo. “Because this is a game that I’m making, someone absolutely has to die,” Swery says.

The Good Life was first pitched on Fig, the equity crowdfunding platform, but it didn’t meet its goal. Right now, it’s about 11 days into a $633,000 Kickstarter (68 million yen, to be exact) and a little short of halfway there. The deadline for its funding is 8 pm. On Friday, May 4.

The Good Life will be a fully open-world game, with a day-night cycle,for Windows PC (via Steam) and PlayStation 4, targeting a launch in the third quarter of 2019 — so, quite a ways off. Swery characterizes it as a “debt-repayment daily life RPG.” Naomi is a former photojournalist from New York who moves to the English countryside for a lower cost of living as she takes care of her financial obligations. The culture shock of using her big city talents in a small town is supposed to resonate through the game’s story.

The next level of puzzles.

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