In Beholder, by Warm Lamp Games, players take on the role of a landlord in a totalitarian state, supervising an apartment building and spying on its residents. The player’s job is to eavesdrop, peep in on tenants and report anyone suspected of being a subversive agent. The player is also able, like the border inspector in Papers, Please, to sympathize with those they are surveilling and disobey these orders.
Nikita Ordynskiy, who directed Papers, Please, and Liliya Tkach, the film’s producer, said they approached Beholder the same way they did their earlier project. “We want ... to be extremely careful with the original material, adding as little as we can,” Ordynskiy said in a statement.
The pair opted for a minimalist style. Beholder is being shot in black and white, and there is no dialogue in the story. “We think that this kind of storytelling will be the best for the dark and oppressive atmosphere of the game,” Ordynskiy said.
Beholder, the game for PC and mobile devices, was published in November 2016 by Alawar, a Russia-based publisher. The game won awards in late 2016 and 2017, including Best In Play at GDC Play 2017. A sequel, Beholder 2, is expected later this year; it’s currently in a beta.
Beholder, the film, will premiere later this year, Tkach and Ordinskiy said. Yevgeny Stychkin, the well known Russian actor, will star.