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Willem Dafoe and Daisy Ridley star in Annapurna’s time loop thriller Twelve Minutes

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James McAvoy voices the player character, who’s stuck in the loop

A new Gamescom 2020 trailer for Twelve Minutes, the Groundhog Day-esque adventure game from indie developer Luis Antonio, introduces its cast of Hollywood stars.

The trailer is narrated by four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (Aquaman, The Lighthouse), who has previously appeared in a number of video games, including Beyond: Two Souls. Twelve Minutes will also feature James McAvoy of the most recent X-Men franchise and Daisy Ridley of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

Dafoe’s character starts the trailer by asking the listener to imagine a flower, and then asks them to repeat three phrases silently: “May you be free from suffering, may you be free from fear, may you know peace and joy.” The footage over which this narration plays offers a glimpse into the fraught world of Twelve Minutes, which tells the story of a man who’s stuck reliving what may be the worst dozen minutes of his life — he and his wife are at home, preparing for a romantic evening, when a police detective bursts into their apartment and assaults them.

The three characters remain unnamed throughout Twelve Minutes; they are known only as “the man” (McAvoy), “the woman” (Ridley), and “the intruder” (Dafoe). The man is the player character — the one stuck in the time loop.

“Working with this incredibly talented cast to bring Twelve Minutes to life has been amazing,” said Antonio, creator and game director, in an Xbox Wire article. “Twelve Minutes blends the genres of film and games within an interactive thriller, and these extraordinary actors are perfect for bringing the nuanced and complex characters into the world.”

It’s the first time we’ve seen Twelve Minutes since it showed up at Microsoft’s E3 2019 press briefing. By the way, if you’re wondering about the familiar-looking geometric carpet in the new trailer, Antonio confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that it’s meant to be an Easter egg for fans of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (and nothing more — it’s not like the game takes place in that universe or anything).

Twelve Minutes, which is being published by Annapurna Interactive, is scheduled to be released in 2020 on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Antonio, a veteran of AAA development at Rockstar and Ubisoft, began developing Twelve Minutes years ago while he was working as an artist on The Witness. I tried an early build of the game ages ago, and called it “the most interesting game I played at PAX East 2015.”

Update: We’ve updated the article with additional details from Entertainment Weekly and the Xbox Wire.