12 minutes: Xbox exclusive details the process of its time loops

Announced in 2019 and shown several times thereafter, Annapurna Interactive’s interactive thriller was careful not to announce a release date. 12 Minutes, a game whose cast of actors and its mysterious atmosphere raise expectations, was able to enjoy a new gameplay video and a question-and-answer session with Luis Antonio, Creative Director of the game. attend and glean new information around Xbox exclusivity.

Narrate a thriller through interaction

From the start of the project, the nature of the game was clear to its creator Luis Antonio: it would be an interactive thriller. In fact, Antonio says he focused primarily on gameplay. His thoughts immediately led him to imagine the apartment and the characters. It was only then that he thought about the story that corresponded well to the adventure. Since the gameplay was the first concern, the director says the storyline has no particular inspiration other than the good storytelling of the films.

If the cast is composed of actors of choice with Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe and James McAvoy, there is something to be surprised since neither the actors, nor the presence of voices, were initially planned. While the dialogues had to be satisfied with written lines, the rapprochement with Annapurna Interactive, which has an audiovisual production studio, was an opportunity to give a voice to the few characters of the thriller.

Alone with your decisions

For the sake of accessibility, the Creative Director ruled out the 3D configuration to which we are now accustomed when he realized that non-gamers found it difficult to move the character. This decision allows you to have a good view of the situation, regardless of the complexity of the gameplay. The choice of this view from above also implies that we do not see the faces at any time, which from a technical point of view, allowed the creator not to have to animate them and the actors to find a new window. ‘interpretation in which they had to get to “hear the smile” and all the other emotions.

As for the game experience, not having faces to associate names with leaves us alone with the decisions we have to make to escape the time loop. In this immersive thriller, we have no indication of time or of any kind on our progress. While at the death of the protagonist he is the only one to remember the events, he tries to alert his wife to the situation with the new elements he has at his disposal after each loop, these offer new options for answers in the dialogues.

To illustrate this development, we see a part of the scenario which involves an altercation with a police officer who arrives in the middle of the evening. As soon as he enters, he is immediately violent with the wife of the protagonist, several choices are then available to us: defend oneself, flee or remain silent in the face of the situation. After choosing inaction, the protagonist is seen shooting him and his wife, which starts the loop again. Warned of the future irruption of the ill-intentioned agent, he decides, when he hears a knock on the door, to grab a knife and lock himself in the toilet ready to take his attacker by surprise. To make it possible to perform all these actions easily with the mouse as with the joystick, a mechanism of “combinations” of objects exists: associating a cup with the sink to wash it. Each of our decisions affects the characters around, so it’s up to us to explore each possibility on the possibility tree to work our way out of the loop.

12 endless minutes

As with the storytelling, the name of the game didn’t come until after, once Luis Antonio realized it took around 12 minutes to complete the loop. This one is interminable in the sense that it repeats itself until you have found the key to it, but also because the game has no end, strictly speaking. According to Antonio, it is not unique nor is it “a game over”.

If we do not have a better idea of ​​the release date of 12 Minutes, Luis Antonio nevertheless assures that the title has entered the phase of “quality assurance” and that it will arrive within a few months.

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