Contrast Game Tells Girl Power Story!
Contrast is a new video game by Compulsion Games boasting an awesome storyline that involves light and shadow, awesome heroines, and 1920s film noir!
We spoke with Compulsion Games developer Sam Abbott about the game, and why male and female gamers alike will be able to enjoy the awesome new mechanics and story it has to tell!
In Contrast, you play as Dawn, the imaginary friend of a little girl named Didi.
"You are her guardian angel and confidant, and you follow her around, doing her bidding," Abbott said.
Didi lives with her mother, Kat, who is a rising star in the local cabaret. Her father left the family a couple of years ago, and Didi gets left alone at home often. She resorts to playing with her imaginary friend, Dawn.
The game combines puzzle solving with platforming, or jumping on obstacles and platforms, to progress.
"It's about thinking your way through our game, in a way that's similar to the uber famous game Portal," Abbott said.
Contrast takes advantage of an innovative game mechanic by utilizing lights and shadows in a brand new way.
"We loved the idea of building a game around shadows," Abbott said. "So we took elements of vaudeville and film noir, both known for their use of shadows in performances and storytelling, and mashed them up to create a really unique world."
Basically, the imaginary Dawn happens to have the ability to transform into her own shadow.
In the game, you control Dawn as she runs around in a 3-dimensional world, but when she walks up to any lit wall, she can shift into her shadow.
"When you do, you become your shadow in 2D, and can run and jump on the other shadows in the game," Abbott added. "You swap in and out whenever you want – and you need to use this ability to solve puzzles to get through the game."
Part of the puzzle-solving also involves moving objects and lights in the 3D world to rearrange shadows to use as platforms in the 2D portion of the game.
The story focuses around a young girl and her imaginary friend because Compulsion Games studio head, Guillaume Provost, recently became a single father to his two young daughters.
"He wanted to explore the way they were feeling at the time, and so this is the rough inspiration for the story," Abbott explained.
Playing as Didi's imaginary friend, Dawn, allows gamers to see the world from a fresh perspective.
"We were inspired by Pan's Labyrinth – a film where a little girl invents an imaginary friend to help her deal with some really difficult issues," Abbott said.
When the creators of Contrast set out to create the game, they didn't have "girl power" in mind. It simply didn't cross their minds that it would be such a big deal for the main characters to be female.
"A number of game publishers told us that a video game with a heroine wouldn't sell, which we were a bit shocked at," Abbott said. "It wasn't really about selling copies for us – we just wanted to write about interesting characters. Frankly, we'd rather that we didn't have to explain why women can be heroes just as much as men can."
Abbott added that there is an emotional element to the game, because much of it involves running around with a little girl as her imaginary best friend.
"When we've spoken to people at conventions, we mention that part and get an "aww!" reaction from women, far more than men," Abbot said. " And that's really cool! If you like that kind of story, we think you'll like Contrast."
Though Compulsion Games didn't necessarily gear Contrast toward women and girls, they realized during focus testing that the female audience would love the game.
Abbott said that he hoped girls who haven't played many games in the past will be interested in the unique gameplay and awesome storyline of Contrast.
"If you're interested in games, but don't play a lot, this is a really great game to start on," Abbott said. " It's the kind of 'hmm, I need to figure this out' difficult, and not the kind of 'bah I've done this a million times and just can't make that jump' difficult. And, on the upside, it looks nice, too."
Contrast comes out today on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4! It will release in a couple of days on PlayStation 3!
Do you have a girl power story of your own to tell? Share it with us at Sweety High!