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Independent studio Terrible Posture Games has launched an animated playable sitcom experience titled 3 Out of 10, which satirizes the game industry and humorously explores a fictional development studio making a runner game called Surfing With Sharks. Episodes will appear weekly exclusively on the Epic Games Store.
The game features an ensemble cast, all with their own quirky personalities — one guy is always trying to get work done and constantly being bothered by his colleagues — while the setting mirrors a real studio with free soda in the fridge, game-themed cereal in the kitchen and an abundance of toys and gadgets populating every corner. (The title refers to game developers who have never scored higher than 3 out of 10.)
Users play as several different characters, among them game animator Midge Potter, who doesn’t know what she’s in for when she shows up for a job interview at Shovelworks Studios. Each half-hour episode includes cut scenes and gameplay, with a finale-type experience at the end and the ability to rewind and fast forward, just like a TV show.
“There’s very little actual development of the game that happens in these episodes, kind of similar to The Office — there’s very little office work that they’re doing,” Joe Mirabello, creative director of Terrible Posture Games, tells The Hollywood Reporter after offering a demo experience. “The episodes are about other things. But there’s a shared experience that people can commiserate with.”
Along the way there are homages to classic Game Boy games for people who are fans of game history and culture, and optional mini games to play, including stealth games, action, puzzle, Twitch-based, dungeon, spooky themed and more. “No genre is safe,” laughs Mirabello.
3 out of 10 also has more narrative development and story than the studio’s previous games, Tower of Guns and Mothergunship, he goes on to explain. “We were excited about building something different, and we were really excited about the idea of this being episodic. We had never seen a game delivered like this before.” Mirabello clarifies that episodic games do exist, but often they include lengthy breaks between installments. “When we brought this concept to Epic, and showed them what we were working on and how we wanted to build it, they were just like, ‘this is a really wild experiment we’re in.'”
Mirabello calls the game “a love letter to the game industry,” noting to THR later that satirizing the industry really hasn’t been done all that much. “Every other industry out there gets mocked left and right — there are whole movies that dive into this, either playfully or seriously, and people are intrigued and want to see that. We haven’t really seen anything similar in the game industry.”
He goes on to say that the video game industry tends to be secretive and close, so the creative team were conscious of approaching the content in an appropriate way. “There’s always very controversial topics going on at any one time, and it can be very easy to accidentally make light of real pain somewhere, and I wanted to make sure that I was respectful of anybody going through struggles. While we’re not afraid of hard topics, I would also make sure that we were writing with care, and focusing on what we’re good at with our mission, which is keeping satirical, keeping absurdist, putting a mirror in front of the industry that’s like, ‘look how silly we are, we’re pretty ridiculous.’ Because we are.”
Season one of 3 Out of 10 drops into the Epic Games Store on Aug. 6, with new episodes, all free, landing every Thursday through Sept. 3.
View the announcement trailer below.
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