Event is a game about a stranded astronaut talking to an artificial intelligence to help them get back to earth. Like Firewatch before it, much of this solitary adventure is centered around conversing with your colleague. Unlike Firewatch, your colleague is a computer recalling 2001's HAL. Also unlike Firewatch, you get to manually type in the questions you'd like to ask. There's no prescribed dialogue trees here, folks.
"As a player, your only companion is an insecure AI entity named Kaizen with whom you interact by typing messages on computer terminals throughout the ship," developer Ocelot Society said of Event. "The game's multi-layered story emerges organically as players communicate with Kaizen, freely explore 3D environments, gather information and solve hacking puzzles."
"Kaizen can procedurally generate over two million lines of dialog and the AI entity has a strong personality influenced by human input," the developer added. "Players communicate by typing messages into a computer, and Kaizen responds. As in any relationship, there can be gratitude, disappointment or jealousy, and Kaizen reacts differently depending on its mood. By working through the fears and anxieties of your virtual companion you can ultimately find your way back to Earth - while unraveling the cryptic history of the ship and the 1980s society from which it emerged."
If it sounds like an old text adventure, you're not far off. World of Goo and Subterfuge developer Ron Carmel is a big fan of Event and likened it to these early adventures. "Event takes me back to the kind of magic I felt playing Zork as a kid," Carmel said. "There are moments where I can suspend disbelief and feel like I'm actually having a conversation with an advanced AI, probing its inner workings with words."
Event is being funded by France's CNC public arts organisation along with the Indie Fund, a collective of game developers that includes Ron Carmel, Jonathan Blow, Rami Ismail, Kellee Santiago and more. The Indie Fund previously backed such games as Her Story, Armello, Monoco, Dear Esther, and That Dragon, Cancer.
The AI game of wits began as a grad student project in 2013, but after six months the Parisian developers formed Ocelot Society to flesh Event out into a fully-fledged commercial game. It's already won several awards such as the Innovation award at BIG 2015 and it was the Student Award winner at EIGD 2014.