Game: Façade

Façade is an interactive storytelling game. In Façade, your friends (a married couple) invite you to their new apartment. Everything starts up nice, but as the game progresses, discussions arise and you have the power to help them save or break their marriage.

What you can do while playing Façade is walk, grab stuff, perform a limited amount of actions on certain objects and the most important action of all: talk. You can write anything and the game will react (most of the time) accordingly.

The great thing about Façade is that you can try different approaches each time you play it and you will surely get a different experience, even the conversation tree can go in a different direction from play to play.

The AI will advance the story depending on what the developers refer to 'moment-by-moment' interactions, which makes the flow of the conversation to look natural.

I played Façade several times. In one time, I was able to discover the root of their problems and had a happy ending. Another time, I tried to flirt with one of them, which caused a lot of awkward situations. One time I was being so annoying that they kicked me out of their apartment. As you can see, there are many different possibilites for each time you play.

This game is an interesting experiment in which you can explore social interactions, but more importantly, is a good example of game AI being used to create compelling characters and interesting game flow.

What I liked about the game:
  • Lots of conversation branches and the ability to say anything increases the replay value of the game.
  • The characters react surprisingly well to most of the things you can say. The reactions even change depending on where you are standing in the room.
  • The game's an interesting example of AI being used for character and story development.

What I didn't like about the game:
  • Because of the nature of the game, you will be inevitably tempted to 'game the game' by throwing the most awkward phrases you can think of, and the characters won't react to many of them, which dissipates the illusion of intelligent characters.
  • Sometimes, characters will walk through walls and furniture, destroying the otherwise well crafted suspension of disbelief.

Visit Façade's main site or download the game here.
ProceduralArts (2005). Façade []

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