When video game companies show up at the Penny Arcade Expo, they generally bring their hottest wares. Regardless of whether it's a hot new release or an upcoming game everybody is excited about, it's foolish to leave home without something to show the 70,000 show goers. But that's exactly what Chromed did. Instead of showing off a playable demo, videos or even screen shots, Chromed decided to hire a bunch of actors.
From the large green screen to the exhibitors dressed as doctors and nurses, it's clear that this is not your typical PAX booth. March 32nd (or, as I like to call it, April 1st), is a dark point-and-click graphic adventure, but you may not get that from the display. This is a crime thriller that is riding a wave generated from the success of Telltale Games' line of graphic adventures. But don't expect jokes and cartoon mayhem, this is a deadly serious game noir. Forget Sam & Max, March 32nd is more in line with the 1997 PC game, Blade Runner.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, because very little is known about what March 32nd will look like or even when it will come out. Right now the developers are in the scripting phase, aiming for a Q3 - Q4 2011 release. All we know is that Chromed needs extras, and that's precisely the reason they travelled down the street to the Seattle Convention Center.
As crazy as it sounds, Chromed was giving PAX goers a chance to be in this episodic game franchise. I'm not talking about a passing reference, but an actual background player that may play a major role in the outcome of this adventure game. All you had to do was take directions, use a prop and give the developers something to work with.
I sent Defunct Games' very own Patrick O'Connor in front of the camera to make a splash. He was given a fake plastic gun and told to impersonate a cop. Two extras were brought in to rough up Policeman O'Connor. They pushed him to the ground and proceeded to beat the tar out of him. It was great. And best of all, there's video of the violence.
As a longtime Metal Gear Solid fanatic, I'm sure that Patrick was thrilled to relive a stealth takedown. Too bad he was the one being taken down. And even when he fights back, he makes the stupid decision to run straight into two armed criminals. When you're in these situations you should always ask yourself one very important question: What would Solid Snake do?
Unfortunately the fun of the green screen overshadowed the actual game. With no screenshots or video to show, we're forced to take their word for now. What they describe sounds like a lot of fun, but some mighty big names have attempted the episodic formula with disastrous results. If Chromed can fully realize their ambitious concept, then we're in for a real treat. With its multiple endings and creative story, March 32nd might have a fighting chance. And who knows, maybe it will feature Patrick O'Connor getting beat up by a couple of thugs. I would buy the game just to see Patrick get beaten up, now that's what I call a triple-A experience.