Last year, footage from a French indie developer for a “bodycam style game” (opens in new tab) caused a stir for its realistic graphics and incredible animation. Today, this game has a title, a Steam page, and a whole bunch of players who insist it’s so realistic it has to be fake.
The game is called Unrecord, and a new, even better-looking piece of footage has landed alongside its Steam page (opens in new tab). Dubbed “an immersive and narrative experience,” the game puts you in the shoes of a tactical cop working on the investigation of multiple criminal cases. Much of the gameplay in the trailer seems to focus on chasing down and shooting at fleeing suspects, although there are moments where you need to quickly select a dialogue option mid-action.
Whether any of this ends up being fun or engrossing remains to be seen, but the game’s hyper-realistic graphics have impressed just about everyone – to the extent that a significant number of players have labeled it fake.
“Many doubts have been raised about the authenticity of the gameplay,” the developers concede in a new Steam blog (opens in new tab). “The game was developed on Unreal Engine 5 and the game footage is captured by an executable and played with keyboard and mouse. It’s not a VR game. In reality, comparing Unrecord’s graphics to reality seems pretty flattering. but fortunately we know that a game focuses first on the gameplay and the universe, which is the main focus for us.”
Nothing in the footage looks light years beyond what we see in other graphically stunning modern games, but the realistic animation really puts it over the top and that seems to be the part that gets everyone tripping up. The game’s Steam forums continue to be riddled with threads of allegations that the footage is fake, to the point where programmer and co-director Alexandre Spindler posted a clip on Twitter using the development tools in Unreal Engine flies the opening area of the new video.
For those who thought Unrecord was fake or a video, sorry. 😌 pic.twitter.com/41ESKMISy1 April 20, 2023
Of course, the visuals aren’t the only potential bone of contention for a hyper-realistic game presented like bodycam footage of a cop. The developers have pre-empted this type of discussion as part of the blog linked above.
“As a French studio aimed at a global audience, the game is not involved in any foreign policy and is not inspired by real events,” say the developers. “The game will of course avoid any undesirable themes such as discrimination, racism, violence against women and minorities. The game will not have a biased or Manichaean view of crime and police violence. We also respect and understand people who may be disturbed by the game images. Art cannot fight against interpretation.”
The post goes on to talk about how “the public generally trusts film, series and novelists in the intelligence of point of view when it comes to detective, gangster or police stories,” and says the same is true for videos should games.
Of course, this also gives the public freedom to criticize bad portrayals of heavy subjects, and given that Unrecord’s website (opens in a new tab) describes the game as “a cross between Firewatch and Ready Or Not” – the latter The tactical shooter has become infamous for its plans to include a school shooter level (opens in new tab) – the developers are certainly wrestling with some very difficult issues.
The absolutely bizarre story of The Day Before shows the level of skepticism indie developers chasing AAA visuals face – justified or not.