Q. Iíve never even heard of this game. What are you even talking about?
A. This is exactly the problem!
Q. Fine, what is D4?
A. D4: Dark Dreams Donít Die is an episodic mystery adventure game exclusive to the Xbox One. It was published by Microsoft and developed by Access Games. The gameís creator is Swery, the man behind the cult-hit Deadly Premonition. The game is a digital download and costs $15.
Q. What constitutes ďselling like shitĒ?
A. According to the leaderboards, as of this very moment less than 10,000 people have bought and played this game worldwide.
Q. Whoa, that is bad. So why is the game selling so badly?
A. It was basically sent to die. It was unceremoniously dumped on the Xbox Oneís store without a release date announced in advance. D4 has received essentially no marketing whatsoever. This leads me to believe that the publisher, Microsoft, lost faith in the product and told the team to halt production and just release whatever was finished. Sadly, this game will live or die on word-of-mouth alone. The gameís director, Swery, has stated that his team is not actively working on further episodes at this time and that the sales of Season One will determine if they are allowed to continue the story. Naturally, this episodic story ends on a cliffhanger.
Q. But is the game any good?
A. Yes. Unless you have a low tolerance for weird games from Japan. But itís the good kind of weird, not the tentacle/loli/moe kind of weird. It might even be the best exclusive on Xbox One. And unlike Deadly Premonition, the good parts of the game aren't trapped behind tedious and tacked-on combat or driving.
Q. What is the game like? What do you do in it?
A. The gameplay is most analogous to something like a Telltale game or a David Cage game. You wonít be shooting dudes, youíll be spend most of your time talking to characters and exploring the environment. The tone, however, is completely unique. Much like Deadly Premonition, itís a game set in America, through the lens of a team located in Japan. The world and its inhabitants are quirky and interesting. Itís got a good mix of heartfelt character moments and avant-garde action. You play as David Young, a former Boston detective who can't get over the tragic death of his wife. The traumatic events surrounding her death left Young unable to recall those memories, but has given him the ability to travel through time. You'll spend the game exploring David's apartment and diving into the past in a desperate effort to change events that have already occurred. Oh, and the music is pretty cool.
Q. Does the game use the Kinect?
A. Yes, you can play the game with nothing but the Kinect. You can talk to witnesses using voice commands and push owls with your hand. The most creative use of the camera is the elaborate stunt sequences thatíll have you scrambling to mimic actions. Imagine if you had to act out the Resident Evil 4 Krauser fight in order to beat it.
Q. That sounds horrible; I hate using the Kinect. Can I just use a controller?
A. Thankfully yes! The standard controls work great!
Q. Is it really worth $15, though?
A. Yes. The game consists of a prologue and two episodes and should take you around five hours to beat, assuming you arenít skipping all the conversations and side content. Iíve already spent more than double that amount of time trying to find every secret and collectable, not to mention unlocking all 78 achievements. A small amount of content can only be completed on subsequent playthroughs and there are numerous unlockables, such as alternate costumes for the main characters. The game will be getting free DLC costumes each week that tie into other video games for a little while too.
Q. But why buy the game when itíll probably be free on Games with Gold in a few months?
A. Because then weíll never get any more D4. Well never get an ending. But most importantly, the game is worth your money. We should be encouraging Japanese developers to continue to make quirky console games, especially Swery.
Q. But why even play the game when I can watch a playthrough online?
A. You really are the worst.
Q. Iím still just not sold on this.
A. Then look at this Giant Bomb Quick Look. This spoils a portion of the Prologue and the start of Episode One.
Oh, and Swery is awesome. Follow this man on Twitter, you wonít regret it. Heíll probably follow you, too.
Q. I just bought and played D4, and I liked it. Is there really any more I can do?
A. Tell someone about it. Use the official #XboxD4 hashtag on Twitter. Recommend the game to a friend. Discuss the game in GAFís official thread. It has a pretty meager post count compared to most other releases this year.
Look, Iím trying to be realistic. We can tweet at Phil Spencer and other Microsoft employees and tell them how much we want them to fund more episodes all we want, but the bottom line is they care about the game's sales. No doubt it has to reach some unknown minimum threshold for them to even consider giving Access Games any more money. Iím grateful that Microsoft paid Swery to make and release D4 Season One. But itís not enough, Swery and Access Games have made a good product and deserve to finish their story.
As you can tell, I feel strongly about this. So much so that Iím going to make buying D4 even easier for a lucky few. The first twenty members (that donít already own D4) who post their gamertags here will be PMíed an Xbox Live code for $10 to be used towards D4: Dark Dreams Donít Die. Donít spend this on Minecraft skins or Destiny content. If I donít see D4 on your profile after a couple of days, Iím calling you out. Seriously, donít be that asshole who take's advantage of my kindness.
Buy this game already!
I love you all!