“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation … either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The Sacrifices is a series of 12 short, experimental narrative experiences to be released monthly following the positive reception of the first instalment, The Night Fisherman, which released at the end of June 2020. The Outcast Lovers was made available a month later and so far the stories have been loosely connected, emotionally charged and have clear political and social themes.
The Night Fisherman
Developer: Far Few Giants
Released: 29th June 2020
Amongst the alternate history of The Night Fisherman exists the English Protection Group, vigilantes who keep a watchful eye on the Smuggler’s Run, a renowned crossing for vessels bound from Calais containing illegal immigrants. The player takes on the role of the fisherman in the middle of the ocean, during an encounter with another boat and its shotgun-wielding passenger. The fisherman must direct the conversation and the camera angle in a bid to escape the situation safely.
The scene is set within a highly stylised seascape consisting of low-poly models and made up of bright colours, dark shadows, and high contrast visuals that are simple but effective. The environment is further brought to life by the sound of the waves and the subtle but atmospheric orchestral soundtrack that manages to build tension in an unobtrusive way. The elements work together to create a calm yet threatening ambience that perfectly matches the ocean setting.
For an experience that can be completed in under 10 minutes, The Night Fisherman certainly packs an emotional punch. The super-short length in no way diminishes the overall narrative, nor does it make the heavily racist and nationalist dialogue and off-screen violence any less uncomfortable.
The Outcast Lovers
Developer: Far Few Giants
Released: 31st July 2020
Following on from the first instalment of The Sacrifices, The Outcast Lovers sees the return of the English Protection Group as the player becomes Ola, a retired political cartoonist living an isolated life with her partner Mary. When they accidentally run into a lonely and mysterious child in their car the pair are faced with a tough decision.
While the colour palette is slightly more surreal than in The Night Fisherman, the general aesthetics are consistent with the first game, providing a coherence to mirror the narrative. The soundtrack varied greatly from that of the previous title, it had much more of a vibrant 90’s vibe it fit well in the scene and helped create a sense of immersion.
The recurrent themes of racism and persecution mean that The Outlast Lovers is another short but harrowing experience, conjuring emotional responses from the player, however, it did not elicit fear in the same intense way as the first game.
Overall, The Night Fisherman and The Outcast Lovers are both poignant, politically-charged experiences, surprisingly emotional for their playtime. They are artistically stylised and make great use of audio elements to help create an engaging storyline and immersive game world. The games’ low costs, both in terms of time and money, along with their quality make them easy to recommend and I am looking forward to the rest of The Sacrifices.