EGX Round-Up

Fea­tur­ing a sub­stance called ‘sub­stance’

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - Philippa Warr

Wak­ing up in the ru­ins of a mu­seum ded­i­cated to Stone­henge, my char­ac­ter moves around the rem­nants of a launch cel­e­bra­tion. The cel­e­bra­tion was ap­par­ently to mark the Clean Water Ini­tia­tive from Brad­well Electronics, and I dis­cover it’s the sum­mer sol­stice of 2026—a sig­nif­i­cant point to be at Stone­henge. More press­ing than deal­ing with the ‘con­spir­acy’ el­e­ment of the ti­tle, though, is get­ting my char­ac­ter out of the creak­ing and groan­ing build­ing. I’m equipped with a pair of AR smart glasses. These al­low me to tran­si­tion to a Fire­watch- ish setup where I’m in­ter­act­ing with an un­seen com­pan­ion via a de­vice.

A fel­low sur­vivor, Am­ber, can talk with me, but the blast has dam­aged my voice, so I can only in­ter­act with her by us­ing the glasses to take and send pho­tos. A lit­tle way in, I switch my vis­i­tor smart glasses for em­ployee glasses.

I was ex­pect­ing that switcheroo to just change my per­mis­sions or se­cu­rity clear­ance. In­stead it gave me ac­cess to a nifty tool which picks up the blue­prints of ob­jects and then uses a sub­stance called, uh, ‘sub­stance’ to 3D print an ob­ject us­ing that blue­print. The first use I made of it was to print a key for a lock, but later on I was print­ing and ro­tat­ing tiles and stat­ues of cats and dogs to solve puz­zles.

The com­bi­na­tion of 3D print­ing puz­zles and photo com­mu­ni­ca­tion is cu­ri­ous, and I want to see how it de­vel­ops. I’m also in­ter­ested to see how the photo side shapes up, es­pe­cially out­side the con­fines of the puz­zles. For ex­am­ple, I know I can take a picture of a room to let Am­ber know I’ve ar­rived there, but what if I send her tons pic­tures of a pen I found? There’s the po­ten­tial for a kind of im­age-based repar­tee, al­though it might be a com­pli­cated thing to im­ple­ment.

leisurely Pace

There’s enough in the game to make me cu­ri­ous, but it’s very much a work-in­progress and things like flow and pac­ing are a bit wonky. For ex­am­ple, the build­ing shakes and creaks to in­di­cate it’s fall­ing down, but I ended up read­ing about all the ex­hibits as I am­bled to­wards the ex­its, so I’m hop­ing the devs find a way to bake in a sense of ur­gency early on.

At first glance, TheBrad­well Con­spir­acy re­minded me of TheS­tan­ley Para­ble with its func­tional aes­thetic. Both take place in spa­ces de­signed to be flex­i­ble—mu­se­ums, of­fices and util­ity ar­eas. They’re lim­i­nal and also weird when de­void of peo­ple. Hope­fully TheBrad­well Con­spir­acy can harness this spa­tial un­cer­tainty in ser­vice of its mys­tery.

I ended up read­ing all the ex­hibits as I am­bled to­wards the ex­its

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