Where Birds Go to Sleep is a narrative adventure game set in a fictional Near East-inspired land, brought to life in a painterly artstyle, with voice-acted dialogue and original score.
Slip into the subonscious of Cormo, a churlish smuggler-turned-explorer, only ever influencing his actions, never directly assuming control. You will mould him through every sentence you put in his mind… but you might not like what he becomes.
Confront him about controversial topics like sexuality, prejudice and morality, and change his mind… or have him change yours.
An island has appeared in the distant sea...
To find a cure for your sister’s sickness, you sneak your way into a dangerous expedition to explore that island, reserved only for the worst prisoners. There, you will get to know a handful of very special, deeply developed and fully realised characters. Become their friend, get to know their secrets, manipulate or abuse them to your, or Cormo’s will.
One of the first characters you will meet is Dunlin – a noble-born, young man who is steadfast in his moral and religious principles. But what must a purebred like him be guilty of to end up here with you?
Reflect on your actions along with the protagonist; exchange your thoughts on what happened; regret or rejoice, grieve or laugh together… or independently of each other.
The difference between saying “you tried your best” and “you’re horrible” is empathy.
The smallest minutiae of your choices are remembered by the experimental Insight System, which analyses your personality and offers you interesting viewpoints and alternative outlooks on the things you’ve said and done, recontextualizing your experience both in and out of the game.
There is no “Mission Failed”; saying “No” opens new avenues. There is no golden path.
Lie to others, and you’ll be more likely to hide the truth from yourself. Fail to justify your actions and you might find your character not heeding your commands.
Every single small choice you make builds up, and shifts the direction of the story. While there are crucial moments and big decisions to be made, they happen within the context of the numerous smaller decisions, even those as trivial as the way you greet someone, that – true to life – ultimately decide who we are.
Sprawling, naturally flowing dialogue: react in intense back-and-forth conversations. Every dialogue is ready for the choices you make, and can potentially branch off into a completely different conversation with game-changing significance.
You’re NOT fully in control. You are the whisper in the back of the mind. Manipulate your crew-mates and your protagonist into doing your bidding… and deal with the mental toll with this innovative dialogue dynamic.
Explore the mysterious island, unravel its secrets and lies. Shrouded in noxious, mind-altering mist, you must prepare for every journey inland, anticipating the challenges ahead.
The provisions are scarce… but the others need them less than you.
This is a shortened version of one of our articles, you can read the full, unshortened version here.
There is something very curious and special happening when we interpret a story. For the remainder of this article, please accept that “story” is much more than a summary of events, it is the rhythm of life as humans see it – a beginning and an end.
We have an innate understanding of story from early childhood, which we acquire from observing life. Despite sounding very lofty and philosophical, this is a very grounded and pragmatic view.
The story in video games is not in audio logs, cutscenes, phone-calls or never-ending text dumps of exhaustive codexes. It happens in the player's head, where he interprets and abstracts, along with his moment-to-moment decisions and emotions.
It is also not only the “plot”, it is also the tempo, the rhythm, the speed, the emotions as well as the gameplay. So many video games have their video and game parts undermining each other at every opportunity: a character might have an emotional breakdown after killing a person in a cutscene, even though the player has killed dozens already in their current play session - the game asks us to kindly ignore the game part, which is the only part separating the game from a movie, and to focus on the video part, while the “story” takes place.
The video part of a video game can have an excellent story with great dialogues, graphics and camerawork. The gameplay might make the player enraged, stressed, exhausted, horrified or satisfied. But unless these elements work in tandem, conjoined in the player's brain, video games cannot tell a story unique to its medium.
We wouldn't call a video which would consist of scrolling text a good movie to watch, no matter how good a story the text would tell.
We wouldn't call a book filled with musical notes a good book to read, even though the music it describes might sound heavenly when played.
The story in the video part of a game might be great, the game's gameplay might be fantastic, but that's simply a good video and a good game – not a good video game.
In Where Birds Go To Sleep, you inhabit the unconscious mind of Cormo, a churlish sailor-turned-smuggler. To find a cure for your sister’s sickness...
Choices are super important to us. In this post I'll detail some of the ways we make sure they matter.