The X-Files Game
|The X-Files Game|
|Genre(s)||Interactive movie, point-and-click adventure|
The X-Files Game is an interactive movie point-and-click adventure video game developed by HyperBole Studios and first published by Fox Interactive. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and PlayStation in 1998, and is based on the television series The X-Files. A second, but unrelated game, The X-Files: Resist or Serve, was released for PlayStation 2 in 2004.
The game takes place somewhere within the timeline of the third season of The X-Files series. The story follows a young Seattle-based FBI agent named Craig Willmore (played by Jordan Lee Williams) who is assigned by Assistant Director Walter Skinner to investigate the disappearance of agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who were last seen in the Everett, Washington area. Agent Willmore must use his state-of-the-art spy tools: night vision goggles, a digital camera, PDA (an Apple Newton), lock picks, evidence kit, a standard issue handgun, a pair of handcuffs, and a badge to follow their trail. Along the way, he is partnered with a Seattle Police Department detective named Mary Astadourian (played by Paige Witte) and a minor subplot involves a relationship developing between the two.
Several of the actors from the TV series reprise their roles in the game, including David Duchovny (Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Scully), Mitch Pileggi (Skinner), Steven Williams (X), Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund (The Lone Gunmen) and—very briefly and depending upon the outcome of the game—William B. Davis (The Smoking Man). The game is set and was filmed in Seattle. The TV series actors filmed their relatively brief appearances in the game just before entering production on the feature film. The game's plotline involves aliens taking over the bodies of humans and contains many references to the show's extraterrestrial mythology. During the course of the game the "present day" date of April 1996 is displayed alongside certain locations, placing this "episode" after the season three episode "Avatar" and before "Wetwired" , which take place March 7 and April 27 respectively. This time is also after the first incident with the alien black oil in the episode "Piper Maru" of the third season.
The game uses a point-and-click interface, uses full motion video technology called Virtual Cinema, and includes a large number of cut scenes. Included in the gameplay are numerous occasions in which the player can alter other character's attitudes and reactions depending upon responses and actions (or inactions). Dubbed "UberVariables", certain decisions made by the player can set them along one of three tracks: Paranoia (Willmore will start seeing things like twitching corpses and shadowy figures), Loss (messages from his ex-wife are kinder), and "The X-Track" (more details are revealed about mytharc-related conspiracies). The player can also affect Willmore's relationship with Astadourian positively and negatively based upon how he responds to her suggestions and ideas.
The game's developer, HyperBole Studios, had initially rejected the project when Fox approached them. They later became interested when they started to watch the show for themselves. The title's design document was over 1000 pages, while the shooting script was 748+ pages, written using FileMaker Pro due to the number of options available to the player. In total, around 6 hours of footage was filmed for the game. The video portions of the game were filmed between seasons of The X-Files and just before the feature film. Some footage in the game, such as the hotel rooms and excerpts from Keystone Cops, is the same as seen in the episode Syzygy. Anderson and Duchovny were very busy, thus requiring the disappearance of Mulder and Scully and the introduction of the Willmore character. A former U.S. naval base, at Sand Point, was used as the setting for the NSA facility at the end of the game, and the boat used as the Tarakan is a training ocean-going tug, which had previously been used in a drug smuggling plot. The 'melted blast effects' on the Tarakan were made using water-soluble paint, which caused havoc when it began to rain during filming. "Tarakan" is Russian for cockroach.
Reviews of the game were mixed, with many critics complaining about the large number of discs required to load the game (seven for the PC version, four on the PlayStation). PSM said that it "reminds us why the concept of interactive movies was discarded long ago". For the follow-up game, The X-Files: Resist or Serve, a more conventional video game playing style was employed, similar to the Resident Evil games.
The response from the mainstream and non-computer game press was quite positive, while many hard-core computer publications took the design to task for not allowing the player to control Mulder or Scully or for allowing "more gameplay".
The game sold around one million copies.
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