Sentenced is one of those games that hooks you the moment you hear its premise. You play as an executioner in medieval times, carrying out bloody beheadings at the whim of authoritarian Lords. But rather than simple shock factor or melee combat, Sentenced is focused on exploring a very specific theme: guilt.
Take a look at the first trailer below, which sets the tone for this narrative-driven title. Made by indie developer Samuel Gordon, Sentenced places you in the fictional European city of Ulrichshafen. In your role you’ll face several scenarios that will test your loyalty to authority and weigh in on your personal conscience.
“I’m a descendant of German-Jewish WW2 refugees,” Gordon explained in a prepared statement. “Listening to my Grandfather’s stories growing up drove me to try and understand how a social system can create conditions that enable atrocities such as those committed by the Nazis to take place. I believe that understanding the behaviour of individuals within hierarchical power structures is essential to ensure that such tragedies do not repeat themselves.”
The aim, then, is to bestow a heavy sense of guilt on player actions. Sentenced aims to do this with the help of VR, having you look victims in the eye seconds before you physically swing your sword. As for how much choice they have in the matter, Gordon says to expect something similar to the likes of Papers Please.
“In regards to player agency, the game is set up in a similar manner to ‘Papers Please’, where the assumption is you’ve been hired to do a job, and if you don’t do it you’ll be fired,” Gordon told UploadVR. “However, there are plenty of opportunities and different ways for the player to refuse to co-operate, and consequences for those actions.”
Overall it sounds hugely promising. Sentenced is due for release on PC VR headsets sometime next year. You can wishlist it now on Steam. We’ll be following it closely.