“You don’t really understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world.” ―John Rogers
Would you ever become a serial killer? Wait, put down the phone and hear me out. What if evil creatures had infiltrated your city and your family was in danger? Could you lead a double life with your family while doing what needed to be done to save everyone? Such is the dilemma in Truman: The Face Eraser.
Billed as a psychological adventure game, Truman: The Face Eraser puts players in the role of Truman. He’s an ordinary man, with ordinary marriage problems, living in a seemingly ordinary town. One day, a mysterious deity appears to Truman and informs him that the rising crime and corruption plaguing his city are no mere coincidence. Evil creatures have in fact disguised themselves as regular people. Only Truman is able to see them for what they really are.
Hero or Villain?
At first glance the premise feels like a thinly veiled attempt to force the player into horrible situations for shock value. Perhaps it is and I’m giving Truman too much credit, but after checking out the Indiegogo campaign I feel like it’s actually got more depth to it.
Truman’s motivation sounds completely insane, but from his perspective it’s the only logical option. You might not be able to empathize with him, but you can understand how he justifies his horrible actions. Sane or not, he believes committing murder is the only way to save his family. It’s a bit unsettling that I consider this an oddly compelling character trait.
Regardless, Truman lives in the normal(ish) world and can’t just go on a murderous rampage without drawing attention to himself. He must plan his executions out carefully, hiding evidence, and avoiding suspicion. Not all murders are created equal and some will be quick and dirty, bordering on reckless. When and how far you’re willing to go are some of the decisions you must make.
In order for Truman to function at his best, the player must keep careful watch over a number of interconnected status bars. Truman’s Suspicion Bar will increase as the police close in on him. The Humanity Bar determines the long-term impact of Truman’s killing spree on his sanity. These stats must be balanced with the Love and Ego Bars, which determine Truman’s mood and connection to his wife and daughter. Any imbalance can cause Truman to become careless and endanger his mission.
Truman: The Face Eraser is currently seeking a flexible $25,000 goal over on Indiegogo. The developers are planning to release the final product for PC, Mac, and Linux in Fall 2017.