Criminal night

Who remembers the famous librogames of the eighties? The desire for an interactive narrative takes us back a lot with the years, with the first experiments born for mainly educational rather than playful, while the world of video games has taken its first steps using laserdisc technology.


This category includes titles such as Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, but they exploited the nature of animation films to their advantage, or the old Night Trap for SEGA CD. In this case, however, the limit imposed by the average downsized the ambition of the products,


so much so that over the years it was preferred to invest in three-dimensional graphics. By definition, purely practical, today we consider an interactive film a product that makes great use of the screenplay and an abundant use of cutscene. The newborn CtrlMovie has however decided to abruptly recover the old school of thought, adapting it to the present thanks to modern technologies.


Late Shift is the result of this decision, a real film shot with actors in the flesh, qualitatively comparable to a medium-budget television series, where the player establishes the evolution of the story by making the decisions in the various proposed crossroads, or the only opportunity in which he has the opportunity to actually interact with the product.

Late Shift could be the beginning of a new era for interactive films


Criminal night
Criminal night

The first aspect to hit Late Shift and the affinity with the media that inspires it. In video games we are now accustomed to more or less heavy approximations on the narrative compartment and the staging, by virtue of the whole part played, but the title CtrlMovie does not compromise in this sense: it is a film, also made quite well, with credible actors and an intricate script, the initial impression is to have started Netflix by mistake, and whether to look for a remote control rather than the controller.


The long and suggestive introduction shows an overview of a convulsive and active London, while the off-screen voice of the protagonist tells us that life is made of decisions that can change an entire existence, tracing a clear parallel with the videogame media, and it is already in the course of these initial thoughts that we have the possibility to make some small, apparently innocuous decisions, before the arrival of the title screen.


A detail that immediately jumps to the eye is that the scene never stops, the player has a limited time, punctuated by a timer, to choose an answer that will influence the narrative hub. At the end of the time, if a decision is not made, the game itself will do it, further modifying the plot.


This system contributes therefore to the fluidity of the film, interrupted only by small delays during the change of scene after a junction. As said, this is the only occasion in which the player has the opportunity to interact with the product, there is no


The protagonist is a student who works part time as a night parking attendant, his life is characterized by a mechanical and tedious routine, but during one night his life will change completely following a truly incredible series of events. Everything comes from the theft of a car …


The numbers of Late Shift are very respectable, the director has prepared a sufficient amount of material for a whole television season: more than four hours of footage as a database for the evolution of the story, which however unfolded over a maximum duration of ninety minutes,


and 180 different choices. This involves a great variety of situations, including locations, as the scenarios can vary according to the evolution of the story, all leading to seven different endings. Basically it is possible to end the story in less than forty minutes, just after the first part, structurally more linear just to lay the foundations of the story.