Since the release of Remember Me in 2013, it’s felt like developer Dontnod has been working to define its identity. With Twin Mirror, a narrative-focused adventure game centering on an investigative journalist, Dontnod is closer than ever to solidifying its style, marrying the inventive mechanics of its games like Remember Me and Vampyr with the storytelling focus of Life Is Strange to make something that plays to all the developer’s strengths.
We recently got a look at the first few hours of Twin Mirror, which sets up the story of Sam Higgs, a journalist returning to his West Virginia hometown of Basswood after two years away. Twin Mirror takes a lot from the episodic Life is Strange games, which are mostly about communication, developing characters, and making choices in dialogue and actions that can influence a branching narrative. Dontnod has had a lot of success telling deep, character-driven stories with those games, and Twin Mirror is a clear outgrowth of that success.
In the opening of Twin Mirror, Sam returns to Basswood for the funeral of his best friend, Nick. With a jaunt to an old lookout point, the game quickly puts Sam’s return and the baggage he’s brought with him into context. Sam had proposed to his girlfriend Anna before leaving, which didn’t go well, and in the intervening years, he’d had a falling out with Nick. Naturally, Sam can’t wait to bail on this formerly closed chapter of his life. Reminiscing about Nick, Anna, and Basswood triggers one of the major mechanics in Twin Mirror: the Mind Palace. It’s the physical representation of Sam’s mind and imagination the story occasionally brings you into, where Sam can wander around visiting memories, talk to himself, and generally take a break from a world he struggles to deal with.