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Release Date Announced for Blackwood Crossing

Choo choo! The story-driven first-person adventure game Blackwood Crossing will pulling into a platform near you on April 4 (PS4) and April 5 (Xbox One and PC). It’ll be the debut title for Brighton-based studio PaperSeven, which is made up of former Disney Black Rock Studio devs and Oliver Reid-Smith, of The Room fame. And yes, it’s set on a train.

Blackwood Crossing is a coming-of-age story themed around the joy and innocence of childhood, sibling companionship and coming to terms with loss. Here’s the official pitch:

“You play as Scarlett, a teenager finding her way in the world. You wake up, disorientated, to find yourself and your younger brother, Finn, inexplicably travelling on a moving train. But when a mysterious figure appears, it’s clear that this is no ordinary train ride. It’s the beginning of a magical voyage, steeped in life, love and loss.”

From what I can gather from the reveal trailer and developer walkthrough video, a 14-year-old Scarlett is being led around the garden path (almost literally) by her demanding, enigmatic and increasingly odd younger brother Finn. They’re two orphans, brought up by their grandparents, growing apart as Scarlett enters adolescence and discovers boys, fashion and whatever else it is that teenage girls get up to. Well, if she’s anything like my niece, that probably involves playing a lot of Call of Duty online and pwning noobs.

The two somehow end up on a magical train, seemingly of Finn’s conjuring, that starts off bright and sunny but quickly heads to a darker place populated by people wearing weird playschool-material masks and a creepy Donnie Darko rabbit dude. With its occult and paranormal overtones and an angsty kid constantly metamorphosing reality, I’m definitely sensing something of a Silent Hill vibe.

I must say I’m curious and PaperSeven appear to have painted a vivid and gorgeous-looking fantasy world, though not much has been given away about the actual gameplay. I’m guessing a combination of exploration, dialogue choices and light puzzles, which also serve to shed light on the backstory and the evolving relationship between the siblings. I’m not sure how I feel about the QTEs employed to simulate interaction during long conversation sequences, generally I’m not a fan of them. Anyway, check out the videos below to judge for yourselves.

Blackwood Crossing will be priced at £12.99 / $15.99 / €15.99.

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For nearly 30 years I’ve been enthralled by the magic and escapism of video games. From the highly-pixelated 2D graphics and simple but addictive gaming concepts of the 8-bit era to the sophisticated multiplayer 3D worlds of the modern gaming system, I’ve always loved gaming. These days I’m a massive fan of indie games, but I still find time to play classic Amiga and PC games via emulation and read about video game history.