By Joe Osborne From games.com
Dexter Slice of Life, the Facebook game in development at Ecko|Code (most recently of Weeds Social Club fame), looks to shake up the oft-scoffed at branded social games scene and leave a few nicks here and there. Ecko|Code Executive VP of Product Development Marc Fernandez is confident that Dexter Slice of Life will set a new standard for branded games on Facebook.
"We're big fans of the brand," Fernandez says of the Ecko|Code team, which already created a Dexter game for iOS devices. "We've continued to develop it and we have high hopes for it. When I sort of worked out Dexter Slice of Life, I wanted to do something very, very ambitious."
And based on both the game's teaser trailer and what Fernandez shared with us recently, Dexter Slice of Life is up to some never-before-seen concepts in a social game. Sure, 3D graphics have been done before, but is that a shockingly accurate recreation (for a Facebook game) of Dexter star Michael C. Hall in that trailer? Why yes, yes it is. But Fernandez is even more excited about how directly involved the game will be with Season 6 of Dexter when it airs Oct. 2.
Ecko|Code is working directly with the writers of Dexter so that Slice of Life will remain relevant every week with new content based off the episode that previously aired. For instance, when the game launches on Oct. 3--the day after the season premiere--the first thing players will do as Dexter is explore a scenario that was hinted at in the first episode. And this will continue throughout the season, each week bringing a new subplot of sorts from the show into Slice of Life.
"That's unprecedented in these branded entertainment properties," Fernandez says. "When we launch we hope we'll have a bunch of it in the can already, but we're fighting every day to make sure that we can keep pace." But Ecko|Code isn't just working with the show's writers: Michael C. Hall directly contributed to Slice of Life with full voice over work. As you investigate and stalk your prey as Dexter, you'll be accompanied by his inner monologue.
"What's so cool about Michael C. Hall and the brand is that it's not so much about the dialog, but when Dexter's inner voice is talking," Fernandez gushes to us. "When you're playing the game and that inner voice is going off, it creates a really interesting layer of immersion there that I think people are going to enjoy."
The way players explore these subplots will always be the same: investigating, stalking and taking down bad dudes. (Like, really bad dudes--other killers.) When each week's mission releases, players will guide Dexter through an investigation of a potential hard criminal by finding clues and evidence proving his or her guilt. Once proven, you will assume direct control of Dexter as you stalk your prey, take cover to avoid getting caught, and eventually get close enough to knock 'em out and you know what happens after that.
Stealth-centric gameplay with enemy detection and a cover system might be a first for a Facebook game, but Ecko|Code didn't forget that this is a Facebook game, after all. That's where Dexter's Dark Passenger comes in. Along with the ability to customize your personal version of Dexter's infamous apartment complex, every player will create their very own Dark Passenger.
Through this dark side, players will be able to invade not just their friends' but anyone's territory to either kill an innocent or attack a building. When you log in and see that a player has killed an innocent on your turf, you will have to investigate that player's avatar, stalk and eventually take them out--just like during the game's story missions. While multiplayer isn't limited to your in-game Facebook friends, the more friends you have, the better your territory will fend off attacks.
When asked whether it would be possible for players to slip up as Dexter and kill an innocent, Fernandez made clear that the only way that could ever happen in the game is if the writers included a scenario like that in the show. (Any Dexter fan will tell you the that Dexter follows a code of honor that prevents him from slaying innocent people.)
But after Season 6 of Dexter is over, Ecko|Code plans to retell some of the series' biggest moments. And beyond Dexter Slice of Life, branded games (and free-to-play) will always be a part of the studio's DNA. "The common understanding about branded games is that they suck," Fernandez admits bluntly. "Nobody thinks that movie or TV games are going to do anything. They have a bad reputation, but I believe that we have turned that around. Our job is to put [the brands] very finely on a ring to make something beautiful out of them."
Note: Dexter Slice of Life will be launching alongside the debut of season six next month. So, let us enjoy looking forward to it...
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