12 Minutes by Luis Antonio (The Witness) and Annapurna Interactive (What Remains of Edith Finch?) was arguably the most intriguing title that caught my eye at the showfloor. It’s a game, as the trailer portrays it, about a man trapped in a constant time loop. Let’s talk about the gameplay trailer (linked above) first.
The entirety of the trailer (and the game, for that matter) takes place inside a house. The conversation between the two characters is normal but with a slight twist. One of them seems to possess the knowledge of what the other is about to say because he has experienced it all before.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time 12 Minutes has made a public appearance. The title originally appeared at PAX East inside a small booth back in 2015 and has been in development ever since. The game was initially planned to launch sometime in 2018 but got delayed due to financial struggles.
12 Minutes essentially revolves around a Groundhog-Day-type experience that sees you playing the same sequence over and over again while changing little details here and there in order to figure out what’s going on and making it to the end of full 12 minutes. Games like these aren’t usually super long so you can expect 5-6 hours of playtime at best. But obviously, this is subject to change depending on your playstyle.
In order to do so, you’ll have to constantly live through the time loops and while doing so, you (as the main character) will experience subtle changes in your emotions and the way you react to different situations. You’ll also be able to interact with different things in your house in order to check the future and time before a situation repeats itself.
For example, in one sequence, a man claiming to be a police officer appears on your front door, accuses your pregnant wife of her father’s murder, and beats you down before the whole sequence goes on a loop. While repeating this sequence, you start to get less surprised as you learn about your wife’s pregnancy, try to confront her about what the police officer said, and even look at the wall clock to check the time until the officer appears on your doorstep again.
Speaking of your house, according to Antonio, not a single item in 12 Minutes is useless and you’ll find a use for almost everything. You’ll have to change, discover, and interact with things inside your house to locate clues and progress through a sequence. However, altering things in your house isn’t the only thing you’ll do.
Depending on your interaction with various items in the game, you get new dialogue options to dig through the past of other in-game characters (notably, your wife) to try to discover the truth. However, this is currently the extent to which we know the game’s dialogue system will work.
As of now, there’s no way of knowing whether certain dialogue choices will impact the story or the overall ending of the game in any shape or form. But that’d be a welcome addition. All in all, the game is looking like something incredibly fun. We just hope there are fewer bumps in the way.
The game currently remains without a release date and is expected to launch on Xbox One and PC. We’ll update the piece as we hear more about it releasing on other platforms.