One of my favorite PS4 games is Until Dawn, Supermassive’s cinematic horror adventure from 2015. The game took Heavy Rain’s branching story structure and applied it to a self-aware slasher tale, which felt like a much more natural fit — even if you made the wrong call and let a character die in an gory instant, the story would just keep going. And though it was a single-player game by design, it turned out to work really well with a bunch of people on a sofa yelling frantic instructions to the player.
For Supermassive’s next game, the British studio is expanding on that idea. Hidden Agenda is a new narrative-driven PS4 crime thriller that’s designed to be played with multiple players collaborating on the characters’ decisions and actions. The really neat step is that each person uses their smartphone as a controller, letting them vote on options and act on information that may not be available to everyone else.
Hidden Agenda is part of a new initiative by Sony called PlayLink, which will enable a range of games that let you use iOS or Android devices as controllers. Other upcoming PlayLink titles include a party game called That’s You and a new entry in the popular Singstar karaoke series.
It’s easy to see how PlayLink could make party games more accessible for players who aren’t traditional gamers; Jackbox has found success with a similar idea in its Party Pack releases. Applying the tech to a gritty serial killer story, however, is pretty novel, and a smart way to build on what worked in Until Dawn. Hidden Agenda will be out at some point this year.