10/31 – Deadly Premonition

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

It should come as no secret to long-time listeners of this show that I tend to like the weird, the strange, and the unusual. A product of being a gamer for 25 years, I suppose. I like games that surprise me or give me a story that is completely bonkers in all the right ways and in gaming, you can’t get any crazier than today’s game: Deadly Premonition. Developed by Access Games, Deadly Premonition was first released on the Xbox 360 in 2010.

Deadly Premonition follows US FBI agent Francis York Morgan as he travels to the small town of Greenvale to solve the murder of Anna Graham, a killing that may be linked to a mysterious serial killer dubbed the Raincoat Killer. The town of Greenvale has a number of strange individuals and traditions that Agent Morgan must contend with and it doesn’t help that Agent Morgan is not the most stable of protagonists. He will frequently stop what he is doing to speak to Zach, an unseen person who may or may not be a figment of Morgan’s imagination.

Deadly Premonition’s gameplay is split between two main modes. During investigations or other game sequences, Deadly Premonition has players face off against the Raincoat Killer as Agent Morgan in third-person shooter action sequences. When not actively fighting, Agent Morgan can travel around the sandbox town of Greenvale, talking to folks, completing side quests, managing hunger, thirst and sleep, as well as buying items from the store. These sequences are much more dialogue heavy as Agent Morgan attempts to find clues to the Raincoat Killer’s identity.

Deadly Premonition is a strange game by itself but it comes with a strange development story as well. Created by Access Games, Deadly Premonition is the child of developer Hidetaka Suehiro, better known as Swery or Swery65, and is intended as a reboot of a cancelled game called Rainy Woods. Deadly Premonition itself was cancelled four times during its two year development cycle and was given a remarkably small budget while Access Games worked on another title, Lords of Arcana, simultaneously.

Even Deadly Premonition’s release is strange as the game was first released in the US, before any other region, despite being made in Japan. It came out exclusively on Xbox 360 at a budget price of only $20 US dollars, an unusual move for a retail game at the time. It would also get a Playstation 3 release but only in Japan. The Playstation 3 version for other regions wouldn’t be released for another 3 years. 

Reviewers didn’t know what to make of Deadly Premonition when it released. The low budget nature of the game was obvious with graphics and voice acting that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Playstation 2 game. The gameplay was filled with jank and glitches. Despite this though, Deadly Premonition resonated with some critics quite a bit. While gaming outlet IGN gave the game a score of 2 out of 10, Destructoid gave it a perfect score of 10 out of 10. Critics noted the strong resemblance to the 90’s TV show, Twin Peaks. The oddities of the town and the eccentricities of the main character made the comparison impossible to ignore and some were very on board while others simply couldn’t handle it. Deadly Premonition became a cult hit with fans and the game has since been ported to PS3, PC and recently the Nintendo Switch. Also, in a surprise announcement in September 2019, it was announced that Deadly Premonition would be receiving a sequel, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise, coming to the Switch in 2020, 10 years after the original.

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