Not Tonight: Brexit in a video game

In a dystopian post-Brexit UK, a European-born janitor must fight to avoid deportation and survive under a far-right British government. This is the premise of the new video game Not Tonight. Not only is his topic current, but the launch of his console on January 31 even coincides with the official date of the divorce between Europe and the United Kingdom.

Games of the genre are rare. The software’s multi-year development time lends little to hot topics, and studies as often as possible try to find timeless topics, which are more likely to find long-term stakeholders.

News spoke to Not Tonight creator Tim Constant on the occasion of its launch of the Nintendo Switch.

Where did the idea for Not Tonight come from?

Not Tonight was born out of various wishes. I wanted to create a slightly lighter version of the game Paper Please (Editor’s note: a standalone game in which the player plays a customs agent from a fictional Soviet bloc country during the Cold War), but also to portray Somerset, where I grew up. up in south-west England.

The issue of Brexit came up when we started designing the game in early 2017. Not so much because of the vote itself, but because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that accompanied it. It was very frustrating to see the people where I come from blaming all their ills on immigrants.

Creating a topical game is difficult considering development limitations. How did you do it?

To be fair, it’s not because of our talents as planners, but simply because Brexit has been around for so long.

We were talking about Brexit when we started working on the game, we were talking about it when it launched for PC in 2018, and we’re still talking about it today now that Not Tonight is coming to a console. And it’s not over yet!

Has tackling a politically charged topic caused you any problems?

Yes a little bit. Many players complained in chat rooms and on social media, especially in the beginning.

Several also tried to give us bad reviews when the game was released. On the GOG game sales platform, where you don’t need to buy software to rate it, we also got a disastrous rating. On Steam, where only those who paid to own the game can criticize it, the reviews are very positive.

Do you think a game can change people’s opinion?

I don’t think anyone on the far right is going to change their mind after playing Not Tonight. But there are people in the center, who are more indecisive, who could be affected.

However, to be frank, I think there are much more effective ways than video games to convey a message or make a difference, whether that is by voting or participating in protests.

Do you plan to make other topical games?

I would like that. But unfortunately, I still have no idea what it lends! Our next game will be more of a soccer RPG. If I think of an idea that would lend itself well to a hot topic, I sure will, because video games should be more politicized than they are now. One thing is certain, it will be the design that will prevail, and not the theme. If a game is not fun, no one will play it.

Vince Fernandez

"Professional food trailblazer. Devoted communicator. Friendly writer. Avid problem solver. Tv aficionado. Lifelong social media fanatic."

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