Not For Broadcast is an FMV game about making a TV show. As the National Nightly News airs live on screen, you will make the edits, censor the swear words (and later, politically controversial phrases, if you choose), and even pick what plays in the ad breaks.
As tensions rise, a burgeoning resistance movement demands you transmit their anti-government propaganda instead of the regularly scheduled news, to dramatically change the message going out to the masses of avid viewers.
The feeling of making a TV show, of being in control of what the audience at home sees, and impacting the stories of the characters and the world was the experience we want for you, our player.
In a world dominated by the consumption of visual media, it’s time to take a closer look at the power it has over us. And what better way to raise the stakes and give you a keen sense of urgency and power than to make it all live? After all, the news is reported as it happens. There’s no pausing in real life, no rewinding an interview to ask a different question, and certainly no avoiding the barrage of advertising. That experience, the stress, fun and creativity of making choices on the fly to tell your story, to see the narrative developing from the consequences of these decisions; that’s the fun of Not For Broadcast.
Of course, this presented a different problem altogether.
Our biggest challenge was shooting footage as single, continuous takes. Evoking that “Live TV Feeling” meant no cuts at any point… That’s right: not one. You are the editor here, not us. So, while a movie is composed of only the best shots cut from all the takes you got on the day, we don’t have that luxury. We had to nail each scene in one go — some of them approached 20 minutes!
Our incredibly talented cast had to learn relatively long scripts and perform them in one take without a single mistake in front of moving cameras whose operators had their own world of complications to handle. We were fortunate that most of our scenes were shot in ten takes or less, but it wasn’t uncommon for a longer or more complicated scene to run into the teens.
We pulled it off with a powerful combination of planning, exceptional actors and crewmembers, and a very deliberate decision: We ran the shoot more like a theatre show than a film set. Rehearsing an ensemble of actors who were prepared to roll with the punches of live performance and react accordingly until we had a scene that worked.
This meant seriously high pressure for everyone. Fluff your line in minute 12? Drop your camera out of focus? We’re all going back to the top. Though the upside is when you nail that one take, you’re done and you can hit the pub.
There were further wrinkles to this format, too, in the shape of long, complex tracks for our friends doing the Russian and Chinese dubbing of Not For Broadcast, but if you’ve heard our fully produced rap single “Paint It Red” in Russian, I think you’ll agree it was time and money well spent. As it turns out, it made for a record-breaking amount of footage in our game by the end, at over a whopping 41 hours.
So, the next time you’re playing Not For Broadcast, and you get to a sequence that’s over 15 minutes long, take a moment to think about the actors, crew, dubbing teams, and the team at NotGames who’ve taken that piece of flawless, one-take action from script to set to game. We certainly will when we’re planning the next one!
Not For Broadcast