I’m stoked for this immersive sim about escaping a town in the shadow of a colossal policeman

I was instantly taken with the idea of Militsioner when I first saw it in 2021. The upcoming “Kafkaesque” immersive sim gives you the simple goal of escaping a town within a few days, a task which is somewhat complicated by the fact that a Leviathan-sized Russian cop towers over the city, watching you. In a new dev blog, developers TallBoys explain more of how you might court the giant’s approval (the term “fully fleshed dating-sim mechanic” features) or avoid it by sneaking about while he sleeps. You might even—gasp!—do crimes. This also drew my attention to a ten-minute gameplay video they released last month and oh, yes, please.

Cover image for YouTube videoNew Demo & How we made It – Diaries Part II | MILITSIONER by TallBoys

This new dev vlog explains some of what they’ve been working on

“All immersive-sims have some form of combat through which its immersion is revealed,” the Russian team said in a dev blog post yesterday. “Fighting the giant is not an option, so the player will have to resort to tricks – flattering, lying, stealing, giving gifts to appease the giant. His mood is the law, so as you get closer to Giant, different doors start opening up. So basically, we extend the classic immersive-sim staple of ‘talking your way out of the situation’ in to a fully fleshed dating-sim mechanic.”

TallBoys also talk about “breaking the LAW’s heart” by stealing “anything not nailed down”, a “tamagotchi-like mood system” for all NPCs, their decision to ditch voice input for dialogue, the time system controlling people’s schedules (including the giants), and more. I particularly enjoyed this bit about how they realised they needed to create a tutorial:

“One of the recurring issues was that people were avoiding the game’s mechanics all together. Players struggled to grasp what they needed to do in the game at all, leaning towards tactics they had already seen in other games. They were playing someone else’s game.”

Very good, that “playing someone else’s game.”

Militsioner will be available on Steam when it’s done. You can get access to the work-in-progress demo by paying into their Patreon or Boosty.

Cover image for YouTube video10 Minutes Of Gameplay | MILITSIONER by TallBoys

This gameplay video is from back in December

In 2020, a state-owned Russian news channel criticised the game as insidious, sensationalist, anti-authority propaganda. TallBoys seemed to find that quite funny. At the time, they talked a bit about why they do have a giant cop.

“Our goal isn’t to create an evil image of the police, but to investigate the issue of responsibility and power,” designer Vladimir Semenets told Polygon back then. “What does it mean to be the biggest policeman in the world and what responsibilities does it impose on you? He tries to be a positive character in this story. But even we don’t know yet if he will succeed in being one.”

I’m cautious but curious to see how much that might have changed over the years. They have been uncommonly critical for a Russian studio, considering the very real threat of reprisal. After Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, they tweeted:

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