Not For Broadcast

Not For Broadcast

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Not For Broadcast

Sometimes games come along that just land in the middle of a perfect storm with what’s happening in the world.  Not For Broadcast by British studio NotGames is one such title – it throws a spotlight on not only the power the media has, but how they can abuse that power to affect people.  An FMV at its core, the game likes to describe itself as a full motion propaganda simulator – taking place in an alternate version of the United Kingdom from 1984 to 1991.

You play as Alex Winston, who works at the nation’s largest television broadcaster, Channel One, for the National Nightly News.  You start out as a run of the mill janitor, that is… until one fateful night when you are made broadcast engineer as your predecessor has fled the country and you’re forced to edit the election night broadcast in his place.  Learning on the job doesn’t really cover this one, as you have to hit the ground running to run the nightly broadcast.  All the time trying keep your personal views and the like in check about events that are happing in the country and the studio is willing to let the population see.  Every decision you make will have an impact on your job, the nation and even your family life, with you really shaping your own tale in a lot of ways.

Gameplay in Not For Broadcast is split into two different sections: the TV side of things and the choose your own adventure side.  Both have impact on each other based on your choices, the main tale is told mostly after your shift where you spend time with your family and find out more about the corrupt government, as well as the troubles your brother is facing.  This side of the game is far from a thrill-a-minute joyride, as it’s full of tough choices all based around extremely heavy and often thought provoking themes.  Things get a bit lighter (well for a bit) when you are at work manning the nightly broadcast, where you choose everything from Ads to run, camera shots, images to show and really what the overall headlines are for that night.

Not For Broadcast is a complex game as there are a million and one things you have to keep an eye on besides just the live feed; like having the Ads loaded ready to play, beeping anyone who swears and also boosting the signal to overcome any interference, so there’s always something to keep on top of.  With each new shift you start there is also a new challenge added to your list of tasks to keep an eye on, as viewer are all important and if you make a mess of things your views will start to drop.  Lose too many and it’s game over.  Though you are treated to some truly fun and outstanding satire over the run of your shift – from what is being shown and you will have more than a few laugh out loud moments, as everything and everyone is poked fun at.  Finish your shift and the bodies upstairs will rate your output from mistakes made to your smooth edits, as well as your subject matter.  The real undertone to the game beyond the dark humour is a tale of a country rising up and a revolution beginning.  How much you play in this and aid the people is up to you and your moral compass ultimately.

Not For Broadcast’s release on Xbox also comes with the DLC if you buy the Deluxe edition though they can be bought separately – Bits of Yours Life, Time Loop and Live and Spooky, which adds an old-time telethon and ghostly TV show into the mix and are as good as the main tale side of things.  Visually the game does a solid and believable job of dropping you head first into a TV studio editing suite.  However, it’s all about the video footage if I am being honest and the scope and variety on show here is truly outstanding.  The cast themselves do a brilliant job of mixing the serious and comedic ranging from dance routines, songs, raps, and made-up sport.  It’s also worth noting that Not for Broadcast holds a Guinness World Record for the longest amount of FMV footage in a game, clocking in at 42 hours, 57 minutes, and 52 seconds all performed by a cast of 155 actors.  This shows just how much love and care was put into the title that has a strong point to make, but knows how to have fun while getting it over.  Yes, its gameplay can be fast, frantic and extremely stressful at times, but it’s also a fresh spin on the FMV genre that is well worth your time.

An Xbox review copy of Not For Broadcast was provided by NotGames PR team, and the game is available now on Xbox, PC and PlayStation for around £, depending on platform.

The Verdict


The Good: Writing | Quality of performances | Not afraid to ask hard questions

The Bad: Takes a bit to get your head around all the elements | Will have you questioning your morality long after the credits roll

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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