×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

’12 Minutes’ Is a Horrific Drama About Reliving the Worst Day of Your Life

12 Minutes” was one of the promising indie games Microsoft highlighted at its E3 2019 press briefing on Sunday. The trailer showed a man who could seemingly predict the future. But as it went on, you realize that he’s stuck reliving the same horrible moments over and over.

During a private demo at E3, creator Luis Antonio (who used to work at Ubisoft and was the former art director on “The Witness”) talked about how his trippy time traveling game works. He wanted to tell a compelling story in a non-linear way, looking at films like “The Shining” and “Memento” for inspiration.

“Each time you play a loop, you’re gonna learn more about the situation. And you use your interpretation of the events to decide what to do,” said Antonio. “The game never gives you any objectives or tells you what to do [next].”

The title of the game actually refers to its central premise: each time loop only lasts for 12 minutes. These minutes pass in real time, and you can always check how much time you have left by pausing the game and looking at the large clock in the menu screen.

“12 Minutes” only has three characters: the husband (who you control), his wife, and the mysterious policeman. Though small, the apartment that the story takes place in is packed with details. You can, for example, sleep in your bed to pass the time, or rummage through closets and drawers to find items that might help you.

The cop always comes knocking on your door three minutes into each time loop, claiming that he is there to arrest your wife for murder. If you let him in, he’ll immediately handcuff both you and the woman, and if you don’t find a way to stop him, he’ll suffocate you until you pass out.

Whenever you’re knocked out, you transition into the next time loop by literally falling onto the ground of the apartment as if you just dropped out of the sky. Your character is so disoriented the first time this happens — processing both the time traveling and the traumatizing experience of being choked out — that he throws up.  

But an interesting aspect of “12 Minutes” is that you don’t lose any progress when you’re sent back in time. In fact, the more time loops the man experiences, the smarter he becomes, which in turn unlocks new dialogue options. With his newfound knowledge, the man can tell his wife that he’s seen all this before and that she needs to run away before the cop knocks on the door.

One of the main challenges in the game is just trying to convince the wife of the danger she’s in. You’ll have to search the apartment for clues about how to break the time loop and save your wife from a crime she may or may not have committed. Along the way, you’ll discover more about the wife’s past and her relationship to the main character.

“I think there’s enough breadcrumbs every loop that [will make] you want to figure something out. There’s always something to discover. … Hopefully, you’ll never feel bored,” said Antonio.

“12 Minutes” will be coming to Xbox One and PC next year.

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • Google Stadia Game Streaming Service Launching

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service Will Launch Nov. 19

    Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh gave us an update on the company’s game streaming service Stadia during the company’s fall hardware event in New York Tuesday: Stadia will be available to the public on Nov. 19. Stadia promises to stream games directly from the cloud, with no need to buy a full-blown game console. Consumers [...]

  • Fortnite Chapter 2

    'Fortnite' Emerges From Black Hole With All-New Island in Chapter 2

    After its previous world was sucked into a black hole, “Fortnite” is back — with an all-new island featuring a map with 13 different locations. The latest installment of the free-to-play battle royale game, which publisher Epic Games calls the first season of “Fortnite” Chapter 2, went live early Tuesday at around 6 a.m. ET. [...]

  • Fortnite-Season-X-Out-of-Time

    'Fortnite' Goes Dark: A Masterful Marketing Stroke by Epic Games

    On Sunday, “Fortnite” — the most popular game on Earth right now — without warning, imploded into darkness. At around 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 13, a meteor in Season 10 of “Fortnite” that had been biding its time set off a cataclysmic chain reaction that sucked up everything on the the island and eventually [...]

  • Hearthstone video game

    Blizzard Reinstates Hong Kong Gamer's Prize but Reaffirms Censure of His Speech

    Major U.S. gaming firm Blizzard Entertainment has reduced its punishment for a professional gamer who shouted a slogan in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. But the company doubled down on its verdict about the inappropriateness of his conduct. In a Chinese language-only message on its official social media, Blizzard stated that it would “resolutely [...]

  • Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Stock Recovers From Hong Kong Fallout

    Activision Blizzard saw its stock recover Friday despite continued backlash over its decision to punish a “Hearthstone” player for publicly siding with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters. The company’s share price was up more than 2% Friday, closing at $54.82. Activision had been in the spotlight ever since Ng Wai Chung, a player of its “Hearthstone” [...]

  • Mixer Co-Founders Leave Microsoft's Twitch Competitor

    Microsoft’s Mixer Streaming Service Loses Its Two Co-Founders

    Microsoft’s Twitch competitor Mixer has lots its two co-founders: Both Matt Salsamendi and James J. Boehm, who co-founded the startup that eventually became Mixer in 2011, have both left the company over the past 2 weeks. The departure comes just a few weeks after Mixer poached famed video game streamer Ninja from Amazon’s Twitch. Salsamendi [...]

  • Trump-Twitch-channel

    Donald Trump Is Now on Amazon's Twitch Streaming Service

    Donald Trump has joined Twitch, the game-focused live-streaming service, apparently in an effort to widen his unfiltered 2020 reelection messaging as the embattled U.S. president faces a fast-moving impeachment inquiry. Trump’s first Twitch broadcast was from his campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis, where among other targets he lashed out at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Somali [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content