With Chorus, Summerfall Studios is setting out to make a “feature-length video game musical.” Since former Dragon Age writer David Gaider is on the team, Summerfall certainly has the experience necessary to pull off the idea, but it’s a lot easier to see (and hear) the potential through actual gameplay. Summerfall has released a full-length version of one of Chorus’ songs featuring Laura Bailey and Troy Baker, which gives a good look at how Summerfall has worked a familiar dialogue choice tool into interactive musical numbers.
The newly released Minotaur song features Bailey as Grace, Chorus’ lead character, and Baker in the role of the brutish Minotaur. As outlined in the reveal of Chorus earlier this month, Grace is an ordinary human who’s been granted the powers of a Muse. By drawing the Minotaur into a song, she doesn’t need to fight or flee.
In practice, the gameplay UI looks like a BioWare or Telltale-esque dialogue tree, with two or three options presented mid-song for players to pick from. There’s an elapsing timer and the choices are all truncated versions of what Grace is about to sing next, but they’re often color-coded to indicate the sentiment of the line. Players can earn “flow” points, which can then be spent on certain dialogue options—in this version of the Minotaur’s song, Grace uses these points to interrupt the Minotaur at one point, and again later to cut a deal with the beast.
This version lacks the animation of an earlier preview, but it shows that Chorus can actually string together a branching song that sounds complete, start-to-finish. One path of one song is just a start, of course: Gaider and composer Austin Wintory (Journey) have to pull it off for an entire game.
Chorus is well on its way to getting the funding it needs on Fig, where it currently sits at 73% of its modest $600,000 USD goal. Today, Gaider, Summerfall co-founder Liam Esler, and other Chorus devs are doing an AMA on Reddit—someone should definitely see if they can get the team to answer in rhyme. After all, they’re getting plenty of practice, right?