The Quiet Man, Square Enix’s stealth release from the beginning of the month, may be one of the most puzzling games this year. Not in the Myst sense, but in the way the game’s very existence raises all sorts of questions. The main one being, who thought it was good idea to make a brawler punctuated by long live-action cutscenes with no audio or captions? The titular Quiet Man, Dane, is deaf, so in an attempt to convey that experience to the player, the creators made the game essentially soundless except for the muffled thuds of fists and feet connecting with enemies. The main character reads lips so he has no issues grokking the situation, but you get to sit there watching cinematics in which people say apparently important things to him, with no idea what’s being communicated. It’s an artistic choice that has hurt the game’s tiny reception.
In a world overflowing with words, can we really find something beyond them?
The complaints haven’t fallen on deaf ears. (I’m so sorry.) Producer Kensei Fujinaga has announced that an update will be released with sound and hopefully coherence. Dubbed The Quiet Man – Answered, the update promises to deliver a “story dramatically transformed” into a “completed experience” for players. Interestingly, the studio says there was a first version of the game that “threw words away” prompting another question. Did they really plan any of this at all?