After months of oblique teases on Twitter – including a suave elderly gentleman gazing upon a lake with dozens of dogs in tow – we finally know the name of fledgling self-described ‘narrative-focused indie studio’ Third Shift’s debut project – Forever Ago. Third Shift was set up as a part-time project by best friends Fabian Brueckers and Kai Denter in Krefeld, Germany, in 2019.
The news comes courtesy of an unlisted video on YouTube that eagle-eyed fans spotted and shared for all to see. It links to a Steam page that has just gone live alongside a new website, which returns a blank page, suggesting a proper announcement is around the corner.
The video opens with a ‘friendly, yet slightly annoying’ young man named Milton fussing over lighting as the protagonist Alfred snaps a picture of him. The trailer then turns to chart Alfred’s time on the road sided by his trusty camper van and four-legged companion.
We watch Alfred traverse picturesque forests and icy northern wilds, drive through sleepy towns, trudge across deserts with seemingly endless skies, stop off in dive bars, and set up campfires under the gaze of billboards and shooting stars. Forever Ago promises an emotive experience, aided by a lovely art style that appears aptly suited to Third Shift’s ambition of telling compelling stories.
It’s all reminiscent of narrative games like Kentucky Route Zero, which similarly recounts a journey across a fictitious road in Kentucky and Campo Santo’s acclaimed Firewatch.
As for what Forever Ago is all about, a short blurb accompanying the video puts it succinctly:
”Following a tragic stroke of fate, Alfred embarks on a journey north in search of redemption. Forever Ago is a single-player road trip adventure in which you’ll travel to beautiful places, capture memories with your camera, meet interesting people, and even make some new friends.”
The Steam listing also picks out core features, which you can check out below:
- Experience a nuanced and heartfelt story about broken dreams, loss, and regret—but also courage, hope, and true friendship
- Explore stunningly beautiful environments, ranging from serene forest lakes to dusty barrens sweltering in the desert sun.
- Examine and interact with objects to learn about your surroundings and the people living there.
- Take pictures with your good ol’ instant camera to document Alfred’s journey and solve small environmental puzzles.
- Discover the stories, beliefs and struggles of the various characters you meet along the way brought to life by renowned voice actors, including Dave Pettitt (Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Frostpunk), Daniel Amerman (League of Legends), and Cissy Jones (Firewatch, Life is Strange).
- Featuring an original soundtrack by Clark Aboud (Slay the Spire, Kind Words).
- You can pet the dog.
According to the trailer’s closing shots, Third Shift plans to release Forever Ago sometime in 2021 on PC via Steam.