Indigo Prophecy:

By Shamus Posted Monday May 26, 2008

Filed under: Game Reviews 72 comments

Where is my mind?
Indigo Prophecy is, at its heart, a mystery story. Well, two mystery stories, really. The first is, “Why did Lucas kill that man in the bathroom?” The second is, “What in the name of Uwe Boll’s tiny malformed soul happened to the plot of this game?”

The first act plays like a psychological drama written by M. Night Shyamalan. (The Sixth Sense.) The second act plays like a stupid action movie by Jerry Bruckheimer. (Armageddon, National Treasure.) The third act is a swirling vortex of disjointed blatherskite, as if from the mind of Ed Wood. (Plan 9 From Outer Space.)

The first third of the game is a careful exploration of actions and consequences. The plot moves forward through conversation and examination of the game world. Lucas is trying to unravel what happened to him, why he blacked out, why he killed that man in the bathroom, and why he’s having strange dreams and visions.

Meanwhile Carla and Tyler – the police – are investigating the murder and slowly realizing that it is one of many. Over the years there have been several strange, seemingly unrelated murders. One person will kill a total stranger in broad daylight with three stabs to the heart. The murderer then (usually) kills himself. What is the connection between these crimes? What is driving these people to kill? And why is Lucas special, in that he didn’t kill himself afterwards? This is a compelling setup and those questions do a good job of driving the player through the first third of the game.

A lesser site might simply assert that the plot was lacking, without offering any supporting evidence. I will demonstrate its shortcomings by simply writing it all down and allowing you to read it for yourself. At this point we pass the signpost marked, “Here there be spoilers.” This is assuming it is possible to “spoil” the plot of a game which is already rotten.

Let us begin this grim work now:

It turns out that on the night of the murder Lucas was possessed the The Oracle, a 2,000 year old Mayan Shaman, or priest, or whatever Mayans called their hoodoo men. He’s working for the Orange Clan, a group of backlit silhouettes who inhabit a dark room at an unspecified location. Occasionally the game cuts to The Oracle’s POV and the members of the orange clan say things to him. Things like, “This is too important to fail!”, and, “You have failed us for the last time!” They also like to say “IMPOSSIBLE!” whenever The Oracle tells them anything.

They have The Oracle looking for the Indigo Child, who is a little girl with a perfectly pure soul who has never been incarnated, and thus she… holds all the secrets to life. (It is exceptionally difficult to get through these scenes without shouting “forty-two!” at the game.) If she tells the Orange Clan her secrets, they will gain godlike powers and rule the Earth, “enslaving all of humanity.” (Which seems to come after killing everyone. I’m wondering if they thought this through?)

Questions may come to mind. If she has “never been incarnated” then why is she currently uh, incarnated? I do not think that word means what they think it means. How does having a pure soul lead one to having all the secrets of the entire universe? How does knowing those secrets lead to godlike powers? Why doesn’t the girl herself have any powers whatsoever, if her knowledge is so potent? What exactly does the Orange Clan want with the Earth, anyway?

We’re dealing with a fictional reality with no discernible rules, bad guys with no motivation, and prophecy with no purpose. The answer to all of the player’s questions is thus: Shut up and do another action sequence.

So then some stuff happened…

In order to find the child, The Oracle goes around mind-controlling people and forcing them to kill other people according to an ancient ritual. While the victim is dying, The Oracle is able to peer through “The Snake” and see into the afterlife… which somehow… lets him look for a girl who is alive and living in upstate New York? Whatever. The Oracle is looking for her and every time he wants a peek he has to arrange for somebody to kill somebody else. This is a very messy and convoluted system. Given the incredible supernatural powers of The Oracle and Orange Clan, is this the best they can do?

It turns out that Lucas was exposed to a radioactive artifact in a military base when he was growing up, which filled him with The Chroma. The Chroma was dormant in his system for most of his life, only occasionally manifesting itself in the form of clairvoyant visions. After his contact with The Oracle, The Chroma gets stronger and he begins to get super-powers, which are gleefully pilfered from The Matrix movies. He has all of the powers of “The One”: Wall-running, kung-Fu, bullet-time, super jumping, and muttering stupid melodramatic nonsense.

Meanwhile the temperature is dropping. At the start of the game New York is in a period of unusually cold weather, but by the start of the third act the whole planet is freezing over in some cataclysm of ice and snow. The change is abrupt. We go from “Gosh it’s cold” to “OMG the world is ending!!!” without any real transition. It feels like we’re watching a movie and we skipped a reel. (For which we should express relief and gratitude.)

Lucas goes to an amusement park to save the life of his girlfriend, who was apparently kidnapped by The Oracle. He falls at the end and we’re not sure what happened to him, but the next time we see him he’s pale, cold, and wearing rags. He is (I’m not kidding) undead, but otherwise lucid.

Undead Lucas eventually teams up with Detective Carla, at which point everything we know about her character is thrown out the window as she joins up with a (dead) wanted criminal to help him look for the aforementioned Indigo Child. He looks like a zombie. He’s got dark circles under his eyes. He’s chalk white. He’s wrapped in bandages and he no longer has any body heat. Carla manages to fall in love with him anyway, without any real reason for doing so. Like the snowpocalypse, the falling in love happens between scenes. One minute she’s just met him, and the next time we see her she’s expressing all these feelings for him.

And then some other things happened…

Lucas rescues the Indigo Child, and has a huge battle against The Oracle. At the end Lucas runs away, and leaps into an apartment window at random trying to escape from The Oracle. Inside he meets yet another player in the battle for the child, the Purple Clan. The Purple Clan is a glowing yellow form that reminds me vaguely of Tron. It doesn’t look like something you’d expect to see in a story pitted against Mayan Shaman. Purple Clan reveals that it was the one who reanimated Lucas, so that he would get the Indigo Child. It also wants the Indigo Child, so it can get her secrets and… (all together now) gain godlike powers so it can rule the Earth. It brought Lucas back because… I guess it thought he would get the kid and hand her over?

The scene is pure comedy. They do the cliche anime thing where the bad guy tells you what his powers are and what he’s going to do before he does it, so the audience knows they’re supposed to be feeling suspense. The Purple clan has the power to destroy Lucas with a single touch. It could just poke him, and walk away with the kid. But instead it asks for the kid. Then it threatens Lucas when he refuses. Finally it tells Lucas about the one-hit kill power it has, and only then does it try to make with the poking. After a couple more finger-joint eroding action events, Lucas escapes. Again. Or rather, he continues escaping. He was already running from The Oracle when he entered this apartment, although the writers seem to have forgotten about that.

Lucas is led into the sewers by a new ally – The Invisibles. They’re a group that has been fighting against the Orange Clan for thousands of years. Their members are all homeless people. They welcome Carla, Lucas, and the Indigo Child.

The Indigo Child is the Macguffin here. She doesn’t speak or act of her own volition. She doesn’t act like a kid and nobody ever treats her like one. They just haul her around like luggage.

The Invisibles recap the plot for us, and then they explain that the Orange Clan is a powerful organization that controls the world banks and governments. So wait – they already rule the world? I thought they were trying to rule the world? I guess they want to rule it more, or harder, or something.

The Invisibles also reveal that the The Purple clan is (brace yourself) a sentient AI, formed during the 80’s on the rudimentary beginnings of “the ‘net”. I guess this explains why the Purple Clan is so incompetent. If it came into existence during the 80’s it means it was spawned by networked Commodore 64’s and Timex Sinclairs. The poor thing probably has the intellect of a Basset Hound.

And then it gets kind of uncomfortable…

Carla and Lucas sneak off to a subway car, get naked, and have sex. Unlike the other love scenes in the game, this one is inevitable. (The once malleable plot has gone rigid by this point, and forms a railroad track leading to the conclusion.) It’s cold enough in the train car that Carla can see her breath. Her man is room temperature. She has sex with him anyway. Ew.

They get in a big snowplow and drive the girl to the midwest, where Lucas was originally exposed to The Chroma. Both the Purple Clan and the Orange Clan are waiting when they arrive. Lucas has to bust out more supernatural kung-fu, and we are treated to the final climactic showdown between Mayan Wizard, Tron, and Zombie Neo.

Assuming the player hasn’t succumbed to carpal tunnel syndrome by this point, Zombie Neo wins and and the Indigo Girl whispers the secrets of the universe into his ear.

Cut to some months later. The world is warm again. Lucas is happily living with Carla, although he hasn’t changed out of his rags and bandages and he still looks dead. Apparently being in possession of godlike knowledge and powers hasn’t given him the capacity to secure a clean shirt, much less correct his unfortunate condition. Not that it matters. Being dead doesn’t seem to affect his life in any way, as evidenced by the fact that Carla is pregnant. Ew. Again.

I didn’t cover everything, but throughout the game we have:

  1. Superhero powers borne of exposure to a radioactive artifact.
  2. 2,000 year old Mayan Shaman with magic powers.
  3. A shadow government conspiracy to cover up a series of public murders.
  4. A psychic (Carla’s gay neighbor) giving a tarot card reading that tells the future.
  5. A blind old woman who uses psychic powers to coax out erased memories.
  6. A Golden Child with all the secrets to the universe.
  7. Sentient AI that can manifest itself as a glowing Tron thing and reanimate the dead.

What, no space aliens?

I hope you enjoyed reading that, because it caused physical pain to recollect and set down. Once the plot went sideways, the game abandoned all the exploration and experimentation gameplay we’d come to love in the first act. It became a series of cutscenes which you advanced by enduring lengthy Simon Says action button-mash events. The deliberate and thoughtful dialog of the first act was replaced with absurd b-movie dramatics. The carefully planned scenes like the one at the start of the game vanish, and we’re left with events that don’t make sense and aren’t consistent from one moment to the next.

I will always wonder what happened with this game. The tone of the story changed abruptly and radically. So did the gameplay. David Cage (who actually appears in the tutorial of the game) is the only writer / designer credited, but it’s hard to imagine how someone talented enough to write the first act could make the egregious blunders we witness in the third. Was this the plan from the start? Did the budget get cut? Was there some creative conflict between team members?

As bad as it was, I’d still take a chance if developer Quantic Dream came out with another game. That first act was something new and rewarding, and I’m eager for another dose of it.


From The Archives:

72 thoughts on “Indigo Prophecy:

  1. Gothmog says:

    I, for one, thank you for selflessly throwing yourself on this fizzing potato-masher of a game. I will certainly keep my distance.

    Oh, and happy memorial day! :D

  2. Andy P says:

    The Nomad Soul was another good QD game, though it too had a few moments that were just like “what…?”. I skipped Indigo Prophecy, but I like the kinds of things they are trying to do.

  3. Dan Hemmens says:

    it's hard to imagine how someone talented enough to write the first act could make the egregious blunders we witness in the third

    I think it might just be a question of the Mystery Paradox. “You’ve Just Killed a Guy and you Don’t Know Why” is an awesome setup for a game, but the only ending that game is ever going to have is going to be “So … that’s why you killed that guy” which is never going to live up to the initial idea.

    There’s also the simple fact that being *talented* in no way precludes being *crazy*.

  4. Telas says:

    They also like to say “IMPOSSIBLE!” whenever The Oracle tells them anything.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  5. Grue says:

    Hah, great summary! I laughed several times and I feel like I got most of the (comedic) value of the game in 0.1% of the time.

  6. RandomGamer says:

    I played Indigo Prophecy and echo everything you say here. I kept playing mostly because I kept hoping it’d return to that brilliant first act. The beginning is utterly absorbing and just so different and new and special. And then it goes rapidly down hill from there.

  7. Zereth says:

    It feels like we're watching a movie and we skipped a reel. (For which we should express relief and gratitude.)

    I believe there were supposed to be one or two chapters between two and three which were cut for some reason, so this is basically what happened.

    I’ve never played it myself, so it sounds like including them would have simply made the transition less jarring rather than actually improving the plot.

  8. Arthur says:

    For my part, I think the game would be much stronger if it was just the Oracle conducting crazy-ass rituals in the present day. The designers seem to feel that that answer isn’t quite momentous enough to justify the build-up (and to be fair what could?), and so they keep adding layer after layer… the Oracle’s working for this conspiracy… and then there’s another conspiracy… and it’s all about this child… and then WOO IT’S LIKE THE END OF HIGHLANDER… and by the end it becomes this ludicrous house-of-cards plot structure which can’t help but fall down hard.

  9. Arthur says:

    Oh, a couple more things:

    – I believe that David Cage has gone on the record as saying that the end of the game is horrible. They apparently put most of their effort into the first act (and really, you can tell), reasoning that it’s the early potions of a game which really get people hooked. Which is fair enough, but when the follow-up is this bad it’s like being served a delicious appetiser in a restaurant which is followed up by a turd sandwich for the main course and, for dessert, a knee to the groin.

    – I have to say, Carla and Lucas having sex was easily the most irritating plot element for me too. Let’s put aside the whole undead thing. From Lucas’s point of view, his ex-girlfriend has just died, and Carla is the woman who until recently has been trying to arrest him for a murder which, OK, he did commit, but not under his own will. From Carla’s point of view, this is a guy that until really quite recently she was convinced was a cold-hearted murderer. Are they really going to get the hots for each other that quickly? It’s the point in the game where the previously-decent characterisation gets thrown out of the window entirely and we are left with howling, screaming madness.

  10. Arthur says:

    Oh yes, and one last thing – did you get the easter egg where you can unlock a video of David Cage dancing with Carla in her underwear? (Er, she’s in her underwear, Cage is not).

    It’s more than a little creepy.

  11. Dev Null says:

    You make me laugh so much reading about it that I almost want to play it just to witness the ludicrousness… _almost_. Sounds like the 3 stooges on acid.

    Would it be worth playing the first act and chucking the disk in the bin though?

  12. Rawling says:

    Don’t forget (if I recall correctly), in that list, 5 = 7.
    Also, don’t a few months pass between the 2nd and 3rd acts, during which time Carla and the protagonist fall in love? Slightly less… screwed up.

  13. happyturtle says:

    Okay, I thought vampire sex was the most disgusting form of undead copulation. I stand corrected. I think I could make myself drink blood before I could make myself have sex with a guy who needs rigor mortis to get an erection.

  14. I bet what happened was schedule pressure. Good writing is slow, and I bet they ran out of time.

  15. Stranger says:

    And now I have a frame of reference for “Indigo Prophecy Syndrome” as explained by Ben Croshaw.

    I also now have the urge to go back and check my story writings to be sure they don’t take such drastic and odd turns during the plot work

  16. JFargo says:

    You should email David Cage and ask him if the trip he went on at the end was worth his professional integrity. That sounds absolutely horrible.

    Though I’d like to play the first half or so, I think.

  17. Dave says:

    “I do trust the operation of the page links is obvious”

    When looking at the article ( yes, but from the main page ( there is no ‘>>’ next link. That would help to reduce the flow-break of going to the second page.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Fahrenheit(no I didnt play indigo prophecy,thank god,since all fahrenheit I played lacks is dumb cenzorship) is….well,a weird game.It has an excelent gampelay.It has dialogs that you have to think through fast(especially the one where carla is interogating lucas,I felt like I was the one being interogated and sweating in that chair).The story begins in such a marvelous way,and unfolds quite well.And the characters are real.You are playing them and you can feel their different personalities,you can merge with them.Of course,the action sequence where lucas faces weird monsters are marvelous,and the whole time you wonder if it is just him going crazy,or is he the only one seeing the thruth.

    But then….Oh boy,then it hits the fan!The game ends so fast,and it crams everything in such a small time frame that it induces vomiting!It is funny for me to say this,since I did GM a few cyberpunk campaigns that have demons and robots,sentient AI and magic,but these two just dont fit here.

    And that kung fu crap!It was fine when lucas did all those crazy things in his mind,and it worked when he evaded police(maginally worked),but thats the limit!Flying kung fu and kamehameha waves dont fit here!!!!

    And the love between lucas and carla!!!!Why?!!We have characters with so much emotions,we learn so much about them,we guide them,we have heartbreaking talks between tyler and his wife,between lucas and tifani,and then this crap!!A girl he loves so much,with whom he still shares a bond(and with whom he resparked the relationship,if you play through that path),died not even 24 hours ago,and he has sex with a complete stranger that hunted him for the last week?!!And she has sex with a zombie just because?!!!!!

    Jade(when the hell did we learn her name anyway?There was no scene where lucas finally found out her location,even though we had a very long scene for carla to match his fingerprints and the paper)is….Well,like shamus said,a piece of luggage.Making a human being as the only thing to stop the apocalypse didnt work in fifth elemnt,and it works even less here.Especially since this human being is a vegetable.

    But still,the gameplay and the begining of the game are so awesome that Id still put this game very high above the rest that we got these days.Id still recomend the game to anyone.If you have money and no idea what to play,try fahrenheit.Despite everything bad in it,you still wont regret the purchace.

  19. Shamus says:

    Dave: Yes. The page navigation is wonky. I can’t seem to get WordPress to do the sensible thing. When you’re on the front page it doesn’t know that you’re also looking at page 1 of that particular article. The is the “read the rest of this article” link, and the “pagebreak”, and I can’t make them place nice together.

    Hopefully I can figure out how these are supposed to work. I do like the idea of breaking long posts up into many pages.

  20. Cuthalion says:

    A Hitchhiker’s reference AND a Princess Bride reference on the same page! *sniff* I’m so happy… ^_^

  21. The Nickster says:

    I was thrown off by how melancholy he was in the last scene. He has superpowers, a hawt girlfriend and he just saved the world. It should be time to party down!!!

  22. Luke Maciak says:


    I was wondering what your take was going to be on this. I personally liked the game – the first act contains several of the most memorable and most suspenseful scenes I have ever seen in video games.

    I played this game like a year ago, and I vividly remember how awesome the mystery/investigation scenes where. The third act is a blur, and I hardly remembered anything from it with exception of the zombie sex. :P I guess I must have blocked it out or something.

  23. tom says:

    you can go to
    if you want to see the plot in better detail.

  24. Danel says:

    I think there’s something in Dan Hemmens’ point that almost any resolution to that early central mystery which be disappointing by comparison – still, I think that if they’d stuck with the Mayan Wizards, and just left it at that, it would have merely been enjoyable hokum. It would have been easy enough to say that the players controlling the previous ‘murderers’ had forgotten to wash their hands, or failed a few too many quick time events – when parts of the early game are quite hard, explaining the whole thing as due to the radioactive artefact that he was exposed as a child is… silly.

    I mean, Mayan Wizards doing it is hokey, but if they’d stuck with that, even the whole Indigo Child nonsense wouldn’t have been so bad. But the thing ends up suffering from what the Turkey City Lexicon calls the Tabloid Weird – bizarre and nonsensical mixes of things.

    To be fair… the whole Zombie!Sex scene can be seen as making a kind of sense, with the two of them falling in love during the month-long time skip. On the other hand, THE TWO OF THEM FALL IN LOVE DURING THE MONTH-LONG TIME SKIP. Having *successfully* got us to invest in these characters, having a major and dramatic change as that happen off camera is utterly unforgivable. Also – when the first part of the game is all about making choices, and at the end you have multiple endings. But the multiple endings aren’t based on choices, but require you to fail certain parts of the final confrontations.

    Really, this game hurts more than a game that’s out-and-out terrible. You just don’t care about a game that’s totally awful.

  25. Kasper says:

    I recently played this game. I must say, it’s a rollercoaster ride. One where there is great buildup, and suddenly, halfway through the first loop there’s no more rails and you’re lucky you packed a chute.
    In addition to the things listed by shamus what I found quite jarring is Lucas’ brother. Markus. His character is the 4th most important in my opinion. (after the 3 playables). He’s a priest and he struggles between his faith and his family ties. You can even have him try to turn Lucas in. Quite an interesting character. He even saves lucas’ life in a freak storm in his apartment caused by the oracle. Then all of a sudden there’s a scene where you have to save his life because the oracle is in his church. You do this by calling him and, get this, telling him to lock himself in. So a kung fu mayan priest with supernatural powers can’t deal with a locked door…
    For about 2 hours the only reason I knew I had saved his life was because I replayed the scene making some other choices and saw him die. Then all of a sudden, he is sitting with the leader of the invisibles in their hidout. HOW in the name of 42 did he get there? We dont know. He doesnt tell us. He just sits there. He doesnt even talk to his brother. You can talk to him with carla, but he just says some noncommital stuff. Another great character gone down the drain. Having used my chute I landed in a shark pond…

  26. Jim says:

    By page 3 of your recap I was absolutely convinced you were just screwing with us.

    It scares me that you were not.

  27. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Hum.. perhaps it was a “Too god for that bastard” Tvtrope example..

  28. Joshua says:

    “I think it might just be a question of the Mystery Paradox. “You've Just Killed a Guy and you Don't Know Why” is an awesome setup for a game, but the only ending that game is ever going to have is going to be “So … that's why you killed that guy” which is never going to live up to the initial idea.”

    That’s the big problem with a lot of plotlines based around mysteries. It’s easier to create a sense of mystery than actually create a logical reason for the mystery. IMO, that’s a big problem with the J.J. Abrams and David Lynches out there- create a hook that draws the viewer in with quirky and detailed set-ups, let the audience members guess what’s occurring, and then try like hell to come up with an answer for all of the questions you yourself asked.

    Unfortunately, many of these plotlines collapse and don’t come close to satisfying the anticipation. A good question would be, “Which games/tv shows/movies posed a really good mystery in the beginning AND then resolved them in a satisfactory manner?”

    For my vote, I’d suggest the following as a few examples:

    Planescape: Torment
    Donnie Darko

    And I’ve probably seen a hundred more that all crashed and burned.

  29. Lanthanide says:

    Here’s a website that you should visit, Shamus, although it may take up ridiculous amounts of your time (I’ve already sunk at least 10 hours into it and have barely scratched the surface).

  30. K says:


    Thank you :)

  31. Steve says:

    This sounds like the perfect game for me. I rarely play more than a third of the way through anything before losing interest, anyway.

  32. Nilus says:

    Could the reason the AI from the 80s looked like Tron was because Tron came out in the early 80s. I actually started to play this game a few years back and stopped for some reason. Honestly I think I might try it out again just to watch the batshit crazy plot unfold.

  33. Dillon says:

    What did you use for the red blobs in the last comic?

  34. Shamus says:

    The red blobs are just splattered coffee, which I colorized after taking the picture. The first pics I took didn’t really sell the “crazy” look I was going for. The coffee was right there, so I flung some around and that seemed to work.

  35. ngthagg says:

    Dear WalMart: Leave the sex, cut the rest. Thank you.

    Seriously, that is messed up. Orson Scott Card has a rule for writing speculative fiction: only break one rule. This means if there is an ancient Mayan priest, then there are no government cabals. If there is a sentient computer, then it can’t raise people from the dead. Etc.

    I loved the plot summary. It has a great MST3K feel.

  36. ArchU says:

    I’m thinking along the lines of certain movies here such as “From Dusk Til Dawn” which abandons the plot as soon as the characters arrive at the bar. Or, more recently and with higher suitability due to it’s comic nature, “Hot Fuzz”.

    I’d rather play Hot Fuzz as a game than the former, tho…

  37. Kasper says:

    Even though hot fuzz has the same abandonment of all things logical as fahrenheit, (interesting, you can now find out which of your readers are american and which are european) there is one big difference: Hot fuzz knows its doing it, and uses it for comic purposes. Whereas fahrenheit goes nuts without noticing it is doing so. Furthermore, in hot fuzz you are watching other people go crazy. In a computergame I’m usually so immersed that I feel like I am behaving irrational at the end of fahrenheit. Worst thing is, the writers of the game are making me go irrational, I can’t control it myself.
    Crazyness is fine as long as it serves comic relief, and more importantly, as long as it isn’t a character you are playing that goes gaga.

  38. Just Passing Through says:

    I played both Fahrenheit and Nomad Soul, and I enjoyed both. Not exactly for the amazing stories, since both went totally floopy after a while, but for what they attempted in gaming. Trying to focus slightly more on storyline and new gaming mechanisms.

    Unfortunately I do think they bit of more than they could chew.

    Anyway, I remember reading that Fahrenheit was initially designed to be an episodic game. They apparently had about half of it done when the budget went down the tubes and they were forced to rush the end and mash it all together to release it in one go.

    I really, really, really hope that Heavy Rain ( lives up to expectations and that they manage to get it “right” this time.

  39. Meta says:

    While Tron and neo superpowers were eye-roll-licious, the thing I hated most were definitely the love thing between Carla and Lucas.

    “I love you Lucas!”
    “I love you too… Uh, what’s your name again?”

    And yeah, sub-zero loving, not a pleasant thought.

  40. Zaxares says:

    I haven’t played Fahrenheit, but I watched a walkthrough video of it on YouTube, which gave me an excellent idea of what to expect. I totally agree that the first half of the game was exquisite… The second half of it (events after Tiffany’s death) just left me going “What the hell?”

    I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was supposed to a lot more to the game, content that would have allowed the relationship between Lucas and Carla to develop in a proper manner, but it was cut out due to time and/or budget constraints. A great shame, because I think the Purple Clan *could* have worked, if they hadn’t just thrown it in so haphazardly in the final half-hour of gameplay. Oh, and making them look different than some bright, neon-yellow colour would have helped too.

  41. Septyn says:

    Oh I *so* want to run an RPG where the players have to find The Magic MacGuffin. Curse you!

  42. Count_Zero says:

    I already knew about the romance between Lucas and Carla before coming into the recap, but thought it was a semi-innocuous romance.

    However, now that I know that instead the romance is between an live woman and an dead (well, undead) man… eww. Suddenly, the Real-Time-Action-Event sex scenes from the European version become much less appealing, in a “I don’t want to be seeing this, much less playing it” sense.

  43. Mavis says:

    To go totally off at a tangent….

    I’m not sure I’d say Hot Fuzz abandons it’s plot…. I think it plot tightly controls everything that happens. It’s just that the logic of the world is mad action based…

  44. Daemian Lucifer says:


    Actually,that scene is just a cinematic.The real-time-action-event sex is only with tifany,and you can get it only if you play your cards right.

  45. Blackbird71 says:

    Well, that was… interesting. Thanks for making sure I never go near this game.

    I have noticed a similar, if not as extreme, pattern in a number of TV shows. In these shows, usually around season finale time, they throw a massive twist into the plot, a twist which given the show’s and characters’ history makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and feels completely wrong and out of place. This twist does nothing to further or improve the plot, and apears to be only added for the sake of surprising the audience and saying a hearty “Ha! I bet you didn’t see THAT coming!” to the viewers. It seems that whichever show shocks the most viewers in a season wins. Could this be the effect Indigo was trying for?

  46. lplimac says:

    … muttering stupid melodramatic nonsense.

    But… that’s the most important superpower ever!

    Excellent review, think I pass on this one.

  47. Jeff says:

    …I rather liked The Fifth Element.

  48. Count_Zero says:

    @Daemian Lucifer: Still, is the scene in question before or after the undeath?

  49. The Fat Controller says:

    The plot really fell to pieces, I agree, though overall I’d still say the game was average to good. I found the superpower action sequences fairly entertaining in any case.

  50. Jonathan says:

    By the end, I felt like I was just along for the ride, hanging onto the controller by my fingertips. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever played, but not in a bad way.

    As for Lucas and Carla… it was cold, everybody was dead or fled except for homeless people and psychotic AI and the Mayan man, and the world was headed for destruction. By that point, maybe even Zombie-Lucas was looking good.

  51. phrawzty says:

    I will always wonder what happened with this game. The tone of the story changed abruptly and radically.

    As it turns out, the game was supposed to be three games, each released in portions as episodic content. This, of course, never happened, so they quite literally had to chop two games’ worth of content from the story arc – which, of course, resulted in the disjointed mess of which you speak.

    So now you know. :)

  52. Daemian Lucifer says:


    The one with tifany is when youre alive(and she as well),and makes perfect sense.Plus,its a very emotional scene(whatever path you choose,with or without the sex).The one with carla is just…sick.

  53. Simplex says:

    I think none mentioned that Fahrenheit (yep, I’m european) has three different endings. They can be found on youtube:

    Also, there is a Fahrenheit Post Mortem on 1up and gamasutra:
    (all links courtesy of Wikipedia)

  54. BlackBloc says:

    I remember playing that game, and enjoying it (on a mechanical level) but I didn’t remember the story. I think I understand why now. My brain must have shut down during play in order to preserve my sanity.

  55. Barachiel says:

    I loved the first half of Fahrenheit and the second half, while not as bad for me as it was for you, did through me for a loop.

    Doing some online research, I found out that Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy was supposed to be a TRILOGY. But Quantric Dreams lost their original publisher and the series was in jeapordy. Eventually Atari rode to their rescue but would only agree to publish a single game for them. The original game concept ended on a cliffhanger. Knowing that would never fly as the odds of seeing the other two games produced dropped to slim and none, QD and David Cage rewrote the last Act of the game to be a hyper condensed version of the entire plotlien. They KNEW it was a mess, but it was the only way to get a complete story out of the thing without having to rewrite what had already been completed up to that point as well. In the article, David basically apologized for what had happened.

  56. halka says:

    i think i’ll try this out, if just for the grins.

  57. mixmastermind says:

    The parts of that game that really freaked me out were the first-person sequences with Carla. There was such a palpable sense of claustrophobia and paranoia from those sequences, especially the Insane asylum one.

  58. Colmarr says:

    Just came across this review after following some links and even though the discussion is long over, I feel compelled to defend Farhenheit (the Australian release title for Indigo Prophecy).

    As far as I’m concerned, the only problem with the game is the Purple Clan, which seemed cludgy and a genre break from the rest of the game.

    Otherwise, my understanding is that the game is based on Mayan theology, which does include Chroma and the Indigo Child.

    Farhenheit is ultimately a game about what would happen if Mayan mythology came to pass in a modern-day setting, and I think it does a pretty marvelous job of representing its target storyline.

    It’s worth noting that according to Wikepedia “GameSpot said “Fahrenheit gives the term ‘cinematic gameplay’ some context, as well as some real heartfelt meaning. But where the game truly shines is in its story, which is a deep, captivating, and sometimes disturbing tale”. It received both the Best Story and Best Adventure Game award for 2005 from the site, as well as being nominated for 4 others.”

    As for the “zombie sex”, I think that’s a case of people judging the games mythology through their own cultural bias. Lucas isn’t a zombie. He’s simply something that’s outside our concept of alive or dead.

    Overall I think Quantic Dream achieved something revolutionary with this game, and I think it’s well worth reading the developers post-mortem at:

  59. Lex Icon says:

    Ok, so now that Heavy Rain is close to release and more is known about it, do you think we’ll see more of the same weirdness or will it be Indigo Prophecy “done right”?

    I’m hoping for the former, but fearing the latter.

  60. Joe Cool says:

    Hm. I hope you read comments on posts this old, Shamus.

    Just to let you know, with the new site theme, the links to cycle the pages of the article appear at the very, very, very bottom of the page, AFTER all the comments and AFTER the combox. Maybe you want to fix that to make them easier to find?

    1. Shamus says:

      Thanks. Removed the pagination.

  61. Simplex says:

    Initial reviews of Heavy Rain seem quite promising. I hope you will have a chance of playing (and blogging/twittering) about this game.

  62. plugav says:

    The Invisibles? Who are group of homeless people fighting a worldwide conspiracy? Seriously?
    I looks as though someone had just read “The Invisibles” and thought, “Screw this occult criminal bullsh*t, let’s just rip off Grant Morrison!”
    Except in Morrison’s comic it all made sense (or at least, if you listen to him long enough, he’ll convince you it did).

  63. Peter says:

    And Heavy Rain has the same problems… MASSIVE plot holes

  64. Unbeliever says:

    Re the Purple Clan:

    Do you have *ANY* *IDEA* of the enormous potential one could gain from networking a thousand Commodore 64’s?

    You could have an ENTIRE GIGAHERTZ of processing speed.

    With that much raw power, one man truly could… run his cellphone.

  65. MelTorefas says:

    I never saw this series of posts by Shamus, but oh MAN am I glad he linked to them. This was a fantastic read.

  66. Brittany says:

    I don’t know why everyone loves the first act. Why would I want to investigate a murder that I just committed with a different character? I already know exactly what happened, so being a homicide detective after the fact was repetitive and boring. Also, I can’t believe the developers thought it would be a good idea to make players go through everyday mundane activities, such as going to the bathroom. Seriously? If I wanted to play SIMS, I would. Games are meant to be an escape. Indigo Prophecy is probably the worst game I’ve ever played.

  67. Drake says:

    I completly agree with you!In fact,I actually tought that the first part of the videogame was interesing,with some “unexpected things” (the MC killing a person off like that at the very start wasn’t common at that “moment” when the videogame came),raising questions and etc.And then we get the whole “Indigo Child” plot,Lucas the God-inmortal character,a main character whose name I don’t remember that dissapeared out of nowhere,Carla falling in love for Lucas after meeting him for just AN HOUR!AND THIS IS NOT A JOKE!
    DBZ might have had huge plotholes and at times it didn’t even make sense,but Indigo Prophecy really wins the prize when it comes to:”Most confusing stories ever made”. (No to mention the HORRIBLE QTE!)

  68. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog!

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  69. mwchase says:

    I’ve got some suspicions about how legitimate “online shopping” there is. For one, there’s a donate button right… way down in the sidebar. What did this article do to the page layout?

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