Do you trust everything the media tells you? That is the question Headliner: NoviNews puts to you. You are the Headliner who gets to decide what is published, what becomes edited, and what is seen by the masses. With that being said, I openly welcome you to the news as told by you, for you to digest reflect and act upon. Headliner: NoviNews has been developed and published by Unbound Creations. It was released to the world on October 23rd, 2018 for the PC.
Controlling the Truth
In this fictional world that Unbound Creations have created, you are the headliner for the local news of Novistan. You control what gets published and what doesn’t. Every day you get to decide what agendas are brought to the forefront for the masses to soak up. Will you be the voice of change, fighting the good fight, or will you pursue a career to further your own agendas? These are questions you will be exploring whilst you play Headliner and see what effects the role has on the world around you.
At the heart of Headliner: NoviNews, you are taxed with the choosing and picking of stories to publish/not publish. These decisions all affect the story and the people around you. Whatever path you take, your actions have consequences. When the choices you have made come back around (and they do), you must live with the consequences. As the saying goes: “You’ve made your bed, now you have to lie in it.” If you decide to publish news on supporting an experimental new drug, consequences of that decision could go as follows: Either the drug works with the paper’s backing, or the drug will have disastrous consequences and suddenly your paper is to blame for the recommendation.
The People Around You
During my many tries at playing the game, I found myself in many situations that resulted from my many publication choices on the day-to-day of my playthrough. These decisions are best displayed through the supporting characters you associate with as you play. Each have their own agenda that they focus on, and as the story unfolds, they evolve along with it. To describe what kind of issues occur would be spoiling it, but they really made me think about them and to not just take them at face value. They help you relate to the stories that are being published by putting faces to the issues that are being reported. For me, I tried to be unbiased in my decision-making on what to publish and not publish. But the developers have taken this into consideration, and sometimes that can have even worse consequences because sometimes the public doesn’t want unbiased decisions. They want support in their feelings, not a paper telling them they are wrong.
Will Make You Think
The true genius of this title is in how it makes you think about the issues in the fictional world of Novistead. One can argue that it is a reflection on issues that occur in our world as the topics on display can have some striking similarities. The impact of choices on the people around you will last for a long time as you see the story unfold before you. Depending on what you decided to publish/not publish, you can be the cause of it all. You have front row seats to either success or undeniable failure.
The game has quite a linear structure to it, which isn’t a bad thing. It opts for a branch in the road of scenarios and the “what if” outcomes. As I mentioned earlier, you control the news. All I could think when I was playing was, “I wonder how this will play out?, often resulting in interesting occurrences. But you can play this game multiple times, and chances are you’ll want to. Yes, the game lasts for about an hour each time you play (if you take the time to really pay attention the details of each story and talk with all the characters that you find). But when the game is done, you get to replay from the beginning to see how the choices before you pan out if you were to do things differently. And for the price of £7.50, I would consider this title to be an absolute must.
So the real question is: “What: kind of headliner do you want to be?”
Developer: Unbound Creations
Publisher: Unbound Creations
Release Date: 23rd October 2018