The third I Expect You To Die game, Cog In The Machine, is on the way and we've gone hands-on with its first puzzles.
The developers at Schell are looking to build a richer world for the I Expect You To Die series with more story and depth backing up their particular brand of puzzling. The effort really kicked into gear with 2021's Spy And The Liar as Wil Wheaton voiced antagonist John Juniper in the sequel to the 2016 original. In our review, we noted the expanding scope of the series and teased that we'd be looking forward to what Schell does to build it out further with I Expect You To Die 3:
In many virtual worlds it is easy to get the sense your surroundings are paper-thin cardboard creations, but I Expect You To Die 2’s details push that notion entirely out of its reality to provide a rock-solid sense of total transportation.
Elsewhere, the studio is still expanding its first multiplayer VR experience, Among Us VR, with new content, and Until You Fall explores active single-player gameplay. The I Expect You To Die series, though, is building on a successful formula of spy-themed puzzles that both surprise and frustrate players on a try-again path through unexpected booby traps.
In case you're unfamiliar, every level in an I Expect You To Die game puts you in a new spy-themed setting. There's fast moving vehicles and heists, masks, lasers, poison and the constant threat of unexpected plots to kill you. You progress through levels through trial and error – surrounded by objects you can pull toward you with telekinesis to examine up close. Typically, you just toss it in a pile and start messing with something else until you figure out how it'll help you progress further in the story.
From the moment I picked up the very first object in the game and looked out the window of a cliffside estate, I could see the effort to push things just a little further than last time. There seems to be just a little more to see here than in past installments – like the walls had been extended outward just a bit– so there's more to take in visually. When I grabbed a picture off the shelf it sparked a comment from The Handler – a "main-in-the-chair" type guide who is always commenting about your missions – and he seemed to reminisce at the sight of the photo featuring Doctor Roxana Prism, suggesting there's a lot to learn about the game's villain too.
Dr. Prism is showcased in the opening sequence video embedded above featuring an original song performed by Haley Reinhart, and the promo materials for the game focus on her and her affinity for robots:
Roxana Prism, Doctor of Engineering is a former inventor for the Agency and the genius behind the implant in your brain, which allows agents to use telekinesis. She has been an invaluable leader and inspiration for our agents and is currently enjoying a well-earned retirement.
Dr. Prism’s last project with the Agency was a robot meant to replace human agents. Her hope was to limit the number of fatalities in the field, but the project was ultimately deemed unsuccessful. The circumstances surrounding her departure after the robot initiative are classified but all parties involved are considered to have parted on good terms.
The Research and Development team at the Agency would not be what it is today without the technological advancements made by Dr. Prism. Ensuring her safety is a top priority for our team, as is keeping her legacy alive.
I won't spoil much, but by the end of the first level you get a sense of glimpse of Dr. Prism and, again, it's clear that Schell is looking to push forward just a little bit from the shadowy appearances of John Juniper in the last game. This is a game looking to create more richly realized cinematic Bond-like moments for the player in each new installment.
We'll have more coverage in weeks ahead as part of our Upload Access series looking at Schell Game's latest spy puzzler.