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Community Article: Indie Insights - The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe

Written by Euclidian Boxes

If you were in a room with two doors leading out of it and I asked you to take the left hand door, would you?

It'd probably depend on how well you know me, how much you trust me and so on. What if I told you to take the left door? You might have a rebellious streak or you might think there must be a reason for my insistence. What if I simply said that you took the left door as part of a narration of what you were currently doing? Suspicion may creep in about what choices you're actually making.

 

 

In The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe everything you do is commented on by an unseen narrator. He recounts your life as an office worker who pushes buttons he's told to push until one day you realise all your coworkers are missing and you go to see where they've gone.

 

 

 

 

To tell you much more would be to rob you of the main joy of the game. Discovering the different paths, the choices you can make and the unexpected outcomes are all what makes The Stanley Parable a real treat. Part choose your own adventure, part treatise on the illusion of choice in games. 

 

 

There were times in the game that I did something that I wouldn't have expected they would anticipate, but sure enough the narrator had something to say about it. Usually something funny, often critical and sometimes utterly maniacal. Kevan Brighting does an amazing job as the core pillar of the whole game. In lesser hands the game simply wouldn't work, but he makes every loop through The Stanley Parable feel fresh and exciting.

 

There will be a lot of loops. There are many endings. I've seen quite a few but there'll definitely be ones I've yet to find. Each choice you make, the left door the right door, splits your narrative down more branching paths. By the time you've added them up you've got more branches than HSBC.

 

 

It's this lure of the new that'll keep you trudging along the carpeted halls of Stanley's nondescript workplace. You absolutely cannot predict what your next choice will result in, only that there'll be a wittily sardonic comment about you and your place in the universe. There may even be a bucket.

 

There is a chance you've already played The Stanley Parable, it's been an indie darling since its release in 2013. You may be thinking "Well what does this Ultra Deluxe version offer me?" Besides the fact that you can play it portably on the Switch (and I suppose you could do that if you have a Steam Deck) there is a whole host of new content for veterans.

 

 

When you start you'll be asked if you've played the game before, if you say yes you'll come across the 'New Content' door sooner than playing otherwise. Once again though, to explain what you'll find would ruin the experience. Suffice to say it had me grinning from ear to ear. There are other bits which have definitely been updated since the original release as there are 'things' which didn't exist in 2013.

 

 

So you have a choice, keep repetitively pushing buttons, or take a stroll through the labyrinthine corridors of The Stanley Parable. By the end of it you'll be able to read this all back in the voice of the narrator and wonder if you really had a choice about picking left or right.