The original Not Tonight, released in 2018, drew a pretty grim pixel art picture of the European world, making for a distinctly anti-Brexit exploration of systemic racism. Now publisher No More Robots and developer Panic Barn are squaring their sights on American shores with Not Tonight 2.
Not Tonight 2 is set in a not-entirely-alternate universe where American society has all but Mad Max’d its way into the toilet. Lady Liberty is underwater in the New York harbor, Miami has traded nightlife glitz for gulags, and churches have taken a few hints from Las Vegas on how to draw in a flock.
As for how you’ll be spending time in this nightmare, your friend Eduardo has been nabbed by the cops and is awaiting deportation in a Miami gulag, and it’s up to three of his friends (all young adults of non-white races) to trek across the country and get his documents or risk losing their pal forever.
Much like the original game, you’ll pay your way across the country by working in nightclubs, chicken factories, churches, and good old fashioned cult compounds. It’s a mix of Papers, Please’s ID checking with visual novel and RPG mechanics, complete with various minigames meant to express just how screwed up the country has become. An overworld map has you moving from city to city, diner to diner, so I’m really curious how the game will grapple with the different kinds of discrimination a place like the south employs vs. the neoliberal NIMBY vibes of San Francisco. Not Tonight 2 is being written by three POC authors, so there’s hope the story will prove meaningful, or at least darkly entertaining.
In our review, Phil Iwaniuk noted that Not Tonight was a bit overly blunt about the big-picture racism on display in a post-Brexit world, but excelled at all the little moments that illustrate the casual discrimination that perpetuates things, including a bar owner who loves his immigrant employees because they’re “the good ones.” Not Tonight is currently 50% off Steam if you want to give it a go.
Not Tonight 2 is due out sometime this year.