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It looks astonishing too. After the studio advertised a number of narrative designer roles last year, the expectation is for a major story overhaul, with regular plot updates added through the year. According to Eurogamer , social areas will now include an element of gunplay, breaking down the barriers between different facets of the game. French studio Quantic Dream Heavy Rain , Beyond Two Souls often draws criticism for its grandiloquent, highly intellectualised approach to game design, but its projects are always interesting and gorgeous to look at.

This neo-noir tale of sentient androids on the loose in a near-future America is no exception. Release: likely late The clever anlogue controls give you precise control over your weapon and shield, allowing for a uniquely tactile combat experience. Release: 14 February. Due later this year however, it will segue nicely with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

Players will switch between different members of the eccentric cast, flying through space and getting into trouble. Release: TBC. Originally conceived as a 2D puzzler, GNOG has since transformed into a delightfully surreal 3D puzzle adventure set within the heads of vast robotic monsters. Each cranium has its own rules, mechanics and visual style, and the whole thing is weirdly beautiful. The footage shown at E3 last year has piqued the interest of newcomers in addition to confirmed god-battering mega fans.

The futuristic gravity-manipulating adventure is returning with a more detailed and interactive city and two new types of gravity power. Lead character Kat can now also tag-team with her ally Raven as they investigate the weird gravitational waves messing up Hekseville. Each of the areas has a number of people and items to find, and players often have to open doors, or move objects to locate them, making this a beautifully tactile experience.

Successfully Kickstarted in , Home Free is effectively an open-world canine survival sim, in which you play as a stray dog lost in a big city. Dog lovers will doubtless sit and stay in front of this for hours. Easily one of the most anticipated mainstream console titles of the year, Horizon sees nomadic hunter Aloy battling huge robot dinosaurs for survival amid the ruins of a wrecked civilisation. Fully supporting the 4K and HDR extras of PS4 Pro, this could be a landmark visual experience as well as a compelling combat adventure.

Release: 28 February. Young adventurers Nessa and Demelza must discover the secrets of a strange island while riding their bikes and recruiting weird new friends, including a pet goose. The game that will see out the Wii U and welcome in the Nintendo Switch is an epic rethinking of the Zelda recipe with an open world, a full physics engine and an intriguing survival element.

Link will have to find food, items and weapons to progress through Hyrule and defeat the latest incarnation of series antagonist Ganon. Release: likely spring. Little Nightmares is a puzzle platformer set in a horrible world, asking players to guide Six through an oversized underwater lair called The Maw. A clever combination of roguelike and collectible card game, Loot Rascals has you fighting monsters on a distant planet, earning loot cards from defeated foes.

Imagine Dark Souls crossed with Nuclear Throne but in a visual universe inspired by a cool new Cartoon Network animation. The science fiction role-playing adventure returns, years after Mass Effect 3, with a whole new cast of characters looking to find a home planet in a distant galaxy. Release: 23 March. Mineko and Abe the Cat want to set up a stall in a magical night market but first they must spend their days searching the forest for valuable items to sell. The original two-player sword-fighting game was a minimalist masterpiece, its sparse pixelated backdrops and pure fencing action providing a tense and exciting competition.

The sequel amps up the graphical fidelity and combat options considerably, giving a new, almost cartoonish look. College dropout Mae Borowski returns to the sleepy town she grew up in and finds a familiar collection of misfits, weirdos and old routines — but there is also something new hiding out there in the woods.

This side-scrolling adventure is populated entirely by anthropomorphised animals, and the smart, funny dialogue makes it feel like Twin Peaks, Gilmore Girls and a really smart Pixar animation rolled into one interactive independent movie. Release: February. Another post-apocalyptic survival game, this time a turn-based strategy set in the aftermath of an alien invasion. Players must manage small groups of survivors as they travel across the country, looting burned out cars, fighting monsters and just keeping each other alive. The simple mechanics hide a tactically complex challenge filled with difficult decisions and horrible sacrifices.

Incredibly engrossing. Persona 5 Atlus; PS4. The Persona series from Atlus has always achieved cult success in the West, and finally the latest instalment is set for an international release after a successful launch in Japan last year. Release: 4 April. Billed as a reboot of the acclaimed sci-fi shooter, Prey is a first-person adventure set aboard a space station seething with alien monsters. Expect a huge open world populated by merciless gunslingers, and an interconnected multiplayer experience resembling GTA Online.

Release: autumn First announced in under the working title Echoes of Siren, Rime has certainly been through the development treadmill, swapping from Xbox to PlayStation development before resurfacing last year under a new publisher. A single-player puzzle adventure following a young boy stranded on a mysterious island, Rime has a lovely visual style and a minimalist approach to story-telling.

His third brother had moved away to Manhattan, into the Village, because he said he needed to be free and find himself. So that left only Vincent, his mother, and his two younger sisters, Maria and Bea short for Beata , who were still in school. Between them they shared three rooms, high up in a block of buildings like a barracks. His windows looked out on nothing but walls, and there was the strangest, most disturbing smell, which no amount of cleaning could ever quite destroy. Hard to describe it, this smell; hard to pin it down.

Sometimes it seemed like drains, sometimes like a lack of oxygen, and sometimes just like death, the corpse of some decaying animal buried deep in the walls. Whichever, Vincent wanted out. He would have given anything. But there was no chance. How could there be? He could never abandon his mother. Here he paused. Then he paused again, pursing his lips, and he cast down his eyes. He looked grave. It was the guts of winter, bitter cold. But he would not protect himself.

Not on Saturday night, not on display at Odyssey. When he kissed his mother good-bye and came down onto Fourth, strutting loose, he wore an open-necked shirt, ablaze with reds and golds, and he moved through the night with shoulders hunched tight, his neck rammed deep between his shoulder blades in the manner of a miniature bull. A bull in Gucci-style loafers, complete with gilded buckle, and high black pants tight as sausage skins. Shuffling, gliding, stepping out.

On the corner, outside Najmy Bros. So Vincent stopped still, and he stared, a gaze like a harpoon, right between the eyes. Later where? Later how? It was not quite his own. But he drawled it out just right. A hint of slur, the slightest taste of spit. And moved away. So slick and so sly that the dude never knew what hit him. Two blocks farther on, Joey was waiting in the car. Nobody talked and nobody smiled.

Each scrunched into his own private space; they all held their distance, conserved their strength, like prizefighters before a crucial bout. The Dodge groaned and rattled. The radio played Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Everything else was silence, and waiting. John James and Eugene worked in a record store; Gus was a house painter. As for Joey, no one could be sure. Not now. All that counted was the moment. And for the moment, riding out toward Odyssey, they existed only as Faces. According to Vincent himself, they were simply the elite. All over Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, even as far away as New Jersey, spread clear across America, there were millions and millions of kids who were nothing special.

Just kids. Professional dummies, going through the motions, following like sheep. School, jobs, routines. A vast faceless blob. And then there were the Faces. The Vincents and Eugenes and Joeys. A tiny minority, maybe two in every hundred, who knew how to dress and how to move, how to float, how to fly. Sharpness, grace, a certain distinction in every gesture. Odyssey was their home, their haven. It was the place, the only disco in all Bay Ridge that truly counted. Months ago there had been Revelation; six weeks, maybe two months, on, there would be somewhere else.

Right now there was only Odyssey. It was a true sanctuary. Once inside, the Faces were unreachable. Nothing could molest them. They were no longer the oppressed, wretched teen menials who must take orders, toe the line. Here they took command, they reigned. The basic commandments were simple. To qualify as an Odyssey Face, an aspirant need only be Italian, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, with a minimum stock of six floral shirts, four pairs of tight trousers, two pairs of Gucci-style loafers, two pairs of platforms, either a pendant or a ring, and one item in gold.

In addition, he must know how to dance, how to drive, how to handle himself in a fight. He must have respect, even reverence, for Facehood, and contempt for everything else. He must also be fluent in obscenity, offhand in sex. Most important of all, he must play tough. There was no overlapping. Italians were Italian, Latins were greaseballs, Jews were different, and blacks were born to lose. Each group had its own ideal, its own style of Face.

But they never touched. If one member erred, ventured beyond his own allotted territory, he was beaten up. That was the law. There was no alternative. Then there were girls. But they were not Faces, not truly. Sometimes, if a girl got lucky, a Face might choose her from the crowd and raise her to be his steady, whom he might one day even marry. But that was rare. In general, the female function was simply to be available.


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To decorate the doorways and booths, to fill up the dance floor. Speak when spoken to, put out as required, and then go away. In short, to obey, and not to fuss. Fuss, in fact, was the one thing in life that Faces loathed most of all. Vincent, for example.

The moment that anyone started to argue, to flush and wave his hands, he would simply turn his back and start walking. No matter what the circumstance, there could be no excuse for whining. It was not clean. It made him sick at his stomach. That was why he loved to dance, not talk.

In conversation, everything always came out wrong, confused. But out on the floor it all somehow fell into place. There was no muddle, nothing that could not be conveyed. Just so long as your feet made the right moves, kept hitting the right angles, you were foolproof. There were certain rules, watertight. Only obey them, and nothing could go wrong. Sometimes, it was true, people did not understand that. Some outsider would stumble in, blundering. And that could be ruinous. Absolutely disastrous. Because the whole magic of the night, and of Odyssey, was that everything, everyone, was immaculate.

No detail was botched, not one motion unconsidered. A sacrament. In their own style, the Faces were true ascetics: stern, devoted, incorruptible. So they gathered in strict formation, each in his appointed place, his slot upon the floor. And they danced. He had come on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and when he descended into Bay Ridge itself, he found himself in a dead land. There were auto shops, locked and barred; transmission specialists, alignment centers.

Only railroads and junkyards, abandoned car seats, hubcaps, tires, scattered by the side of the road. A wasteland. It was another frozen night and, when he climbed out of the car, the sidewalks were so icy that he slithered at every step. Guard dogs snapped and leaped in the darkness, and sleet whipped at his eyes. So he huddled deeper, tighter, into his overcoat, and set off toward a small red light at the farthest end of the street. This was Odyssey. On the step outside, Vincent stood waiting, smoking, and did not seem to feel the cold at all.

His hair was blow-waved just so, his toe caps gleaming. Brut behind his ears, Brut beneath his armpits. And a crucifix at his throat.

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Inside, Odyssey was as vast and still as a Saturday-night cathedral. Music blared from the speakers, colored lights swirled back and forth across the dance floor. But no one answered their call. Perhaps a dozen girls sat waiting, on plastic seats, in scalloped booths. Four Faces in shiny suits stood at the bar, backs turned to the floor.

The manager standing by the door scratched himself. That was all. Then the music changed to Baby Face, and a boy in a red-patterned shirt began to dance alone. He came out of nowhere, down from the tiers of seats at the very back of the hall, the bleachers, which were completely shrouded in darkness. Skinny, shrimpfish, he stood out in the very center of the floor, caught by the swirling lights, and did one half of the Rope Hustle. Only half, of course, because the Rope Hustle cannot really be performed without a partner. So he twirled in irregular circles, his arms twining and unfurling about his neck, vaguely as if he were trying to strangle himself.

And the Faces at the bar, without even seeming to look, began to snigger. Hearing mockery, the boy flushed and lowered his eyes, but he did not back down. For twenty minutes, half an hour, he kept on spinning, wheeling, in total isolation. Not yet. But he calls himself Dean. A very weird guy. When at last the boy came off the floor, he sat down at the bar and stared directly ahead, towards the mirror. Then he wiped his lips and went straight back on the floor, still all alone, as if to resume a vigil. When the music turned to Wake Up Everybody, he spun too fast, lost control, stumbled.

Then Vincent sighed and shook his head. Twisted it until it snapped. Because he was drunk, and he hated me. Not one tear. Gradually, the floor began to fill; the night embarked in earnest. The girls emerged from their booths, formed ranks, and began to do the Bus Stop. A band appeared in blue denim suits embossed with silver studding. Blacks from Crown Heights, who played as loudly and as badly as anyone possibly could, grinning, sweating, stomping, while the dancers paraded beneath them, impassive.

One after another the stock favorites came churning out. Nobody looked and no one ever applauded. Still, the band kept pounding away, kept right on grinning. We pay, and they perform. Outside, his companions sat in the car, Joey and Gus in the front, Eugene and John James in the back, drinking whiskey from a bottle in a paper bag.

They still made no conversation, did not relax. But as the alcohol hit, they started to mumble. Sometime after ten, feeling ready, they stepped out on the sidewalk and moved toward Odyssey in a line, shoulder to shoulder, like gunslingers. Heads lowered, hands thrust deep in their pockets, they turned into the doorway. They paused for just an instant, right on the brink.

Vincent was already at work on the floor. By now the Faces had gathered in force, his troops, and he worked them like a quarterback, calling out plays. He set the formations, dictated every move. If a pattern grew ragged and disorder threatened, it was he who set things straight. Under his command, they unfurled the Odyssey Walk, their own style of massed Hustle, for which they formed strict ranks. Sweeping back and forth across the floor in perfect unity, 50 bodies made one, while Vincent barked out orders, crying One, and Two, and One, and Tap. And Turn, and One, and Tap.

And Turn. And Tap. And One. They were like so many guardsmen on parade; a small battalion, uniformed in floral shirts and tight flared pants. No one smiled or showed the least expression. Above their heads, the black musicians honked and thrashed. But the Faces never wavered. Number after number, hour after hour, they carried out their routines, their drill. Absolute discipline, the most impeccable balance.

On this one night, even Vincent, who was notoriously hard to please, could find no cause for complaint. At last, content in a job well done, he took a break and went up into the bleachers, where he sat on a small terrace littered with empty tables and studied the scene at leisure, like a general reviewing a battlefield. From this distance, the action on the floor seemed oddly unreal, as though it had been staged.

A young girl in green, with ash-blond hair to her shoulders, stood silhouetted in a half-darkened doorway, posed precisely in left profile, and blew a smoke ring. Two Faces started arguing at the bar, fists raised. The dancers chugged about the floor relentlessly, and the band played Philadelphia Freedom. Sometimes she feels so bad.

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If I was rich, I could buy her a house, somewhere on the Island, and she could take it easy. Chickens in the yard. A grand piano. And blue sky. Down below, without his presence to keep control, the order was beginning to fall apart. Around the fringes, some of the dancers had broken away from the mainstream and were dabbling in experiments, the Hustle Cha, the Renaissance Bump, even the Merengue. Vincent looked pained.

But he did not intervene. A fight broke out. From outside, it was not possible to guess exactly how it started. But suddenly Gus was on his back, bleeding, and a Face in a bright-blue polka-dot shirt was banging his head against the floor. Then someone else jumped in, and someone else.

After that there was no way to make out anything beyond a mass of bodies, littered halfway across the floor. Vincent made no move; it was all too far away. Remote in his darkness, he sipped at a Coca-Cola and watched. The band played You Sexy Thing and one girl kept screaming, only one.


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In time, the commotion subsided, the main participants were ushered outside to complete their negotiations in private. Those left behind went back to dancing as if nothing had happened, and the band played Fly, Robin, Fly. John James, the Double J, appeared on the terrace, lean and gangling, with a chalky white face and many pimples. There was blood beneath his nose, blood on his purple crepe shirt. So the night moved on. The Double J talked about basketball, records, dances. Then he talked about other nights, other brawls.

The music kept playing and the dancers kept on parading. But he did not respond. He was still thinking about his mother. Somebody threw a glass which shattered on the floor. And Tap, and Turn, and Tap. Bojangles, I think it was. And by then I was too late. Maybe I still loved her.

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Not when I knew the truth. Around two, the band stopped playing, the Faces grew weary, and the night broke up. Outside the door, as Vincent made his exit, trailed by his lieutenants, a boy and a girl were embracing, framed in the neon glow. And Vincent stopped; he stared. No more than two yards distant, he stood quite still and studied the kiss in closest detail, dispassionate, as though observing guinea pigs.

The couple did not look up and Vincent made no comment. Down the street, Joey was honking the car horn. It was then that something strange occurred. Across the street, in the darkness beyond a steel-mesh gate, the guard dogs still snarled and waited. Gus and Eugene stood on the curb directly outside the gate, laughing, stomping their feet. They were drunk and it was late.

They felt flat, somehow dissatisfied. And suddenly they threw themselves at the steel wires, yelling. The guard dogs went berserk. Howling, they reared back on their hind legs, and then they hurled themselves at their assailants, smashing full force into the gate. Gus and Eugene sprang backwards, safely out of reach. So the dogs caught only air. And the Faces hooted, hollered. They made barking noises, they whistled, they beckoned the dogs toward them.

Even from across the street, the man in the suit could hear the thud of their bodies, the clash of their teeth on the wires. Gus sat down on the sidewalk, and he laughed so much it hurt. He clasped his sides, he wiped away tears. And Eugene charged once more. He taunted, he leered, he stuck out his tongue. Then he smacked right into the fence itself, and this time the dogs flung back with such frenzy, such total demonic fury, that even the steel bonds were shaken and the whole gate seemed to buckle and give.

That was enough. Somewhat chastened, though they continued to giggle and snicker, the Faces moved on. Behind them, the dogs still howled, still hurled themselves at the wires. But the Faces did not look back. When they reached the car, they found Vincent already waiting, combing his hair. Inside Odyssey, there was no more music or movement, the dance floor was deserted. Saturday night had ended, and Vincent slouched far back in his corner. His eyes were closed, his hands hung limp. He felt complete. Another Saturday night.

Easing down on Fifth and Ovington, Joey parked the car and went into the pizza parlor, the Elegante. Vincent and Eugene were already waiting. So was Gus. But John James was missing. Two nights before he had been beaten up and knifed, and now he was in the hospital. It was an old story. He had bought pasta and salad, toilet paper, a six-pack of Bud, a package of frozen corn, gum, detergent, tomato sauce, and four TV dinners. Paid up. Combed his hair in the window. Then went out into the street, cradling his purchases in both arms.

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As he emerged, three Latins—Puerto Ricans—moved across the sidewalk toward him and one of them walked straight through him. Caught unawares, he lost his balance and his bag was knocked out of his arms, splattering on the curb. Produce scattered everywhere, rolling in the puddles and filth. The frozen corn spilled into the gutter, straight into some dog mess; and the Latins laughed.

So he bent down and began to pick up the remnants. And the moment he did, of course, the Latins jumped all over him. The rest was hazy. He could remember being beaten around the head, kicked in the sides and stomach, and he remembered a sudden sharp burn in his arm, almost as though he had been stung by an electric wasp.

Then lots of shouting and scuffling, bodies tumbling all anyhow, enormous smothering weights on his face, a knee in the teeth. Then nothing. In the final count, the damage was three cracked ribs, a splintered cheekbone, black eyes, four teeth lost, and a deep knife cut, right in the meat of his arm, just missing his left bicep.

Judgment passed, the Faces finished their pizzas, wiped their lips, departed. Later on, of course, there would have to be vengeance, the Latins must be punished. For the moment, however, the feeling was of excitement, euphoria. As Eugene hit the street, he let out a whoop, one yelp of absolute glee. Saturday night, and everything was beginning, everything lay ahead of them once more. But Vincent hung back, looked serious. Once again he had remembered a line, another gem from the screen. But he had his pride. And his pride was his law.

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Donna loved Vincent, had loved him for almost four months. Week after week she came to Odyssey just for him, to watch him dance, to wait. Though Vincent never danced with her, she would not dance with anyone else. Her patience was infinite. Hands folded in her lap, knees pressed together, she watched from outside, and she did not pine. In her own style she was satisfied, for she knew she was in love, really, truly, once and for all, and that was the thing she had always dreamed of.

Donna was nineteen, and she worked as a cashier in a supermarket over toward Flatbush. As a child she had been much too fat. For years she was ashamed. But now she felt much better. If she held her breath, she stood five-foot-six and only weighed pounds. Secure in her love, she lived in the background. Vincent danced, and she took notes. He laughed, and she was glad. Other girls might chase him, touch him, swarm all over him.

Still she endured, and she trusted. And one Saturday, without any warning, Vincent suddenly turned toward her and beckoned her onto the floor, right in the middle of the Odyssey Walk, where she took her place in the line, three rows behind him, one rank to the left.