The X-Files Game is an adventure game for the PlayStation video game console, PC, and Macintosh and is based on the television series The X-Files. The series would inspire a second game, The X-Files: Resist or Serve.
The game takes place somewhere within the timeline of the third season of The X-Files series. The story follows a young Seattle-based FBI agent named Craig Willmore (played by Jordan Lee Williams) who is assigned by Assistant Director Walter Skinner to investigate the disappearance of agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who were last seen in the Everett, Washington area. Agent Willmore must use his state-of-the-art spy tools: night vision goggles, a digital camera, PDA (an Apple Newton), lock picks, evidence kit, a standard issue handgun, handcuffs and badge, to follow their trail. Along the way, he is partnered with a Seattle Police Department detective named Mary Astadourian (played by Paige Witte) and a minor subplot involves a relationship developing between the two.
Several of the actors from the TV series reprise their roles in the game, including David Duchovny (Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Scully), Mitch Pileggi (Skinner), Steven Williams (X) and - very briefly and depending upon the outcome of the game, William B. Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man). The game is set and was filmed in Seattle. The TV series actors filmed their relatively brief appearances in the game just before entering production on the feature film. The game's plotline involves aliens taking over the bodies of humans and contains many references to the show's mytharc. During the course of the game the "present day" date of April 1996 is displayed alongside certain locations, placing this "episode" before the season three episode "Wetwired" and after "Avatar", which take place April 27 and March 7 respectively. This time is also after the first incident with the alien black oil in the "Piper Maru" episode of Season Three.
The screenplay for X-Files The Game was written by Richard Dowdy, from a story by Chris Carter.
The game uses a point-and-click interface, uses full motion video technology called Virtual Cinema, and includes a large number of cut scenes. Included in the gameplay are numerous occasions in which the player can alter other character's attitudes and reactions depending upon responses and actions (or inactions). Dubbed "UberVariables", certain decisions made by the player can set them along one of three tracks: Paranoia (Willmore will start seeing things like twitching corpses and shadowy figures), Loss (messages from his ex-wife are kinder), and "The X-Track" (more details are revealed about mytharc-related conspiracies). The player can also affect Willmore's relationship with Astadourian positively and negatively based upon how he responds to her suggestions and ideas.
- The games developer, HyperBole Studios, had initially rejected the project when Fox approached them. They later became interested when they started to watch the show for themselves.
- The title's design document/DB was over 1000 pages, while the shooting script was 250+ pages.
- It was filmed between seasons of The X-Files and just before the feature film. Anderson and Duchovny were of course very busy, thus requiring the disappearance of Mulder and Scully and the introduction of the Willmore character.
- Around 6 hours of footage was filmed for the game.
- A former U.S. naval base, Sand Point, was used as the setting for the NSA facility at the end of the game.
- The boat used as the Tarakan is a training ocean going tug, which had previously been used in a drug smuggling plot.
- The 'melted blast effects' on the Tarakan were made using water-soluble paint, which caused havoc when it began to rain during filming."Tarakan" is Russian for cockroach.
- The game was filmed on Digital Betacam tape with Sony cameras and captured using Power Macintoshes running Adobe Premiere and Media 100.
Reviews of the game were mixed, with many critics complaining about the large number of discs required to load the game (7). For the follow-up game, The X-Files: Resist or Serve, a more conventional videogame playing style was employed, similar to the Resident Evil games.
The response from the mainstream and non-computer game press was quite positive, while many hard-core computer publications took the design to task for not allowing the player to control Mulder or Scully or for allowing a "more gameplay." Note the difference in these review scores:
- Science Fiction Weekly • Windows • Aug 26, 2002 • A out of A+ • 100
- Adventure Gamers • Windows • Mar 19, 2004 • 80
- PC Player (Denmark) • Windows • 1998 • 8 out of 10 • 80
- WomenGamers.com • Windows • Jul 02, 1999 • 5 out of 10 • 50
- GameSpot • PlayStation • Jun 19, 1998 • 5.1 out of 10 • 51
- Official Website
- The X-Files Game at MobyGames
- The X-Files Game at the Internet Movie Database
- Postmortem: The X-Files on Gamasutra