It’s been nearly ten years since The Stanley Parable stuck a fork into our brains and twirled it around like a bowl of spaghetti. The first-person adventure, a seemingly simple story of an employee dutifully following an offscreen narrator’s instructions, quickly branched off into absurd, baffling, hilarious, and sometimes disturbing pathways as it explored the nature of choice and free will in video games.
“Effortlessly inventive, frequently surprising and consistently hilarious,” we said in our 2013 review. “The Stanley Parable shows how to make a story about game stories.”
And now here comes Stanley again, only new and improved. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe will put you in Employee 427’s shoes once again on April 27. Let the trailer above get you reacquainted with Stanley, a simple clerical worker who dutifully pushed buttons until one day he got out of his chair, left his office, and started pushing the limits of the strange world around him instead.
Ultra Deluxe is an “expanded reimagining” of The Stanley Parable, though seeing how the game taught us not to trust what we’re being told, it’s difficult to guess what that really means. It sounds like far more than a remastering of the original with some extra bits thrown in and a more like a chance for the developers to confuse us more, surprise us more, and to further mess with our brains and expectations.
“The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe dramatically expands the world of the original game with new content, new choices, and new secrets for you to uncover,” says Crows Crows Crows, before the press release becomes a tangled web of its own. “You will play as Stanley, and you will not play as Stanley. You will make a choice, and you will have your choices taken from you. The game will end, the game will never end.”
The developers say “the script for the new content is longer than the script for the original game,” an exciting yet harrowing thought. Once again, the delightful storybook voice stylings of Kevan Brighting will serve as Stanley’s narrator, though as in the original, the fun and confusion starts when you stop doing everything you’re told.
“We’ve been here before, haven’t we?” reads the game’s page on Steam. “Is Stanley still the same as he was back then? Or is it you who has changed?” Find out on April 27.