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Over the years, dark dystopian futures of the world plunged into a depression at the hands of late stage capitalism are more and more frequent. However, in the last 30 years or so these worst case scenarios have grown to feel increasingly inevitable. The Last Worker is one of those stories, and is very clearly an observation on where we are headed if a company like Amazon gets their way.
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In The Last Worker you play as Kurt (voiced by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), the last man standing at a fulfilment centre who has had to witness the whole factory become completely automated excluding him. From my brief time with the game, I never quite figured out why Kurt was still going except for him simply being really good at his job.
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The opening of the game has you going through the mechanics and controls of the game via a tutorial that is not only thorough but also expertly weaved into the plot. The Last Worker is a VR game at the end of the day, so a good tutorial is always handy, and in this you have complete control over your motion as you hover about in a cart. So getting to grips with that may take a second.
The tutorial also does a great job of showing what Kurts day to day is, and despite teaching you the controls of the game, it is intentionally dull. The character interactions are very interesting, which is what gets you through this opening area, but it perfectly captures what Kurt’s life has become.
The Last Worker: Voice Cast
The biggest standout from our short time with the game during our preview was the quality of voice actors starring in the game. We have already mentioned Ólafur Darri Ólafsson who is voicing the main character Kurt, but it doesn’t just stop there. The Last Worker also features Jason Isaacs, Clare-Hope Ashitey, David Hewlett, Tommie Earl Jenkins and Zelda Williams.
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Actors of this calibre, and experience help add gravity to the situation, but also help with some of the comedy in the game. Despite this bleak future, there are still moments that will make you chuckle, especially the dynamic between Kurt and Skew (Jason Isaacs). Skew is one of the robots that works within the facility, that clearly something has gone wrong with, but acts as company for Kurt in this isolated existence.
We didn’t get to meet all of the characters in our preview but from what we did see they were all being delivered with a finesse and quality that only elevates the game’s story.
We spoke more with Jason Isaacs about Skew, working with the games director Jörg and more here.
The Mystery of The Last Worker
What is most compelling here is where the narrative is headed. During our preview, it became very clear that something was beginning to go wrong, and not just the grim dystopia the world has fallen into. Some of the robots began to act in a strange way, and even in our short time with The Last Worker, it’s very clear there is more here than meets the eye.
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There is also more to Kurt than meets the eye, so hopefully we will get to learn more about him, why he is still there and his past during the game. Kurt is a reality that hopefully we don’t have to experience but is completely feasible. During the tutorial, when you’re experiencing Kurts working day, it’s not only mundane but for anyone who has worked in retail it’s frighteningly familiar.
The World of The Last Worker
Anything that is in VR needs to perfectly capture the atmosphere that it’s trying to capture. The Last Worker does this incredibly well, opting for a cell shaded style akin to the Borderlands games. In VR this art style looks great, sometimes realistic looking games can struggle in VR, but the visuals here stand out and it’s because of the art style.
The world is inspired by concept art from Mick McMahon, the artist behind Judge Dredd, so bringing to life his vision will be part of why this world feels so perfectly captured and fully realised.
As long as the gameplay can remain interesting throughout to support what appears to be a fascinating story, then The Last Worker looks to be a great experience. One that we can’t wait to explore more when it releases on the 30th of March on PlayStation 5, PSVR 2, Steam and Nintendo Switch.