If you have played a Zachtronics game before, there is a high chance you enjoyed the puzzles and went on to play more Zachtronics titles to get more puzzles to stretch your braincase. So it might be slightly surprising that the next title is not a puzzle game, but a visual novel.
In Eliza, you are tasked with reading from a script created by an AI therapist. You play as Evelyn Ishino-Aubrey, and your current job has you reading from scripts that Eliza created to help people who are looking for cheaper help via the computerised therapist program.
“Is Eliza a technological marvel that brings therapy to those who otherwise couldn’t access it. Or is it an ineffective replacement and another vector for technology companies to gain control over our lives and humanity?”
Evelyn has to confront this question and her own internalised issues while she helps people around Seattle who have turned to the low-cost service.
It sounds interesting, which is probably why studio founder Zach Barth has taken these ideas and given them space to grow. While it might be a departure from the normal head-scratching puzzles, the fact that Zachtronics’ writer, narrative designer and composer Matthew Senji Burns pitched the idea while working on Opus Magnum might allay some fears.
Eliza is planned to launch on Steam on 12 August.