Not many games are set in Canada, and fewer still are set in Canada’s past. But the upcoming narrative title Two Falls (Nishu Takuatshina) is looking to change that. Set in 17th Century Canada, the game explores the perspectives of two characters: Jeanne, a shipwrecked girl from the French colonies, and Maikan, an Innu forced to travel westward by the advent of a deadly illness striking his people.
In contrast to many games about Indigenous people, Two Falls is being created by a team that includes Indigenous developers. Indie studio Unreliable Narrators is also taking narrative advice and guidance from an Elder Council as they tell the intertwining stories of Jeanne and Maikan, two very different characters who have very different relationships to the land. To Jeanne, the forests of what would later be known as Canada are unfamiliar and frightening — to Maikan, they’re simply home.
Unreliable Narrators released a new video teaser for Two Falls earlier today, and the environments look great. Rather than try to render the world in a photorealistic style, the studio has instead opted for a more stylized, painterly aesthetic, with crashing waterfalls and crackling fires that look like brushstrokes. Jeanne and Maikan, with their divergent perspectives and experiences, literally see the world in different ways.
Any game or piece of media about historical events is potentially fraught, especially those about mass atrocity — but they also have the potential to tell important stories. Canada still enjoys something of a reputation as a peaceful and welcoming country due to its proximity to the United States and the latter’s well-documented history of genocide, enslavement, and state violence, but Canada has its own ongoing history of colonization and genocide that frequently gets glossed over. As a game set during the early days of European colonization, Two Falls seems like it’s interested in actually dealing with that history, rather than simply using it as set dressing.
Two Falls is currently set to launch on Steam in fall 2023.