The Crush House challenges you to make a trashy 90s reality show

Making a mindless reality show is one thing. Keeping it on the air is another in this upcoming title from the makers of Card Shark.

Devolver Digital

The turn of the century was a simpler time. MTV, back in its glory days of relevancy, had begun shifting its focus to the novel new idea of reality television. Starting with The Real World and culminating with The Jersey Shore, reality TV's appeal was taking clashing personalities and putting them all together under one roof in the hope that fireworks would go off. Reality TV takes many different forms today, but Devolver Digital and Nerial (Card Shark, Reigns: Three Kingdoms) want to bring back the spirit of more classic trainwreck television with the average player taking the lead behind the camera in The Crush House.

The 12 possible cast members for The Crush House

Source: Devolver Digital

The Crush House takes place in the year 1999. The premise is that a TV network has set up an extravagant mansion in Malibu designed for four reality show contestants. Players select four out of twelve available cast members, who then live together in the big house. If the TV-viewing audience as a whole likes what they see, the show will return for multiple seasons. If they ratings plummet, players run the risk of the show getting canceled.

As the person behind the camera, players receive feedback from virtual audiences in real-time. That means players must be aware of what the audience wants, do their best to meet those desires, and also make sure to keep the revenue train going. That means occasionally running ads, which can be done while players move from spot-to-spot setting up the next interaction. Revenue not only keeps the show on the air, but it also allows players to purchase more props for the house. As is the case with nearly every reality show, the player must act as an outside force only. That means they cannot interfere with the production itself by interacting with any of the cast members.

As it turns out, The Crush House draws in all sorts of viewers, from conventional genre fans to people who generally like odder and more niche things. To help keep ratings up, players must keep up with the various objectives that pop up over the course of a filming day. Someone wants to see romance? Be sure to get that shot! Someone really likes that weird thing in the fridge? You're not there to critique anyone's taste, you're there to film. Even the strangest request can lead to a spike in viewership. Plus, players are encouraged to use their best judgment. If two cast members are getting in a slap fight, getting that on camera could lead to increased interest.

A slap fight unfolds in the middle of The Crush House

Source: Devolver Digital

Of course, The Crush House is a Devolver Digital-published joint, which often means things are bound to take a weird turn somewhere. After the filming day concludes, players are welcome to roam around the mansion grounds at night. There's a hint that something sinister is unfolding on the property, so over the course of the game, expect to learn more about the deeper mystery that drives The Crush House.

There's more to The Crush House as the game unfolds. Nighttime interactions will even include cast members breaking the rules and reaching out to make specific requests for the following day. The goal of keeping the show on the air will grow more and more challenging, especially as season finales inevitably lead to casting turnover.

The Crush House will look to be the hottest thing on TV later this year. It's targeting a 2024 release on PC.

This preview is based on an early PC version played during a private meeting with the publisher. The final product is subject to change.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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