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Video Game / Late Shift

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You're a night watchman working at the local parking garage, it's pretty boring work and tonight is just as slow as ever. Best to just sit back and study while the hours tick away... until you notice something come up on the monitor. You investigate and before you know it you're being held at gunpoint by a gang of thieves intent on knocking over an auction house... and they need your help. So begins Late Shift, a 2017 interactive movie done entirely in live action that casts the players as protagonist Matt Thompson. A throwback to the Full Motion Video game genre.

Do you help the thieves with their job in exchange for a cut of the profits? Do you try to alert the police and bring them to justice? Are you willing to stick your neck out for other people or be a greedy bastard and only look out for yourself? A lot can happen with a single choice and players change the story with their decisions. Of course, its much better to experience the game firsthand rather than read about. It's available on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Steam so pick your poison and get on with your night.

Late Shift provides examples of:

  • Actually, I Am Him: Matt sneaks into the auction house to find out some important information and gets caught by a man who works there. He claims the man's colleague let him in and blurts out a name he overheard the receptionist say: Mr. Quinn. The man tells him to wait and then leaves. The credits reveal that the man Matt spoke to was Mr. Quinn which explains why he calls security on Matt.
  • Artistic License – History: May-Ling claims the Tchois want to reacquire a porcelain bowl that has been in their possession for over a thousand years. During the auction, the bowl is claimed to be of late Ming construction. The late Ming period is typically considered to be around the time the first Jesuit missionaries arrived in 1580, far shorter than the thousand years May-Ling describes. Even then, it assumes the Tchois had the bowl the entire time.
  • Auction: The first stage of the heist involves participating in one.
  • Asshole Victim: May-Ling's crew, Jeff included. None of them are nice guys and are perfectly willing to kill Matt after the job is done, regardless how well he performs. Suffice to say, no tears are shed when they all die in the crash.
  • Big Bad: Samuel Parr, who sets the entire plot in motion and manipulates every side of the conflict.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Sebastien calls Matt "whore" and "shithead" in French.
  • Character Development: Matt begins the story as an ordinary man caught up in events out of his control, but as the story goes on, he becomes more courageous, bold, and clever at thinking on his feet and if the player manages to achieve the Golden Ending, Matt becomes so clever he's able to fool a criminal mastermind into getting himself punished while Matt himself walks away with the money and his new girlfriend.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Elodie seems to have no connection to the main plot until Matt goes to the hospital and it turns out she works there. She either helps Matt find Sebastien or refuses to help depending on the player's actions.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Matt suffers this at the hands of the Chinese triad when they find out the cup he helped steal is a fake. How long this goes on for depends on player choices.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Matt overhears Dr. Brent say, "...the way he saturates it with his ego". This bit of dialogue is never explained and plays no role in the plot whatsoever.
  • Depending on the Writer: You are effectively the writer and decide how Matt behaves. The can mean that Matt's motivations and actions are entirely different between playthroughs (or within playthroughs).
  • Did Not Get the Girl: This happens in every ending apart from the Golden Ending. May-Ling is either killed or captured by the Tchois and Matt either dies, gets arrested or sells out to Parr for a million pounds. In the Golden Ending, Matt and May-Ling walk off together.
  • Dirty Coward: After recovering the real cup Matt has the option of abandoning May-Ling to the triad and keeping it for himself. The movie will give the player a few chances to back out of this, unlike almost every other choice in the game. Sticking to your decision to shaft May-Ling gets you a bad ending.
  • Dirty Old Man: The old man in the hospital sneaks in porn mags in his newspaper since he isn't allowed to get on the internet. This is what makes Matt realize how the real cup was switched out at the auction house.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Ultimately up to the player, but rescuing the woman Matt just met a few hours ago is the only way to get the Golden Ending.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all of the crap Matt is put through its possible to walk away with May-Ling and a ton of cash at the end of the movie. It's fairly hard to achieve but definitely worth it.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: If you choose to play it cool when a thug on the street accosts Matt, he'll briefly choke Matt before backing off to avoid the police, which reminds Matt of the man the thieves choked out earlier during the heist, and Matt then realizes that before being choked the man had been fiddling with the cabinet—so he must have been the one who switched the cups.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jeff has no problem with kidnapping and theft but notes that he's "not a murderer and doesn't intend to start now".
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The whole story just takes one night, and a few hours of the morning after.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Very possible depending on your choices, since you can make Matt either a cowardly pacifist or prone to violence.
    • Particularly evident with using the golf club to destroy Parr's valuables and potentially shooting him, which may not match at all with how you played Matt earlier.
  • Fall Guy: Matt becomes this in one of the bad endings: the Tchoi crime family murders May-Ling and frames Matt for it.
  • False Flag Operation: The initial gang believes their offscreen contact—who hired them for this particular heist—is an employee of Mr. Woe. But when Matt and May-Ling try to deliver the goods and collect their pay, Woe knows nothing about the heist and and doesn't want the Ming cup. Turns out the contact was actually working for the real Big Bad, Samuel Parr, and lying about his employer to divert suspicion.
  • Fingore: Matt getting his thumbs crushed in a torture device. How bad it gets depends on what the player says during the interrogation.
  • Golden Ending: Requires that the player return the cup to the triad while also exposing Parr as the guy who tried to screw everyone. Merely returning the cup or trying to save yourself leads to a Bitter Sweet Ending or a Downer Ending.
  • Golf Clubbing: Matt uses a golf club briefly during one of the endings where he smashes Samuel Parr's valuables to get him to reveal the location of the cup. In another ending Samuel Parr does this to Matt himself after smashing the cup and dooming May-Ling. Ouch.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: May-Ling is quick to warm up to Matt and eventually becomes his love interest after the two become the only members of the team that survive the car crash.
  • Hospital Hottie: Elodie.
  • Japanese Ranguage: A waiter at the Chinese restaurant has some trouble with L's and R's: "Memory... crearing..." It's likely he's deliberately exaggerating his accent, considering how much he plays stupid in the rest of the scene.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Jeff. He kidnaps Matt at gunpoint and drags Matt into the heist. However, Jeff does explain that he isn't murderer and he seems like a nice guy to Matt if he follows Jeff's orders during the heist. When the heist is done however, Jeff then seems fine with silencing Matt regardless of how well he followed Jeff's orders.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Regardless of the outcome, the Tchois are never punished for their crimes (unless not getting the cup back counts as punishment).
    • While Matt and May-Ling can avoid punishment for their heist, Matt can inexplicably avoid any legal repercussions if you have multiple witnesses through a botched heist or get interrogated by the police (and get broken out), then choose any of the endings where you aren't apprehended, especially "The Bribe".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Matt says "Oh come on!" if the player disagrees with him about selfishness at the very beginning. He later notes that "indecision has consequences" if the player does nothing.
  • MacGuffin: The priceless Ming Dynasty cup.
  • Meaningful Look: The look May-Ling gives Matt when she first meets him suggests an instant attraction.
  • MockGuffin: The Ming Dynasty cup stolen in the initial heist, turns out to be just a forgery. The last act involves Matt finding the real cup by confronting the person who made the swap.
  • Multiple Endings: Things can go poorly or smoothly depending on the choices made and many actions lead to Bittersweet or straight up Downer Endings.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: If Matt decides to do the right thing and attempt to ruin the heist or contact the police the game will punish the player for it, including having him arrested. Fortunately, neither action has particularly long term consequences afterwards.
  • Parking Garage: This is where Matt works at the beginning of the film. The plot kicks off when he gets kidnapped and roped into a heist by a car thief at gunpoint.
  • Plot Hole: How did Matt learn about the secret compartment in the chest? It's stated during the auction a foreshadowing, but when Matt interrogates Sebastien at the hospital, Sebastien tells it to Matt as new information and makes him promise not to reveal that he learned about it from him. If you skip the visit to Sebastien, Matt still knows about it in "The Delivery" ending.
  • Police Are Useless: Try to bring the cup to the police, and Matt will promptly get arrested, with the officers not only blowing off his (true) story of what happened, but accusing him of being part of the robbery from the very beginning and just chickening out, hence him going to the police. All this without so much as a background check on the guy or viewing the security footage of the parking garage he claims to work at, and while essentially mocking him to his face the whole time. You can't help but feel glad when the Tchois intercept his transport and take him away.
  • Replacement Goldfish: At first it seems that Elodie, the young woman who asks Matt for the keys to the Maserati, will be Matt's Love Interest. This doesn't happen because, no matter what the player does, she doesn't get the Maserati and May-Ling becomes the love interest for the rest of the game.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Matt, who uses statistics and game theory to make his decisions, represents Enlightenment. May-Ling, who values intuition and trusts her gut feelings, represents Romanticism.
  • Sadistic Choice: This comes up a lot, such as choosing what type of instrument of torture you want used on you or whether or not to abandon someone else to save yourself.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Matt has the option of rejecting Parr's bribe and alerting the Tchois to his involvement in the robbery. This still isn't enough to save May-Ling, unfortunately.
  • Sell-Out: In one of the endings, Matt agrees to let Parr get off scot-free in exchange for a million pounds. He notes that, "Newton was right about gravity. It's easier to go down than it is to go up. All you have to do is sell your soul".
  • Shout-Out: The opening scene, where Matt either catches or misses his train depending on the player's choice, is likely a nod to the film Sliding Doors. Unlike the film, however, whether or not Matt catches the train has no effect on the rest of the plot.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Matt is fond of saying the f-word. He says it in almost every scene, even in front of the old lady sitting next to him at the auction.
  • Stupid Crooks: Lee's Establishing Character Moment immediately paints him in a bad light. He rappels into the car park and (determinant on player action or inaction) injures his hand so that he cannot drive (also leaving evidence on the scene with his blood), potentially scares Elodie (leaving a witness) and then kidnaps Matt all while planning to shoot him at various points. His conspirators berate him for his idiocy and willingly let Matt take half his share as Lee's being an idiot and potentially jeopardised the operation.
  • Tempting Fate: Matt's boss notes that it should be "a nice quiet night".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Matt gradually becomes a stronger protagonist as the story goes on, and if you get the Golden Ending he's able to earn himself a completely happy ending using only his wits.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: They serve as the main villains for most of the story.
  • Trigger-Happy: Lee is very eager to shoot Matt. Fortunately, he's killed off before he gets the chance.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Shortly after being subjected to finger torture, and then a brief scene where he punches a guy and hurts his hand further in the process, Matt suddenly has no blood or bruises on his hand and no difficulty handling weapons. (It seems to be a Plot Hole as a result of the torture story branch reusing the same footage from the no-torture branch.)
  • Villainous Rescue: If you take the cup to the police, Matt will be arrested for the theft and is on his way to prison when the Tchois bust him out of the transport. After that, while he has to work for it, he can get off scot free even without the Golden Ending thanks to their interference.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Samuel Parr.
  • Wham Episode: The car crash scene that occurs roughly a third of the way through the movie. Up until that point it was a pretty standard heist movie. Afterwards the whole thing takes a noticeably darker turn with everyone of the main characters save for Matt and May-Ling dying and the two finding out that the cup they worked so hard to steal was actually a fake. After that both characters face intense torture and interrogation and must find the real Ming Dynasty cup before the triad has them both executed.