Dépanneur nocturne: a bilingual game that takes place in Montreal

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Hey everyone. Klebs here and today, I’ll talk about Dépanneur Nocturne, a game developed by KO_OP that illustrates both Montreal and Quebec cultures. I’ve played a lot of games developed in Quebec that are aimed at a worldwide audience (ex: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Shadow of the Tomb Raider) or games that feature Quebec French text but take place in a faraway land (ex: The Messenger). However, to my knowledge, Dépanneur Nocturne is the only game I know that’s set in Montreal in the present and is fully bilingual.

 

The bilingualism of the game

At the title screen, the interface in the main menu is displayed in both languages. Also, when you meet Eugénie, the store owner, the way you answer her greeting will determine the language you’ll both use for the rest of the game… or until you tell her you’d like to switch to the other language.

The Montreal side of the game

While in Quebec, the outdoor signs are almost entirely in French, the language spoken in Montreal vary greatly depending on the neighborhood which can be problematic to the clerks who have to interact with their customers. This typical Montreal trait is made apparent in the game via construction and outdoor signs which are in French while the store owner tells the player “bonsoir” waiting for her cue to either pursue the conversation in French or switch to English. By the way, paying a closer attention to the details inside the store should reveal both the Montreal and NFB (National Film Board of Canada) logos.

 

The Quebec side of the game

Since it’s Quebec French that’s used in the game, some expressions may be harder to understand for someone who’s neither lived in nor visited Quebec. For example, there’s English words like “anyway” or phrases like “wouin c’est fin ça” (oh, how nice of you), “c’est correct” (that’s alright) or “apportez-moi-le” (bring it to me). However, these expressions aren’t as informal or plentiful like in The Messenger so it should be fairly easy to understand for standard French speakers.

 

How does it play

The game is played from the first person perspective like a typical FPS (first person shooter) except here, the goal is simply to explore the store and find something for the player’s girlfriend. The ending depends on the time spent inside the store, the number of items bought and the items themselves. I can’t say more without spoiling the plot.

I recommend this game that, while short, gives the player the opportunity to experience both Quebec and Montreal cultures. It’s currently available on Steam and itch.

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