The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is Finally Here


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Though it’s a smaller, less-known game, ‘The Stanley Parable’ and its new sequel are worth the time of video game players. Their humor, intrigue and (at times) confusion creates a unique, one-of-a-kind gaming experience.

First announced in 2018, The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe by video game studio Crows Crows Crows is the unexpected sequel to The Stanley Parable, an interactive, narrative video game released in 2013. Ultra Deluxe was originally announced with a 2019 release date, but due to development hurdles and then a global pandemic, release was delayed first to 2020, then to 2021, and then finally to early 2022, which was announced in December 2021 through a video that promised the release of the hyped-up sequel.

On April 27, 2022, the new game was officially released after nearly four years of anticipation, available on various consoles as well as via Steam for PC.


What is The Stanley Parable?

The Stanley Parable (TSP) is a video game which began in 2011 as an installable mod for Half Life 2. After seeing success, it was recreated as a standalone game and released via Steam on October 17, 2013. In the game, the player controls a silent protagonist, Stanley, in a narration-driven story (with narrations performed by Kevan Brighting, a British actor.) Throughout the game’s story, the player faces different choices as their path diverges and splits.

What makes TSP unique is that at each of these “forks in the road,” the game’s narration gives the ‘correct’ choice, prior to the player actually making the decision. If the player disobeys, and goes in the opposite direction of what the narration proclaims, their choice is then incorporated into the story and its narration, akin to a choose your own adventure format.

Screenshots from the ‘monitor room’ in the original mod and its counterpart from the 2013 standalone remake. (By Davey Wreden (original), Davey Wreden/William Pugh (remake) (Fair use))

Much of the game’s humor comes from its narrator, who often talks as if he is the deity-like creator of the game’s world, and is confused when things stray away from his planned story, having to ‘change the story’ to fit the player’s disobeying of the narration.

All of TSP’s diverging paths culminate in over a dozen unique endings (at which point the story is reset to the beginning, back before the first choice) as well as many more mini-endings, secrets and small variations (such as in the narration voice lines) throughout.

Confused? That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a way, the game tries to be confusing, and its enjoyment and humor is hidden within that fact. One of the game’s many endings is called the ‘Confusion Ending,’ and earnable achievements include the following highly unusual, yet highly hilarious options:

  • Commitment: “Play The Stanley Parable for the entire duration of a Tuesday.”
  • Unachievable: “It is impossible to get this achievement.”
  • You can’t jump: “No seriously, we disabled it.”

And a fan favorite,

  • Go outside: “Don’t play The Stanley Parable for five years.”

The game is often compared to the legendary Portal game duology, with their similar style, narrative theme, and quite literally, their foundation: both The Stanley Parable and Portal were created via the Source game engine, and, structurally speaking, the games are actually quite similar. So much so, in fact, that swapping a few files around allowed one YouTuber to give themselves a Portal gun within The Stanley Parable. One of TSP’s endings even features the exact map and puzzle from the opening level of Portal, with GLaDOS being replaced by TSP’s narrator. In that same ending, the player experiences a recreation of Minecraft and also finds themselves in the halls of the original, 2011 mod for Half Life 2.

The Stanley Parable also came with a free demo, separate from the main game, shortly before its original release, with a unique story to give players a feel for the type of game it is. It’s downloadable on the original game’s Steam page.


Ultra Deluxe

In the weeks leading up the game’s release, development blogs were posted by Crows Crows Crows, combining some real information with a lot of the game’s well-known satire and humor. To quote a piece of satirical humor from one such posting, “The texture for this filing cabinet has a resolution of 200,000,000 x 100,000,000 pixels. That’s two hundred million pixels wide by one hundred million pixels tall, the biggest texture on any 3D model in the history of video games.”

Here’s a few samples of what some users had to say about their first impressions of the game (potential spoilers):

  • “Gotta say, I’m loving the moment when the narrator appears in person!”
  • “Okay… loving the new title sequence”
  • “OMG I can’t believe that final boss fight in the pyramid”
  • “I’m literally shaking with excitement after seeing that employee 428 scene”
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Per the game’s website, the new video game was released on April 27th, 2022, simultaneously for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and of course, on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux. Users who own the original game will be able to get the new one at 33% off for the first two weeks. A final launch trailer was also posted just hours before the game’s set release time.

In keeping with what makes The Stanley Parable so great, you should avoid learning too much – if you’re interested in video games, the experience is worth it and best enjoyed spoiler free. So don’t delay – the Broom Closet ending is sure to be your favorite in absolutely no time.