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FEARdemned...With A Phone

By Bobfish09-02-2013

More news from the DICE summit two nights ago. A new game, titled Daylight, is soon to be gracing us with its presence. A creepy as hell UE4 behemoth by many of the key people who brought us the smash hit F.E.A.R and the criminally underappreciated Condemned Criminal Origins. The game will feature a procedurally generated environment, set in an asylum in which you have only a mobile (cell) phone for light. Heavily story driven, with a projected completion time of less than a half an hour. The team hopes to create a repeated playthrough model, by hooking in the players with tiny, breadcrumb tidbits that will, over consecutive replays, form together into something far larger. Penned by Jessica Chobot, who is best known for hosting The Weekly'Wood and reviews for IGN, though IGN have stated will not be involved in any of their coverage of the game. Conflict of interests and all that.

"There's a lot of different types of horror. There's hack-and-slash. It's not like that. It's all very subtle. It's all very implied and it kind of leaves the player to their own devices. We have so much content story-wise that it hopefully, whether the person manages to succeed to the end or not, will be an experience that they want to capture more of the story so they have to go back and replay, because each time you might be getting different story elements. And over the course of that time, depending on how long you decide to play and what you find, it opens up the concept of the world a little more, the backstory, what your involvement is in it, how you find yourself here and whatnot. So instead of finding the same item over and over again and saying 'I'm not going to bother reading this piece of paper because I've seen it a thousand times,' it's different every time."

Meanwhile, Zombie studio's Creative Director Jared Gerritzen added the following.

"The player doesn't have a name. We don't give any backstory on the player. She literally just wakes up and you need to find your way through, but there's a lot of story elements. The way the story unfolds is we have all these elements where you can pick up documents and case files, but also your phone gets possessed and it plays recordings from the past. So there's so many different elements we're able to use that allow players to get all this information, but the way that we're going to do it it's programmatically, procedurally given to the player. So I'll play it and I'll get the first bits to understand what's going on, but from that point on everything will be in different successions. Different players will have a totally different experience. You're essentially a rat in a cage, but the cage is an asylum and it's scary as hell. You need to find your way out, and each time you do it it's completely different. You don't have combat. You don't have a gun. You don't have anything. You literally have to run away when a Phantom is attacking you, and those things are really interesting. The phone itself has multiple features. It's kind of like a character. It'll get possessed occasionally and play recordings and stuff like that. And when a Phantom's around it'll start to glitch out because it's just like a psychic ability. And hopefully you won't get lost, but if you do, you can flip [the phone] to a different mode that doesn't put out as much light. It puts out a UV light that lets you actually see your footprints, so if I get lost I've got essentially bread crumbs that I can follow back. And then you're able to find emergency kits that have flares or glowsticks. The flares will scare off all Phantoms, but it's also very violent and it's very bright and it drags shadows around. Because everything's fully dynamic lighting, and so it's very scary just to use. And then the other emergency kit thing is a glowstick, and that'll have a much bigger light. It's also kind of like the phone where you can see your footprints, but also you'll see messages written on the walls and you'll see other story elements. And then the phone itself will also go to a video mode that will show me elements like clues or story bits that I can pick up and interact with."

Reminds me a lot of Dear Esther, which is a good thing in my books. We need more games that defy convention like this. And knowing that it's coming later in the year and will have a price tag under $20, there is no reason for even the most jaded of us to give this a try. If, somehow, you can find a reason to disagree, by all means, join us in the comments below. If you do agree, join us anyway.

Comments (2)
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Posts: 3290

If it sells well, and raises awareness of the studio, another Condemned is always possible

Posts: 67

Condemned 1&2 and the original FEAR where great games with a really heavy and dark atmosphere that I find unique to this day. I just wish we could get a sequel to Condemned 2, but that's a far fetch. I'm looking forward to this game solely based on the portfolio of the developers and the concept alone.