A Horror Game Based On A Real Place

A Horror Game Based On A Real Place

Horror games, movies, and books are at their scariest when things get a bit too real.

OK, let's get this out of the way upfront: a lot of horror games do the whole "this asylum was actually twisted and fucked up and at some point everybody became zombies or something" thing. It's a cliché, one that sometimes (though not always) positions mentally ill people as monsters that go bump in the night instead of, you know, human beings. That is, for obvious reasons, not a great thing. On top of that, it can be a hotbed for other played out 2spooky4me staples: creepy little girls, ghost dolls, evil rust on all the walls, etc.

The Town Of Light seems interested in taking a look at the realities of a 1940s asylum in Volterra, Tuscany, which is encouraging. It's rooted, first and foremost, in research about an actual place's history, and it aims to explore people's experiences in a hospital that was apparently No Good. The developers explain:

"Our goal is to recreate the experiences, the anguish and the human drama of patients living in mental institutions up to the end of the last century: both the pain of mental disease and the horrors patients underwent within the walls of the institutions where they were being 'treated.'"

"Our story takes place in one of the biggest asylums that ever existed in Italy, which counted more than 5000 internees at one time and was located in the city of Volterra: an asylum with a most controversial though little known history."

"We faithfully recreate a notorious area of this asylum, that included two pavilions called Charcot and Ferri, by carrying out 'authorised' inspections on the abandoned site and by gathering the testimony of former patients, doctors and nurses."

I'm not sure why they put quotes around the word authorised, but sure! The game's website also has a research citation page, so the developers are at least trying to do their homework.

The Town Of Light is on Steam Greenlight right now. It's set to come out this spring. I wonder how it will balance horror with truth. I wonder where those things overlap. I wonder if I'll meet the asylum's disgruntled groundskeeper, who'll finally explain to me why nobody can just oil door hinges in these games.


    I remember when Amnesia: The Dark Descent came out, It rekindled the genre but after so many horror games, these days I hardly raise an eyebrow. But this looks really good, I just hope they move away from the style Amnesia popularized as its become rather boring & stale.

    Last edited 19/07/15 6:37 pm

      Amnesia did a great job. But soon copy cats emerged and the whole genre became stale again from the major flood of indie titles doing the same thing.


      Not to mention when oculus public releases, we will see a whole lot more of the genre emerging again.

      Last edited 20/07/15 10:39 am

        yea I just hope someone innervates soon, either by moving away from that style or doing things a bit different. AI seems to be neglected by every game genre but I believe horror would stand to gain a ton by pushing it... Alien was decent but I was well aware of it being computer controlled as it had limited mechanics in a bid to balance and often moved in easy to spot patterns.

        Outlast is also an example of this, a lot of the mobs were roaming in a set path and it was more like playing a stealth game then a horror at times. Give the player predictable methods to control AI like making noise by throwing a rock to get past but make patrolling enemies far less predictable, that forces the player to either hope for another chance or to try when they see an opportunity rather then sit back wait to see the weakness and exploit it with today's patterns.

        Also adding more choices into the environment. a quick example might be: You have 2 ways to go one with a enemy inside, the second, a broken window, a chance to escape... Your being followed what way do you go?.. most would go broken window... but imagine you snag yourself and as a result are bleeding, your health might slowly drain as you would expect but imagine the horror when you realize enemy recognize the blood trail and follow it.

        Last edited 20/07/15 9:01 pm

    Enough asylums already. There is more to horror than hospitals and mental wards - real creativity in horror is turning something you DON'T associate with scary into something that is

    And even though I will admit that Until Dawn probably isnt the most 'original' horror title, at least its taking on the 'cabin in the woods' style horror popular in movies that we dont see in games

    Is it just me or have we not seen any horror games set in: a) A circus or b) in a theme park. both of witch you associate with fun then BAM horror scaries and not feeling safe anymore

      Dunno about circuses, but for theme parks? Silent Hill 3.

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