An impossible space. A vengeful ghost. Eerie silence. P.T. was like nothing we had ever seen before when it was quietly pushed to the PlayStation Store in August of 2014, and when the news came that Silent Hills had been cancelled, we all thought we would never see its like again. However the game has proved an inspiration for a number of indie horror developers, and the latest of these is SadSquare Studio's Visage.
Like Allison Road, another indie trying to capture the spirit of the doomed Silent Hills project, Visage has built a whole house for you to wander through — just unsettling enough to put you on edge, yet realistic enough to easily pull you in. Yet both games, while inspired by the same source material, seem to be taking it in completely different directions. Allison Road so far has been heavily focussed on its 'ghost' character, Lily, while Visage seems to put more emphasis on the house itself.
We won't hide it, we were inspired by that great game [PT]. Furthermore, the decision to cancel Silent Hills pushed us to develop an awesome and terrifying game to quench the horror fan's thirst. That said, we're not trying to become merely some kind of P.T. successor. We're driven by the lack of truly terrifying games on the market like Alien: Isolation, P.T., F.E.A.R., and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We probably could count them on our two hands =(. We really hope some people will consider adding our game to that list.
With some of my favourite horror games in their list of influences, I can't help but be hopeful that SadSquare will indeed turn out something truly creepy from their myriad inspirations. Indeed, some elements of the game seem to evoke Amnesia far more than they do P.T. You're set loose in a house where terrible things have happened, and your only motivation is to get out. In fact, this teasing screenshot released last year shows an environment that feels far more Amnesia than it does P.T. — hinting that the game will have some depth (perhaps quite literally) beyond just the house itself.
Wander through the halls, explore each room and every corner of the house in search of an escape route. Uncertainty will keep you on your toes as you explore the creaky and noisy house, while each crack, each silent breath from a window, and each small event will drag you closer to death.
One thing that struck me in the trailer was just how real the house looked. I feel like I've been there before, like I could turn up to a friend's house tomorrow and I'd recognise the messy kitchen table and the light fixture above the stairs. It's crammed full of little details, and it really looks lived in. Despite being a murder-house, the developers seem to have consciously avoided falling into the common horror trap of adding gore galore, letting your own imagination torment you more than a gratuitous blood-splatter could.
Of course, being alpha gameplay and an early trailer, all that could be coming later. The trailer definitely hints at a clever, considered approach, leaving much of the actual fear to your overactive imagination and the promise of a scare. The end of the trailer gets a bit less realistic and a bit more psychological, hinting at the kind of impossible spaces that have been used to great effect in horror games like Kraven Manor or Hektor.
Visage was announced in September last year, and while news from the developers slowed down a bit over the holidays, it looks like they're getting their social channels up and running again in the new year. SadSquare's website has the game slated for an estimated January 2017 release, and will potentially have a Kickstarter on the way in the coming months. You can follow their progress on Facebook or Twitter.
[Via Bloody Disgusting]