Greenwood Game’s upcoming horror game, Alone, can be a little difficult to describe at first. On one hand it’s an FPS horror game starring a group of supernatural hunters set in the 1800’s. On the other hand it’s an immersive alternate reality horror game that uses the Oculus Rift in ways we haven’t seen before. On the third hand it’s all of the above.
Dan Wallace from Greenwood was kind enough to answer some questions we had about Alone, and it’s game within a game, the FPS horror title The Witching Hour. He clears up any lingering confusion about how Alone integrates The Witching Hour into the experience that is Alone. And finally he makes a case for backing Alone on Kickstarter.
Cliqist : So let me get this straight. You’re making a game where I play a game within the game?
Dan Wallace : Correct! The game you’re playing is called Alone. You start the game sitting on a couch in a virtual living room. Controller in hand, you begin playing a different game on your virtual television in front of you. It’s a very meta experience, and we want you to eventually forget that you’re inside a virtual house within the Rift. The best analogy for this is the film Inception. Though, instead of a dream inside of a dream, it’s a game inside of a game.
Cliqist : What is The Witching Hour? Can you explain how it plays?
Dan Wallace : The Witching Hour is the game you’ll be playing inside of Alone. It’s an FPS horror game where you take the role of a supernatural hunter, attempting to clear out a gathering of werewolves from an abandoned manor with his crew in the 1800’s. The game will be story driven, and we have even added player choices throughout the game, as well as multiple endings. The game is single player, but the twist is that you’ll be playing it co-op. We don’t want to go into too much detail about that since we want to keep it a surprise, but know it’s going to be a really unique and immersive experience.
Cliqist : Why not just make The Witching Hour the game, why add that additional layer?
Dan Wallace : The Witching Hour is an extremely important part of the game, but it’s still only a slice of the whole picture. Alone is a horror experience taking place in the virtual house around you. As you progress through The Witching Hour, elements of the game will begin to bleed out into the virtual room. The horror that takes place around you is where the true Alone experience lies, and what makes the game so special.
Cliqist : Will we be able to play The Witching Hour without playing Alone proper?
Dan Wallace : The Witching Hour is something we’re spending a ton of time on, and we really want it to shine on its own. That being said, one of our stretch goals which haven’t been announced yet, is to make The Witching Hour into a full standalone game.
Cliqist : A bit risky having a Kickstarter for something that requires such specialized hardware. Are you worried that you’re narrowing your options too much?
Dan Wallace : Going in, we knew that this would be a challenge for us. Our goal is to provide a fun and unique VR experience ready to go for launch day. Everyone who already has an Oculus Rift Dev Kit or plans on getting one can jump in as soon as we ship in February. Alone was made specifically with the Oculus Rift and VR in general in mind. The game doesn’t function the same without the VR element, and our decision to make a game specific to the hardware was made very early on. VR really is the future, and we want to support that future guns blazing. We hope that gamers feel the same way and want to take part In building a community and support the games that are going to change the way we play forever.
Cliqist : We haven’t seen much of The Witching Hour itself, when will we get to see more?
Dan Wallace : The game is currently still in a pre-production stage. Bryan has been hard at work developing the mechanics for the Witching Hour, while I’ve been busy creating the world and characters you’ll play. This Kickstarter is crucial for us to continue development because we currently lack the funds to go full force and make Alone the game we all want it to be. If we reach our goal, then we’ll be able to share regular updates for everyone showing off new gameplay and art as it’s being designed. We are still revealing concepts on a pretty frequent level over at our Kickstarter, so stay tuned as we continue to unmask The Witching Hour!
Cliqist : How would you describe the feeling of playing Alone to someone that’s never used an Oculus Rift?
Dan Wallace : Playing the game really is the best way to showcase what a truly unique experience Alone offers. To best describe it, we really wanted to tap into that eerie feeling of playing a horror game on your couch in your home late at night, where shadows can play tricks on your eyes, or you feel like something is in the darkness behind you. When other people have talked about what it’s like to play Alone, the thing that really sticks out as the fact that they forget they’re in a game. They’re so drawn in to playing the game in front of them and the horror events taking place that it blurs the lines of what’s reality and what’s happening in the game.
Cliqist : When I see the videos on Youtube of people playing Alone they seem to really enjoy it. However, why do they all have to be so dramatic and annoying? Are they just playing it up for the camera, or have you seen people react that way after playing?
Dan Wallace : Almost everyone has the same reactions to playing Alone (some more amplified than others), so I do believe they’re all very sincere. Watching people’s reactions is easily one of my favorite parts of what I do. The genuine look of excitement, wonder, or shear horror is priceless and lets us known that what we’re making is successful. I think that watching reactions from play-throughs is a great way to gauge what our game is like, and shows just how immersive our game and VR can really be. If watching someone freak out like that is shock, imagine what it’s like to actually play it.
Cliqist : Any final words or thoughts you’d like to share?
Dan Wallace : This Kickstarter is important if we’re to make Alone a reality. Otherwise, it may never be made. We really want people to take part in building a community and future for VR, and to help support the developers making these terrific games. I’ve said this before, but it really rings true: The future of VR is what you make it, and games are what give VR a future. Thanks again to everyone that has backed us and given their support, we can’t thank you all enough.
Cliqist : Can you close us out with an Alone inspired haiku?
Dan Wallace :
Alone in your home
Unsuspecting eyes watch you
Nowhere to run to
Thanks to Matt for taking the time to speak with us! Don’t forget to take a moment to check out the Alone Kickstarter, it’s running until November 16th. You can also check out our previous coverage of the game.