What makes games frightening? Whatever the answer is, it seems that big publishers lost touch with scariness long ago. Phantasmal is an upcoming game that believes it has the formula for fear down. They believe that much of what makes a good horror game is never knowing what’s next. As such, every level of the game will be procedurally generated, allowing for different experiences each playthrough. The idea makes tons of sense but somehow we’ve only seen a few horror games, such as Daylight, attempt it before.
In Phantasmal the protagonist is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from PTSD. He works at a college as a janitor when one night the power goes out. Unfortunately, as you go to investigate things seem to suddenly become deadly. Players can find weapons to fend off creepy creatures but this is not meant to be the main way of playing. That means resources are all limited and weapons themselves break after enough usage. Instead of engaging enemies, you’ll want to stealthily avoid many encounters. In an Amnesia: The Dark Descent-esque twist, even looking at monsters long enough will degrade your sanity.
The developers have also taken to calling Phantasmal a roguelike. This isn’t only because of level randomization. It appears the lead character also gains XP each playthrough. This XP persists through each playthrough allowing you to have a more powerful character next time. Such a system seems a little antithetical to the game’s intent to frighten, but I also don’t know how exactly it’ll be implemented. Phantasmal is looking for $15,000 NZD to go from prototype to reality on PC.[divider]
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