Even though Halloween isn’t for several months, 2019 promises a full year of scares with these upcoming horror titles. Indie horror has taken a quiet downturn recently, with notably polished releases becoming less and less frequent. It’ll be refreshing to see what these upcoming horror projects bring to the table.
Arguably the most-hyped title in this article, Blasphemous, by The Game Kitchen, is a 2D hack n’ slash title with a love for bloody violence. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, the game’s unique art style is what grabbed many readers and players when it was first announced back in late 2016 on Kickstarter. Raising well over $330,000 with nearly ten thousand backers, Blasphemous skyrocketed past its initial target over $50,000 in just a month of funding.
Delivering carefully hand-crafted pixel art, menacing concepts, and incredible beta scenes, Blasphemous launches on all platforms in the first quarter of the new year. What makes this stand out (apart from the gameplay), is the way in which the narrative is apparently being told — with world storytelling as opposed to direct exposition. Best bring out your fine clothes, because the church procession is coming out in force, with something that’s shaping up to be one of the best indie releases of 2019.
Moons of Madness
While supposedly releasing in the final days of 2018, Moons of Madness is so close to the new year it’d be a shame to gloss over it. Players take on the role of Mars exploration astronaut, Shane Neweheart. They’re tasked with surviving the hostile new planet with a team of fellow scientists. However, Mars is not as dead as we assumed it was. The game promises to explore “real world fears of isolation and paranoia, which are enhanced with supernatural elements drawn from H.P. Lovecraft’s extensive mythos”.
This all sounds incredibly enticing (considering also that the 20 minute gameplay demonstration from 2017 was easy on the eyes). However, there’s been no word about Moons of Madness for about six months now. Neither the developer’s site, Rock Pocket Games, nor their Twitter or Facebook profiles have mentioned anything at all for a very long time now. While it’s unreasonable to say outright that development has halted, when developers go this long without as much as a tweet: it’s highly worrying. If Moons of Madness is still coming, it likely won’t be this year.
Looking like H.R Giger had a heavy night in with some dystopian concept art, Scorn is simultaneously horrifying and beautiful. Set on a completely alien (no pun intended) world, Scorn is the adventure of one creature’s journey through this biomechanically lucid landscape. Little has been revealed about the world of Scorn, with its creator’s, Ebb Software, remaining incredibly tight-lipped about certain details.
Thus far we know that it’s set to be atmospheric, with focuses on environmental storytelling and puzzle solving in equal parts. The denizens of Scorn’s world all interact with the player differently too, as some will be innately friendly, hostile or non-aggressive when first encountered. Unfortunately the project is so great an undertaking for the Serbian team, that they’ve had to force back the release date into the future — and they’ve not yet confirmed an official release date. On the plus side, this means that the game will be released as a complete experience. Initially, it was planned to release in multiple parts.
Someday You’ll Return
A young girl running away from home, then being searched for by a father that doesn’t want to look in the woods where she’s vanished — an engaging hook for any title. Someday You’ll Return, by CBE Software, promises an intense, narrative-driven horror experience where the player will need more than bravery to face the demons in the woods. CBE Software is seeking to create something that the horror market hasn’t seen for a while: a true Silent Hill-esque story.
From all the trailers it seems like Someday You’ll Return will focus its gameplay in the same vein as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Alan Wake. Utilizing puzzles to allow the player to pull clues out of the environment as they put the story together. Don’t go down to the woods today indeed.
Taking the gruesome body horror from System Shock, the writing and mood of BioShock, then splicing it together with Fallout 3 and a little Metro 2033 would likely give you a product similar to the upcoming horror-shooter from Mundfish. Atomic Heart promises a quirky, yet horrifying, look at an alternate 1960’s Russia where the technology has taken over everything. From the landscape, to the people and buildings. Players watch as machinations of unknown design rumble around to complete seemingly pointless tasks, all while they struggle to survive.
Released in-game footage demonstrates players forced to salvage for survival while fending off unpleasant foes. What makes Atomic Heart stand out is the versatility it offers. The trailer offers glimpses of a ruined city claimed by nature, a hospital or hotel, and then a laboratory. Based on the quality of the trailer, Mundfish seem to be polishing every aspect of the game as they go. This is definitely an upcoming horror title to keep an eye on in 2019.
What about you? What upcoming horror games are you looking forward to?