A new UK studio wants to bring Konami's abandoned horror concept back from the dead in creepy new horror, Allison Road.
London-based Lilith has been working on the game for several months and has now taken to Kickstarter in an effort to make the game ‘the best it can be'.
Allison Road is akin to P.T. in that the game is photorealistic, with players interacting with the environment and sneaking around a haunted house. P.T was a ‘playable teaser' for Silent Hills, a new game in the franchise that was being developed between Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and movie director Guillermo del Toro, but has since been cancelled.
I was very surprised that Silent Hills was cancelled I have to admit,” says Chris Kesler, Director at Lilith. I was really looking forward to that game.
I actually had planned to make a game for a long time and had collected a whole bunch of ideas, but most of them somewhat revolved around an open-world type of horror scenario.
Since I have a background in film, I know how much work it is to create really high-quality assets, therefore I was always a little hesitant to start a giant open-world project. My vision was always to create a narrative driven, intense survival horror and I had been working up the idea of basing the game inside fewer, really detailed and believable high-end locations.
It was great for me to play P.T. last year and I saw how fantastic this game was, even though it's set in only one corridor. In a way, it vindicated my thoughts and ideas and the more I got into it, the more I realized that there is something that feels distinctively weird about having a game set in a very realistic and believable location. It affects you on a different level than let's say a horror game set in space for example.”
Lilith is a ten-strong team, featuring employees with both movie and virtual reality experience. And Allison Road is set to receive full VR support, following in the footsteps of other VR horror projects such as Capcom's Kitchen and Sega's Alien Isolation demo.
I find VR technology incredibly fascinating and the possibilities of utilising it are endless,” continues Kesler.
The problem right now, you really need to have a seriously high-end rig to get a proper VR experience and the titles need to be optimized for it - any sort of judder is a serious problem and really dampens the experience, not to mention that the commercial versions of the VR headsets aren't available yet, so at the moment people are still playing on comparatively low-resolution displays.
I think in terms of horror titles in particular it'll take the genre to a whole new level, I mean when you are in VR your brain really makes it real, even more so than when you play the normal way. The downside is that you have to spend more time on in-game assets, because quite a few things that work in 'normal' gameplay don't work that well in VR - from a technical/artistic point of view.”
Allison Road's Kickstarter campaign went live today and has already reached 20 per cent of its target. One of the big selling points on the Kickstarter page is that the game's use of sound.
Not only are music and sound essential for a compelling and disturbing experience of course, they are also very important for the optimised VR experience we hope to add,” continues Keslar.
Since the player can look around wherever they want essentially, there need to be certain cues to tell them where they are supposed to look.
Furthermore we really didn't want to use any 'out of the box' type of music or sound FX, so [composer and SFX artist] Marco and Jonas are spending considerable amounts of time creating their own music and sound. They're experimenting a lot in order to find something that really fits the vibe of the game, in fact, one day I should show you some of the 'how we made the gore sounds'. It's pretty hilarious.”
Keslar has some bold aims for Allison Road. He hopes that once the game has gone through its Kickstarter, and he has successfully satisfied the game's backers, the game will one day appear in a box on store shelves.
But what's more, he hopes to bring back a bit of classic horror to a video game market more intent on blowing things up than simply scaring the pants off of gamers.
I very much love old-school horror games, like let's say the first Resident Evil games or the first Silent Hill games,” says Keslar. Back then there was nothing action-packed or super flashy about these games, it was really about telling a deep and intricate story.
We are really trying to bring back slow-burning horror.”