By Joseph Leray
At D.I.C.E. last week, “Blacklight: Retribution” and “Special Forces: Team X” developer Zombie Studios announced their newest game: “Daylight” is an atmospheric, randomly-generated horror title made with Epic Game’s brand-new Unreal Engine 4, one of the first to use the new tech.
“Daylight” focuses on an unnamed woman who wakes up in an abandoned, haunted insane asylum, with no memory of who she is or how she got there. The game is mostly about escaping the asylum, navigating its labyrinthine halls with only a feeble cell-phone flashlight to guide you. Speaking with Polygon, writer Jessica Chobot describes the tension in the game: “As the character your goal is to try and escape and leave this place,” she said. “As a player your goal is to find as many elements as possible.”
The game will reportedly only take about half an hour to play, with a focus on multiple playthroughs to get a full accounting of the asylum and its ghostly residents. “”The whole mandate of the game has been major replayability,” says Jared Gerrtizen, who worked on the “F.E.A.R.” franchise, the creative director and Zombie Studios boss.
“So there’s so many different elements we’re able to use that allow players to get all this information, but the way that we’re going to do it it’s programmatically, procedurally given to the player,” Gerrtizen explained to IGN. “So I’ll play it and I’ll get the first bits to understand what’s going on, but from that point on everything will be in different successions.”
“Different players will have a totally different experience,” Gerritzen continued. “You’re essentially a rat in a cage, but the cage is an asylum and it’s scary as hell. You need to find your way out, and each time you do it it’s completely different.”
While the game will feature no weapons and no combat — “You literally have to run away when a Phantom is attacking you,” says Gerritzen — the woman will have a few tools at her disposal: her cellphone can act as a flashlight and GPS, letting her retrace her steps should she get lost. She may also find flares and glowsticks, which provide light but come with their own gameplay twists: flares are bright, but they cast deep, dark shadows that might obscure the way forward, while glowsticks are dimmer but expose bloodstains and spectral messages written on the walls.
“Daylight” will be available for Steam later this year, going for less than $20. The game’s official website was also recently updated with a handful of screenshots.