by Joseph Leray
Last month Zombie Studios, the six-man team behind “Blacklight: Retribution,” announced “Daylight,” a horror game about an amnesiac who wakes up in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. The fact that abandoned psychiatric institutions — “insane asylum” is no longer the preferred nomenclature — have been scientifically proven as the scariest buildings in the world sets the scene, as you can see in the new trailer (embedded below).
The game revolves around trying to escape from the hospital (obviously, since they’re universally terrifying), navigating its haunted halls by flashlight or flare, using your cell phone as a GPS to track your movements. Speaking with Destructoid, creative lead Jared Gerritzen compared the game to being a rat in a maze: “It’s kind of cool because the storyline is about this hospital and this doctor that was doing all of these experiments, and this insane kind of thing that really fits with the ’50s/’60s tests on rats,” he says.
“And so it’s really funny that you’re literally just trying to find your way through this map, but as you’re going through, you’re constantly being hunted and you’re constantly being scared. Everything is different each time.”
In addition to being written by Jessica Chobot and being one of the first games created with the Unreal Engine 4.0, one of “Daylight”’s hooks is that everything is randomly generated when the game loads up. “The only thing that’s a constant is the end room and the beginning room,” Gerritzen elaborates. “Everything in between is literally procedurally stitched-together rooms, and then those rooms are procedurally populated, and then those rooms are procedurally flagged for events. So the event could be spawning a phantom, it could be just spawning a little gag, it could be spawning a noise.”
To keep things fresh, players will need multiple playthroughs to reveal all of “Daylight”’s secrets — even the story clues are randomized — and Zombie Studios plans to support the game with post-release expansions and patches to keep things interesting for fans. Because the game is being released on Steam, the developers will have a lot of freedom to patch in new scares and new content. “If you get a new update on Steam, the idea is you’ve played a few times. We’re going to throw in a few gags here and there and hopefully you’ll be constantly getting surprised,” explains Gerritzen.
Be sure to read Destructoid’s full interview with Jared Gerritzen, which goes into more detail about what the team learned from their time working on the F.E.A.R franchise, to how they used night-vision cameras to focus test “Daylight”’s scares.