by Joseph Leray
The above picture (taken by Joystiq) is one of dozens of handmade pamphlets that Ken Suzuta -- an associate producer for the PlayStation C.A.M.P. team -- made for his next game, "Rain." The inside features glossy cut-outs of the game's stormy cityscape, while they outside features an origami umbrella. It's a delicate, fragile thing, which seems like the perfect introduction to his upcoming PlayStation Network title.
We haven't covered "Rain" here at MTV before, but Sony's presentation at GDC 2013 -- which featured a six-minute gameplay video of the Japan Studio-developed title -- seems like as good a reason as any.
"Rain" is an adventure-stealth game about a young, invisible boy whose silhouette can only be seen in the rain. One day he spies a young girl, also invisible, being chased by monsters and he sets out to save her and learn more about the preternaturally rainy world they live in.
According to a post on the PlayStation Blog, Japan Studio set out to make a game about uncertainty, melancholy, and loneliness, and these themes seem to infect and inform every part of the game: from its moody atmospherics, to its tinkling piano score, to the stealth mechanics that will allow you to guide our nameless adventurer to safety.
What strikes me about "Rain" is how it changes on the old stealth formula: because the boy is already invisible, he can hide in plain sight. He doesn't have to slink through the shadows to avoid the ghostly hounds that pursue him and the mysterious girl -- he just has to say out of the rain.
The gameplay video above takes place during the game's introduction: you'll see some expository narrative that explains what's going on, as well as the game's credits. The first level is called "Children of the Night" and introduces only the most basic elements, but rest assured: the team behind the Escher-esque "Echochrome" is working on "Rain." Some mind-stretching puzzles are sure to follow.
There's no release date for "Rain" yet, but it will be available on PSN sometime this year, with more details on the game coming "very soon."