Alone: a game in your game so you can game while you game

A horror game for the Oculus Rift seeking funding on Kickstarter is based on the idea that you're playing a game on the couch in your living room.

A horror game for the Oculus Rift seeking funding on Kickstarter is based on the idea that you're playing a game on the couch in your living room.

(Credit: Greenwood Games)

Silly headlines aside, Alone is a pretty interesting idea for a game. Currently in development for the Oculus Rift, it looks like it's going to embody the sort of subtle, creeping horror we love best.

The setting is actually a lounge room. When you put the headset on, you'll be transported to a couch where you'll be sitting playing a fictional horror first-person shooter (FPS) video game called The Witching Hour, while a wild, windy night rages outside. Sounds like a lovely evening at home — snug inside — maybe even with a nice blanket tucked around your lap.

Except something's not quite right. As the in-game story progresses, elements start to bleed out of the television and into your environment. The idea reminds us of the PS2's Project Zero, where a frisson of terror was introduced by small changes in the environment on the game's second night — a blood smear that wasn't there before, for example, or the lid of a well gaping open where it had been tightly shut. Or Silent Hill, where the game's setting is steeped in malevolence.

Ever watch a film or play a game that stays with you? Where you're scared to turn out the lights or leave your bed in the middle of the night in case somehow it's out there, waiting for you?

The idea with Alone is that your enemy is not a monster or a set of monsters but your entire surroundings, and we find that tremendously exciting; we just hope it doesn't end up with another boring monster to fight at the end.

(Credit: Greenwood Games)

It's hard to tell at this point, though. Developer Greenwood Games doesn't want to give too much away about The Witching Hour yet, noting only that it's "an FPS horror game where you follow a group of supernatural hunters in the 1800s".

The game isn't set to be a long one — the full game is designed to run for a maximum of 45 minutes. Greenwood has a couple of good reasons for this: it wants Alone to feel like an episode of a TV show, and it also doesn't want gamers to become uncomfortable with the hardware.

"Alone is designed with a shorter experience in mind," the team said. "Longer than 45 minutes of sitting on a VR couch would be tiring for anyone. We want to keep people engaged in the story for as long as possible and deliver an experience that is entertaining and exciting from start to finish."

A shorter game also means that it's more likely to see fruition; to sweeten the pot, it will include multiple endings for replay value. And with any luck, it'll prove to be a brilliant addition to the survival horror genre, with sequels further down the line.

That's putting the cart before the horse, though. Right now, the game has nearly US$4000 of its US$25,000 goal. The game is promised as a reward with a pledge of US$10. If it sounds like your kind of scare fest, head on over to Kickstarter to give your support.

 

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