With horror fans left heartbroken over the cancellation of Silent Hills, I think it’s high time we cast our gaze toward another slice of horror that’s looming on the horizon. Many of you may not have heard of NightCry, so I’m going to give you five reasons this should be on your radar. But first, here’s the teaser trailer.
Pretty spooky huh? Let’s crack on…
5. It’s the Spiritual Successor to a Classic Horror Game.
NightCry is to be the spiritual successor to the Clock Tower series. “What’s the Clock Tower series?” I hear some of you cry. Frankly, I’m not surprised. The franchise never really took off in these parts, with only three of five games being released in Europe. Surviving until late in the Playstation 2 era, the final game of the franchise Haunting Ground suffered from poor sales and thus ended any chance of further instalments. Despite it being one the best games available for the system. Sadly the series never got the time of the day and has since faded into obscurity, but a very committed and loving fan-base have managed to pull it from ether and cement its place in the realms of cult gaming. If there was ever a time to journey into the strange of Clock Tower, it is now.
4. Funded by a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign.
Whilst it’s not uncommon these days for indie developers to turn to crowd-funding, it always boosts a game’s reputation when people throw money at it before they’ve seen any gameplay. The Yooka-Laylee campaign in particular has sky-rocketed into the public consciousness with millions of dollars being poured into the project, wetting the appetites of us retro gamers in the process. NightCry hasn’t had the same rise to glory, but it exceeded its target and made $314,771 with relative ease. Whilst that sum of money doesn’t compare with the likes of Yooka-Laylee, it’s most certainly admirable. The screenshots we’ve seen so far have shown that a small amount of money has gone a long way.
3. The Game Mechanics
Proudly stomping around in Clock Tower’s shoes, NightCry is a third-person point-and-click horror adventure. Whilst on paper that may sound like a strange, or rather dated concept, it’s been proven to work wonders in the past. The Clock Tower games were novel at the time for this approach, forgoing conventional game design in favour of innovation. You’re presented with no weapons and a single enemy who hunts you down, your only options are to run and hide or find one time use items that will fend off your attacker for a brief period. All of this is stitched together with a typical twist-laden plot, complete with multiple endings dependant on player’s actions and which characters die in accordance to said actions. An emphasis on variables will boost the replay value and expand the scope for storytelling. Recent titles such as Alien: Isolation and Amnesia: The Dark Descent have been making the collective audience soil themselves in cupboards, so having the grand-daddy of the genre back in the swing of things is a definite cause for excitement. Meanwhile TellTale’s Walking Dead series has proven that point-and-click is still a force to be reckoned with when placed in the right hands.
2. The Creative Team
Whilst Silent Hills had Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro, who are an absolute dream-team if there ever was one, NightCry has a few aces hidden up its blood soaked sleeve. The game is being helmed by Clock Tower creator Hifumi Kono and directed by Takashi Shimizu who you’ll know as the director of Ju-On: The Grudge. Shimizu’s involvement will hold the most weight with people as Ju-On is often regarded as one of the finest examples of Asian horror, widely renowned for its creepy atmosphere and multi-layered plot. Adding yet more creative juices to the collective broth is Masahiro Ito, the man responsible for the creature designs of Silent Hill and Nobuka Toda who has composed scores for Metal Gear Solid and Halo amongst other big name titles. Whilst not on the same level as Kojima and Del Toro, you can’t argue that there’s a great pool of talent here.
1. The Scissor-Walker
From Pyramid Head, to Nemesis and Alma from F.E.A.R., we all love a good boogeyman of gaming. That one enemy that makes you cower in the corner every time the first chimes of their theme music bursts through your speakers. The Clock Tower games had the appropriately named Scissor-Man, a deformed man-child with a fetish for garden tools and homicide. This time around we have the Scissor-Walker. Creative naming aside, he/she is a seemingly supernatural entity who also enjoys scissor related butchery. The real appeal here is that you’ll never truly be safe from the Scissor-Walker, he/she can appear from random places at random times, meaning that any potential hiding spot can also be a death trap, so you’ll constantly be on your toes as you try to unravel this tightly wound mystery. Scissor-Walker’s motivations are currently unknown, but one thing is certain, he/she wants you dead.
If that’s not enough to get you excited, here’s some gameplay to wet your appetite.
NightCry is set for a December 2015 release, it will be available on Steam and the PS Vita. Stay tuned to VGU for more updates.