A Fresh Cup of Asian Horror in DreadOut
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love horror games with a story. Even though I get riled up and maybe end up hiding from monsters for quite a bit longer than necessary, there’s just a thrill to venturing into the unknown with dangerous entities after you.
An avid player of the Fatal Frame series, I was devastated that Fatal Frame 4 wasn't coming to America. Surviving with a mystical camera in a cursed house or village was my jam. Plus, the entire story line would be fascinatingly twisted but different for each installment. And unlocking costumes was the most exciting—Fatal Frame 2 even had a Dead or Alive costume set for the Xbox version, so running around a haunted village in bikinis made it less horrifying to say the least.
But this is where DreadOut comes in to fill my ghost-less void. It is a little quintessential horror adventure game making big waves from the Indonesian group Digital Happiness. It promises an engaging story line with several optional side quests. Players are encouraged to think inventively to solve the puzzles they encounter in order to progress. Also, something not yet seen in the indie horror genre yet, they intend to use online integration to share photographs with other players on their Facebook to act as hints or to show off their ghost encounters. I could imagine the non-gamers’ bewilderment at seeing a disheveled ghost trying to eat my face on my page…and I like it.
DreadOut is similar to Fatal Frame in its use of a camera to capture and battle ghosts. In Fatal Frame it was the Camera Obscura, clearly an otherworldly object meant for ghost battling; in DreadOut, it’s your smartphone camera. Now, I still don’t understand why it’s effective as a weapon, but I have faith that it’ll be explained in the game at some point. Until then, you either use it or a ghost is going to mess you up.
DreadOut has been in the works for about two years and started with only two people, which expanded to a 5-15 person team. Currently, they are in need of funding to speed up their production process. Because Kickstarter is not available in Southeast Asia, they are using IndieGoGo. They have a list of interesting prizes to get donors truly integrated into the game through modeling them as ghosts or allowing donors to design their own ghosts. Other prizes include multiple copies of the game, mentions in the credits, unlockable costumes, DreadOut merchandise, and more.
The really awesome thing about Digital Happiness is their genuine appreciation for their work and the horror genre. Even though investors told them to produce just mobile games and apps or to change their entire genre, they stuck with what the work they believed in. With big developers’ desire for money rather than a satisfying game, it’s the smaller, more sincere, teams that create quality.
From the looks of the demo, the music and the graphics are incredible. Though the team is small, they have some real professionals with skills. I have to say I’m excited to see what sorts of supernatural creatures they’ll come up with and what environments they’ll craft inspired by their Indonesian culture. All of their information and prizes are listed on their IndieGoGo page. They need $25,000 and they are nearly halfway there.
Download the demo (Windows, Mac, and Linux available) and check out the great potential this game has here.