When gamers argue about whether or not a game is survival horror, they tend to focus on the scares. Jump scares are a particular bone of contention because they can be effective only a few times before they get predictable. The forthcoming title from Zombie Studios, entitled Daylight, hopes to solve some of that predictability by introducing procedural generation to the equation so that players aren't going to experience the same game twice.
Starting in an ever-present safe room, creative director Jared Gerritzen showed me a freshly created maze of rooms in which a player would explore. Lit by a smartphone flash, a player will have to navigate a dark and dank atmosphere with the advantage that's different every time you play. "I never know what I'm walking into," Jared explains, "and the whole idea of it is that it's a maze... kinda tapping into that [desire of] wanting to be scared."
As Jarred was guiding the character through the abandoned building, there were some scares that showed what the game has in store. Whilst walking up to a door, some planks of wood that were lying on the floor suddenly sprung up and barricaded the door.
It was a totally random event but unfortunately it happened three more times in quick succession. Jarred had praised the work that was able to be automatically done with Unreal Engine 4's flexibility, but I asked if there was a battle for authorship with the game?
"It's an interesting and a very big pain in the ass to deal with," says Jarred. "It's almost like the engine's haunted! We still have checks and balances that hopefully help; we've been using it and it scares us when we play. We did the math on the amount of rooms and the algorithms that they're using and there's a billion different ways it can play. A lot of this clutter [and] events are all procedurally generated by UE4... and so when it generates, it makes the maze and the engine populates the world."
So there's unlimited ways to experience Daylight and there's designs in place to still maintain some sense of pacing and authorship, but Zombie Studios is looking to Minecraft and YouTube for inspiration as well. "We're very aware of YouTube, we're very aware of all the people playing games and recording it over and over again. So we really want to get that replayability being a major factor of the game."
Considering how quickly updates can be delivered through Steam, Daylight can deliver a different experience every time you play it potentially for months to come. Although this was an alpha build and was being shown on the PAX East convention floor (a less than ideal environment for a horror title), I can see the potential in Daylight.
This was no more evident than when Jarred was talking me through the game only to turn around into a phantom that immediately attacked him "Ah fuck! Oh shit! I wasn't expecting that"... a game that scares and surprises its creators even after six months of development is a good thing.
|5:45 PM on 03.25.2013|
Why Zombie Studios turned down publishers for Daylight
Rounding out our recent coverage of Zombie Studios' horror game Daylight, I have a little more from my chat last week with studio creative head Jared Gerritzen and writer Jessica Chobot. With the studio behind Blacklight: Ret...more
|7:00 PM on 03.21.2013|
How Daylight intends to scare the sh*t out of you
After catching a glimpse of Zombie Studios' Daylight in action yesterday, I hope you're in the mood for more on the horror title. I spoke with studio creative head Jared Gerritzen earlier this week about how the game will lev...more
|8:30 PM on 03.20.2013|
Exclusive: Debut trailer for Zombie Studios' Daylight
Zombie Studios has shared details and screenshots for its procedurally-generated horror title Daylight, but now we're getting to see the Unreal Engine 4 game in motion. While the video is indeed a teaser, it should help put ...more
|3:00 PM on 03.17.2013|
Daylight will be playable at PAX East
Zombie Studios has confirmed Daylight will be playable at PAX East 2013. The upcoming horror game has been attracting quite a lot of attention since it was announced back in February, and PAX East attendees will be ...more
|12:45 PM on 02.12.2013|
New screenshots of Unreal Engine 4 horror game Daylight
Although we already got the first details on Zombie Studios' PC horror game Daylight from an interview last week, the company has put out a proper announcement for the title. Built using Unreal Engine 4, Daylight focuses on r...more
|9:30 PM on 02.07.2013|
Horror game Daylight relies on procedural generation
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|11:00 AM on 05.20.2013|
I want to marathon The Last of Us but I'm scared
I love to play some videogames in a single sitting. Some call that "marathoning." Survival horror games are especially satisfying when played this way. I've done this with all of the Fatal Frame and Silent Hill titl...more
|2:01 AM on 05.20.2013|
Review: Resident Evil Revelations (Wii U)
Resident Evil Revelations was a great action horror title. So good, it absolutely humiliated Resident Evil 6 by being superior in every single way -- a fact made especially delicious considering it was a 3DS game in contrast ...more
|1:30 PM on 05.19.2013|
Sup Holmes burns bright with Jasper Byrne
[Update: Full re-run of this episode here.] The last time we had Jasper Byrne on Sup Holmes, he had just released his critically acclaimed survival horror title Lone Survivor. Like his Silent Hill 2 remake Soundless Mountain...more