Fans of survival horror have been shouting for years that their beloved genre has, ironically, died. And I can’t say that their complaints are without merit. At least in the AAA market, developers seem to have forgotten the subtlety of horror. Even the franchises that basically founded the term seem to have lost what made them unique. Resident Evil & Silent Hill have traded in the slow burn of terror to appeal to a broader, more action-loving audience. With each new iteration, Konami and Capcom twist the knife a little deeper into their fans’ hearts.
But maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps, instead of hoping to rekindle an old favorite, gamers should look for new, fresh blood. And one such indie game has been receiving a plethora of attention because of this.
Allison Road, being developed by UK studio Lilith, Ltd., first came to my attention after Konami cancelled their upcoming Silent Hills project, even going so far as to remove P.T. (Playable Teaser) from the Playstation Store, like some massive cover-up. I won’t go into the debacle in detail, but I’m sure most readers can guess as to the fans’ reactions. But almost immediately after Konami stopped pussyfooting around & officially announced what we already knew, I saw several videos showing footage of the Allison Road trailer, touting it to be a spiritual successor to P.T — not only because it was from the same genre, but the gameplay & visuals were strikingly similar.
Inspired by P.T.’s simple yet increasingly disturbing gameplay, where you wander through the same hallway in a house as increasingly creepy phenomena begin happening, Allison Road will take place entirely inside a single house. The demo begins with you, as an unnamed male, waking up in an empty house at 3:00 in the morning. As you explore the dark, desolate, eerie house, it quickly becomes apparent that things are amiss. You don’t know why your family is missing in what is supposedly your own home, & something stalks you from the shadows. According to the developers, you have five nights to unravel the mystery… & I’m going to assume running away isn’t an option.
I have to admit, the demo is pretty creepy. The idea of something unknown stalking you in your own home, which is supposed to be a sanctuary, is very unnerving. The demo definitely had the right atmosphere. One of the creators stated he got the idea based on his own house, which creaks & groans at every little thing. Living near the middle of nowhere, with no visible neighbors & woods that look like something out of a Slender game right outside my back door, I know what it’s like to be creeped out in your house at night, & I got the same feeling with the demo. Just the eeriness of being alone. While there are real scares in the demo, often our own imaginations are what scare us the most.
Not much else has been revealed about the game so far, as it’s still very early in development. The developers have stated they want to create a narrative-driven horror game that harkens to games like Silent Hill. Presumably it won’t be a combat-based game, though I can’t say how they plan to have the player deal with dangers. I would guess running away, as I didn’t see any hiding mechanic in the demo, but anything is possible at this stage. Running & hiding in such a confined space would be very claustrophobic, & if done right can make for a terrifying experience.
After receiving such positive feedback, Lilith, Ltd. decided to put their project on Kickstarter. As of this post, they’re half-way to their base goal, with almost 4000 backers, though reaching their stretch goals will enable them to develop console versions & translate the game into different languages. Based on the Kickstarter trailer, Allison Road will be made even if their goals aren’t reached, but the added funding will help them to really create something phenomenal. If you’re interested in learning more & maybe supporting this project, you can check out their Kickstarter page. There you can learn more about the rewards (at least $31 will get you a digital copy & access to an upcoming real-world game the devs have planned), check out concept art & learn more about the people behind this ambitious project. The campaign closes October 21, so don’t drag your feet.