It's tough to be patient with your most anticipated releases. Who wants to wait? We want these games now, dammit! That said, it's always better to get a good game than a bad one. Quality takes time.
As I started mapping out what we might play and write about for Shocktober, I started looking at the upcoming horror games, and realizing many of the games I was looking forward to playing weren't gonna be ready in time. Some of them had gone silent for months, and I wanted to break that.
Fortunately, I was able to coax a few developers out of their self-imposed media exile for a little while, and get updates on a handful of really promising upcoming horror games. I wasn't able to convince anyone to release their game tomorrow, but I'll take what I can get for now.
"Recently we had to make an important change in the project--the switch to the Unity engine-- which pushed the release date a bit further down the road. We had our good reasons: for the first moment, our plans for Asylum have been to create the most immersive adventure game ever, and the project has all the potential but needed some more eye candy. Thanks to Unity, we’re now able to incorporate breathtaking new visual effects, such as changes in weather and skies ranging from gorgeous to sinister.
Switching engines is usually a bold move in any project, but in the case of Asylum it’s been really successful. The game is currently in alpha and, while we still need a few more months to reach a fully playable beta, we’re absolutely positive that the game will live up to the expectations. It’s that we’ve been rather quiet about it, but we don’t want to hype the game until we’re ready to announce a release date. However, our Kickstarter updates have been very extensive and detailed.
Fans and journalists who saw Asylum in last Gamescom were floored with the quality and mood in the game, and we won’t stop until we create a perfect and disturbing horror experience with a haunting story that players will cherish for years to come.”
-- Senscape founder and designer Agustín Cordes
"I know we are pretty stingy when it comes to updating everyone on our progress so here is a little overview on how things are going and why we are always so quiet.
Firstly progress is moving along at a great pace, we always talked about doing the introduction area late into development when we know exactly what we want to teach and make the player feel at the start of the game. And guess what! we are actually working on that stuff right now in our current milestone so hopefully that is a roundabout way of explaining that we are making good progress.
We don't update that often because we want to avoid spoilers as much as possible. We also really value the idea of finding things out for yourself and there is no better way to do that than when you are playing the game. We will however show off some more videos and screenshots closer to release when the timing is right."
-- Lunar Software co-founder and designer Aaron Foster
"About 8 months ago we finished the alpha version of SOMA. This was a version of the game containing about 2/3rds of our intended content and story, featuring full voice overs and reasonably polished graphics. This was tested internally and sent out to a few trusted people. We collated all the feedback and then sat down and went through the game using it as a guide. As a result we've made major changes to some of the levels in the game, as well as to some of the overall systems. Implementing those changes and then finishing off the last 1/3rd of the content is what we've been doing since then.
The development process is quite different from our previous games. In the past we've fixed on a design at an early stage and then done our best to get something done to a specific deadline. But with SOMA we've been much more iterative. We've been testing out various designs, seeing how they feel and then revising. We know that this can sometimes lead people into a dangerous spiral - there have been cases where games never get completed - but we feel we're on the home stretch now, with most of the features locked down. In a little more than a month, the whole of the game will be pretty much set in stone. After that several months of polish will follow and then we'll be finished and the game will be ready for release.
After more than four years of work it feels nice to finally have a goal in sight. I'm very pleased with what we've got and believe we'll deliver a very special experience. With SOMA we've aimed to go beyond simply scaring the player and instead to tap into disturbing thematics concerning our very existence. This has been far from easy, and is why the iterative process, while painful, has been so vital. The end is near! We'll have major updates for all of you before the year is over."
Oh, and Grip also sent over this brand-new concept art for SOMA. Enjoy!