'Visage.' Scariest horror game in years?
Brooke Nicholson | Arts & Entertainment Editor
Back in Aug. 2014, a playable teaser, simply going by the name “P.T.,” popped up out of nowhere on the PlayStation store, with no context or indication for what it was.
Gamers eagerly downloaded the teaser not knowing what they were getting themselves into. People quickly began to realize it was a psychological horror game, with intense atmosphere, amazing hyper-realistic graphics and defenseless gameplay.
The game was praised for actually being too scary to play at times, alongside its mysterious, unclear story and incredible use of a limited environment. Players quickly began to discover how hard it actually was to finish the game, but if players were able to, discovered that the teaser was for a new game, called “Silent Hills.”
But as quickly as it appeared on the PlayStation store, it was equally quick to disappear. After a long battle with the company Konami, Hideo Kojima, the main creator of the game, left. The whole game was cancelled, leaving fans extremely disappointed that they wouldn’t be getting the answers they sought after playing the game.
People began selling their PS4’s with the game still downloaded onto it for thousands of dollars, as it wasn’t available to download again if the player removed it. This quickly made “P.T.” a one-of-a-kind digital collectable.
Even though fans wouldn’t get the full horror experience they were hoping for with “P.T.,” a new era of horror games began to emerge. Many smaller game studios took to Kickstarter to secure funding for their horror games that are being labeled as ‘P.T. successors.’
Two years ago, seemingly out of nowhere, an official alpha gameplay trailer for a new horror game called “Visage” began popping up on YouTube. This nearly 13-minute-long gameplay trailer showed an unknown character walking through a stunningly realistic house, exploring the numerous nooks and crannies, finding keys and suffering through the paranormal activity.
With a lot of support and an incredible following on Kickstarter, the Canadian-based studio, SadSquare, was able to release the early access version of the game. YouTubers flocked early to play the three hours of available gameplay.
It became obvious how much the game was inspired by “P.T.” from one of the first scenes the player sees once the title and opening cutscene is out of the way. Everything from the hanging lamp at the front door swinging, to the radio on the hallway table and the room the player wakes up in all take inspiration from its successor. But that doesn’t mean the game can’t stand alone.
Instead of looping through a never-ending hallway, players are thrusted into a larger than life house, and can control some elements of their environment, such as turning on lights, lighting candles, opening drawers and much more. Players can piece together the story of what transpired in the home through radio dialogue, VHS tapes, pictures, newspaper clippings, flashbacks and through the house itself.
The game is seemingly directionless, forcing the player to wander and figure out what to do through the use of cues in the environment, without weapons to defend themselves. That’s what players are loving about it.
There has always been a high demand for psychological horror games, with “P.T.” being the game that caused an uproar for them. “Visage” won’t be the last of the psychological horror genre to be inspired by “P.T.,” with other games such as “Allison Road” having been in the works for years, and is also labeled as a “P.T.” successor.
With the game’s smashing success on Kickstarter, exceeding well over their $45,000 goal, “Visage” will not only be available to play on Steam, but consoles as well and eventually available for VR.