Amusingly and ironically enough, one of the scariest work-in progress games I’ve played this year comes from a developer named Digital Happiness. Based out of Indonesia, this small studio is in the process of polishing up their first game, DreadOut, a nicely frightening homage to Tecmo’s criminally neglected Fatal Frame series with a modern (and optionally social) twist.
DH is using the extremely versatile Unity game engine, a wonder tool for a number of small to large studios that can pump out some fantastic visuals the can be scaled to run an a wide range of computers and devices. The speed at which this has come together combined with the quality of the work is pretty astonishing. I believe Digital Happiness happens to be in the CG animation business or something, and you can see this in the character art, animation and general pleasingly realistic style of the visuals.
The game will follow some common horror genre bullet points with its group of teens heading off the beaten path while on a trip and finding ghostly horrors awaiting in the darkness. As there are no Ghostbusters in DreadOut’s Indonesian setting, it’s up to your controllable schoolgirl Linda and her digital camera to do a bit of spirit corralling. The demo isn’t that long, but given that it starts off with our heroine waking up on a dirty cot in a dilapidated shack with no clue as to how she got there, there’s a nice layer of tension that amps up considerably when the first ghost makes its appearance. Between the pitch black locations and the assorted visual filters giving my eyeballs the shakes, each encounter was keeping the goosebumps going until the demo was done.
I didn’t try out the Facebook integration that allows players to upload photos they’ve taken to their timelines (I’m a bit of an anti-social gamer and like my privacy), but it’s a cool touch that begs to be exploited in a Vita version should the team be able to secure a dev kit. I’d buy this again in a heartbeat if it were on Sony’s handheld, especially if that funky digital camera Linda totes about was replaced by a digitally recreated Vita. I KNOW Sony would be all over that, as I think it’ll be a point of pride to see their handheld as a “star” of sorts IN a game as a useful tool (and ghost removal weapon of sorts).
The team recently got their game fully funded and then some through crowdfunding site Indiegogo, so it’s only a matter of time before it’s out and about to stalk PC, Mac and Linux-based systems soon enough. Keep an eyeball to the ground for this one – you’ll be cowering under your chair all cramped up into a ball a few minutes in, but it’ll be worth it, I think…