The experimental and terrifying Those Who Remain is an independent project perfect for fans of adventure horror titles such as Amnesia, Outlast, and Among the Sleep. The game balances intricate puzzles, hauntingly atmospheric environments, and gruesome enemies to deliver a fresh take on the horror genre. During EGX 2018, OnlySP had the chance to sit down with the Those Who Remain developer, Camel 101, for an extensive demo of the opening moments of the game. Beware minor spoilers for the main story can be found in this preview.
The game starts with the troubled protagonist, Edward, searching for his ex-partner Diana. Following a recent downward spiral in Edward’s life, he decided to revisit Diana only to find that she has gone missing from the motel room they had arranged to meet at. It quickly becomes apparent that something strange is going on as the entire area appears abandoned save for a few unknown individuals. As the player explores the area, they learn the first and most important rule of the game: stay in the light. Using street lamps and creating light sources is Edward’s main means of survival as ghostly figures with glowing eyes lurk in any and all dark spaces, ready to instantly kill anyone that wander too far into the darkness.
Camel 101 always intended on making a great horror tale that had players using light sources to stay alive. Later during the development, producer Ricardo Cesteiro became inspired to use demons after doing extensive research into religious depictions of devils and other wicked beasts. Cesteiro also revealed that he was heavily influenced by the works of Stephen King and David Lynch, particularly the concepts of The Mist and Twin Peaks.
Those Who Remain is filled with clever puzzles designed to advance the player in a natural way. For example, at one point Edward must navigate an abandoned gas station in order to light up his nearby surroundings and provide power a car waiting outside in order to safely evade his ethereal enemies. This brings in the next major difference in Those Who Remain, as players will have to tackle not one but two dimensions each with their own and often linked puzzles. The portals to the other world manifest on the form of glowing doorways present within the “real world.” Once in the other world, the player can see a twisted version of reality much like the Upside Down from the popular show Stranger Things. Altering objects or pieces of the environment in each reality will directly affect the other’s reality, an example of this is when the player tries to access the car door only to find that it is wedged shut, once finding said car in the alternate dimension it becomes apparent that the car is actually covered in thick vines.
As previously mentioned, the glowing enemies that lurk in the shadows will attack the player for getting too close but plenty of other haunting creatures exist that can creep up on Edward. During the demo, the player also encountered one of the other six enemy types that we nicknamed the “spotlight demon,” a grotesque monster made up of misshapen limbs held together by car parts and pieces of roadside equipment. As opposed to the regular enemies, the spotlight demon can walk around in the light and features a headlight for a face which, should the player wonder in front of, will trigger the monster to chase down Edward. Each design for the enemies comes with a unique backstory that is just as harrowing as the monster itself. In the case of the spotlight demon, the reason for car parts mixed with human limbs is due to a horrific car accident where those unlucky casualties are locked in perpetual terror. These amazing yet troubling designs were created by Boris Raguza and create a sense of pity for the creatures despite their deadly intent to hunt the player.
As well as regular enemy types, the player will also face several boss encounters requiring evasion in the form of stealth or fleeing from the imposing doom. The use of stealth is important for survival which brings on the only complaint so far with the project which is the lack of a crouch mechanic. Camel 101 has stated that a crouch feature could be added if players demand it, and much could change before the game’s release. While Those Who Remain requires some tweaking, the current build is playable from start to finish, however, the puzzles are subject to change before release.
During each playthrough, the player will be required to make difficult decisions that will ultimately affect the games ending. Camel 101 describes the endings as “good, bad, and much worse” meaning players will need to pay particularly close attention to each choice and risk suffering the consequences.
Despite such a small team working across the globe on the project, Those Who Remain is shaping up to be an indie classic for the horror genre. The title will release in 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.