At the DICE summit today in Las Vegas, Zombie Studios announced a new horror title, Daylight. The game was built on Unreal Engine 4 and will feature procedurally-generated environments. According to the announcement, Daylight will be a psychological thriller with an engaging story, which was actually penned by industry personality Jessica Chobot. In an interview with IGN, the creative director and head of Zombie Studios, Jared Gerritzen, and Chobot provided some additional details.
Players will take on the role of a woman who has inexplicably woken up in an asylum. She has no name and no backstory. The only goal presented to players is to guide this woman out of the building. The lack of details provided at the outset of the game is purposeful, as there is a good deal of information to uncover while finding a way out of the asylum. In fact, there are so many story elements to be discovered that they will not all be uncovered in a single playthrough. Daylight has been made so that players are encouraged to play multiple times. Each playthrough will take approximately 30 minutes so it won’t be such a chore to make a second or third escape attempt. In addition, the game world is procedurally-generated, so players will be taking on a new iteration of the asylum each time. Chobot explains why players will want to return to the asylum again and again:
We have so much content story-wise that it hopefully, whether the person manages to succeed to the end or not, will be an experience that they want to capture more of the story so they have to go back and replay, because each time you might be getting different story elements. And over the course of that time, depending on how long you decide to play and what you find, it opens up the concept of the world a little more, the backstory, what your involvement is in it, how you find yourself here and whatnot. So instead of finding the same item over and over again and saying ‘I’m not going to bother reading this piece of paper because I’ve seen it a thousand times,’ it’s different every time.”
Fortunately, as they trek through the asylum, players will have a bit of company in the form of a trusty cell phone. It will provide light for some of the darker portions of the game, as well as a compass for navigating and a UV light for tracking footprints. The phone will also act as a conduit for the dead, as it can become possessed and transmit messages. It will also react to the presence of ghostly enemies known as Phantoms. Aside from the phone, other useful items can be found scattered around in emergency kits. Some will contain flares that can be used to scare off Phantoms, which will be useful since there is no combat in Daylight. Others hold glowsticks that act similarly to the phone’s UV light, revealing footprints and hidden messages written on the walls of the asylum.
Daylight will be released later this year on Steam. Zombie Studios will be providing additional content via an episodic structure. This initial release will be considered Chapter 1. According to Gerritzen, Chapter 2 and beyond will not be reboots, but rather will add additional story elements to the game. More importantly, he describes the game as follows:
You’re essentially a rat in a cage, but the cage is an asylum and it’s scary as hell. You need to find your way out, and each time you do it it’s completely different.
Well, if that’s the case, admit me to the asylum now, because a good scare is a rare commodity in gaming these days. We’ll be sure to stay on the lookout for more details on Daylight as they become available.