Uncanny Valley showcases a security guard in a nightmare
Woohoo! While we’re actually seeing some big-budget horror this year like Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within, indie game developers still seem to be producing the majority of said genre’s games. Unfortunately, many of these games are falling into the strict pattern of ‘first-person perspective with a flashlight while you run from things that go bump in the night’. Predictability is the enemy of horror, so the farther we stray from this formula the better.
Enter Uncanny Valley. Slovenian developers Cowardly Creations are creating a 2D, pixel art survival horror where you play as Tom, a security guard at a remote facility. In this first teaser trailer, Tom is lamenting on his inability to escape his past. We watch Tom travel via subway and then car to the facility he works at while a serene melody with ominous undertones establishes that something is broken in this man. What exactly this entails, we can’t be sure of quite yet. Soon enough, things get creepy as Tom rummages around in the facility (is he driven by curiosity or duty?) and is attacked by shadowy beings. The building seems to hide some secrets, as highlighted by the stretched out, displayed corpses suspended by metal rods. I’m in!
The Indiegogo page doles out a few more details. Uncanny Valley features what they’re calling the consequence system. Failure doesn’t mean death here. The example they give is that if Tom is hit by attackers, he most likely won’t die, but will instead will be injured and will move slower. There will be a few moments where you can die, but they won’t be very often. Does that seem odd to you? Here’s their reasoning: “Why [is death limited]? Because dying and repeating the same section over and over is tedious and leads to frustration. The game stops being scary if you’re angry and just want to rush through it, so we think that adding such a system will still keep the tension while adding a new layer to scariness.” I completely agree with this, especially in games with constant checkpoints; once you’ve seen the death animation once, the tension is dramatically lessened. Branching storylines based on failure sounds far more interesting. Of course, despite my mini-rant on originality up there, Lone Survivor and Home have both shown how effective pixel horror can be. The consequence system sounds like it will help set Uncanny Valley apart from its 2D siblings.
Cowardly Creations still need a quite a bit to fund the game, which is set to release this Autumn. Stretch goals include small, unrelated DLC campaigns with other characters. Give the page a look, and vote for it on Steam Greenlight if you’re interested in stepping into Tom’s work boots.