The Safe Room: How Game Designers Create Horror

Resident Evil isn’t the first survival-horror game, but it’s probably the most quintessential. Its mansion’s dilapidated halls are fraught with danger, yet nestled deep amongst the hostile architecture are a few pockets of solace. The safe room — a brief respite away from the horrors outside. Resident Evil’s first safe room is no more than a cupboard under the stairs. An old storm lantern illuminates the room and paints shadows against walls of bare concrete. It may be sparse and claustrophobic, but it’s a place to rest and recuperate nonetheless. There’s more to these safe rooms than simple ambiance and […]

Traversing the Void: A Conversation With Moshe Linke

Fugue in Void is the latest creation of game artist and designer Moshe Linke. A six-month long project, it builds off of his previous work, much of which he designates as “experimental” and “alternative”. Fugue is foremost a powerful, sensory experience — something Moshe recommends you play using headphones and with the curtains drawn. Anything to intensify the trip. It’s also excellent world-building — a crafted journey that just wants you to wander through its environments and drown in its atmosphere. Moshe’s passion for building these kinds of exploration games can be traced back to NaissanceE, a first-person game where […]

Unforgiving Environments: The Most Hostile Worlds

As players we are continually told we are “The One”. A prophesied hero, the world our oyster — with sword in hand we’re set free in search of pearly fortunes. However, not all games are so emboldening. There are occasionally hostile worlds where even survival is a struggle, where you feel more like an unwelcome stranger than a powerful champion. The World Is Your Oyster Alongside the rise of open world games a tendency towards maximising player choice and freedom developed. Virtual worlds became bigger and players were able to decide where to go and who to kill. In short, […]

Far Cry’s Red Wilderness: From Island to Frontier

Now a flagship Ubisoft title, the Far Cry series has often been criticised for becoming overly formulaic. The games have recently settled into a groove of fight-the-power resistance: equip yourself with increasingly dangerous weaponry in an extensive fight to clear a map of icons and reclaim foreign land. Despite this shared quality, moving between the five main games in the Far Cry series inflicts a kind of whiplash. Narratively and tonally each Far Cry is distinct, and sometimes even at odds. The games shift wildly, from the camp to the deathly serious, as different developers have attempted to pin-down a […]