One genre we haven’t seen much of in 2020 is horror but all that is set to change.
With the excellent Resident Evil 3 coming in just a few weeks, we’ve also got the intriguing looking Those Who Remain from Camel 101. Sadly the game has been slightly delayed due to COVID-19, but thanks to the team at Wired, we took an early look at this supernatural thriller and immediately got some strong Alan Wake vibes from it.
You start the game as Edward Turner, a man who has a conflicted – possibly traumatic – past. Gun in hand and sadness in his heart, he takes a trip to Dormont to right some personal wrongs around a sordid affair, but after an unusual turn of events, finds himself surrounded by shadows that thrive in the dark.
These shadows are seemingly made up of citizens of sleepy Dormont, distorted by darkness and it appears they need Edward’s help in some way. Or they just want to consume his light. Who knows at this point.
From this short preview, light and dark seems to be the core gameplay mechanic here, with the key to survival being stay out of the darkness by finding ways to create a path of light. It might be you turn on some christmas tree lights or set off the headlights of a car. The game forces you to get creative and do whatever it takes to make sure you’re not plunged into shadow.
The Alan Wake comparison is clear, then. Instead of a flashlight, you’ll eventually get a lighter to ward away some of the demons, though have to be careful as it will only stay lit for a short while. And the way the main character gradually tells us about his back story lends itself to a heavily narrative-focused adventure.
But the game also has another creative approach to puzzle solving which reminded me a bit of Stranger Things and Prey – the Human Head one, not the Arkane re-imagining. Essentially, Edward will be able to enter doors of light which take him to the ‘upside-down’ version of the real world.
The key example in the preview as to how this works centers around a car. Try as you might, in the real world you can’t open the car doors as there’s apparently a mysterious force surrounding it. Enter the alternate reality, however, and you’ll see a similar looking car is covered in overgrown weeds and moss.
So, your actions in the alternate world will influence what happens in reality. If you’re able to remove those vines, you’ll be able to open the car door in the real world and put on those headlights I mentioned earlier.
But this also extends to moving boxes and turning on light switches. However, it doesn’t appear that objects you pick up in one world can be used in the other – I wasn’t entirely clear on that from the preview. I can definitely see this being a fun, yet fiendish way to solve puzzles as the game progresses.
Those Who Remain is a fascinating, enthralling psychological thriller and my short preview has me itching for more. I want to learn more about Edward’s past, what happened with his family, who these creatures are lurking in the shadows, and how the game will continue to blend both worlds.
It also seems like your actions will matter throughout the course of the game, so I’m intrigued to see what some of those outcomes might be.
This one is etched on my eagerly anticipated list.
Those Who Remain is currently scheduled to release in 2020 for PS4, Switch, Xbox One and PC
Preview code provided by Wired