Our wonderful partner site, OPNoobs, has a really cool interview up with members of the development team at Team Junkfish regarding their project, Monstrum, currently available on Steam early access. The game looks to be a unique, yet familiar take on the survival horror genre. Thematically, the came has much in common with last year’s terrific Alien Isolation in that it puts you in a horribly compromising and under-powered situation as you work to evade (not kill) a hulking monster that stalks you throughout the corridors of a tanker ship adrift in the middle of the ocean. Other reasonable comparisons to draw are the Insomnia series that once again focus on hiding and evading the monsters that hunt you rather than allowing you to fight your way to survival. Yet the game also has numerous rogue-like elements, a randomization that eliminates any sense of pattern recognition and other cheats that help alleviate the panic in your typical survival horror.
The games nautical setting:
“There were a few factors in setting the game on a ship. The first is slightly personal; basically I both love and fear the ocean. I enjoy the calm of being on a boat and the sea breeze, but the vast expanse of water coupled with the idea of being stranded in the middle of it scares the pants off me.
The second is more gameplay oriented, as being stuck out at sea avoids the problem I have with a lot of horrors set in landlocked areas, i.e. “why can’t I just smash a window and run away like a coward?”
Regarding combat, or the lack there of:
“[C]ombat breaks atmosphere for me. There are only a few games with monsters that still intimidate me even when I can kill them: Resident Evil & the Souls series. None of them have a singular enemy, and while the Souls series has dark elements it’s not really a “horror” game.
The games immersive and ambiance-driven audio:
“Sound is a pretty important feedback medium in Monstrum as you’ll be using it to figure out where the monster is most of the time. That meant that we couldn’t clutter up the soundscape too much. I think that keeping things pared back until needed also helps with that feeling of isolation that you mentioned previously, it helps with making the players feel alone and that the ship is actually abandoned. Some of the atmospheric sounds are similar to the monsters moving around too, so it is never just a case of “oh that was just the ship moving”.”
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