When determining what makes a great horror film I look to films that not only contained good scares but also films that contain a good narrative. It’s the same when playing a horror game, to the point where I believe narrative is even more important since the game depends on a players investment in the story and progression of the controlled character. I play scary games to keep my character alive, in spite of all the monsters surrounding me, trying to rip me limb from limb. And if I care about the person I’m playing with then it feels all the more important. Game developers at DONTNOD have released part four of their web series, in which they talk of narrative and its significance when it comes to their upcoming game, Vampyr.
The trailer explains what it is that makes video games unique when compared to other mediums (film, television, books) for storytelling, as well as their approach to narrative. Stéphane Beauverger, DONTNOD’s Narrative Director, explains that Vampyr’s intricate gameplay system will frequently keep players occupied. It is because of this that aspects of the game like exploration, citizen encounters and multiple choice answers will intertwine strongly with the game’s story. Vampyr’s Game Director, Philippe Moreau, also explains in more details that the relationship between gamer and character, as well as the direct feeling of control, is exclusive to games and something he has worked hard to make feel special in Vampyr.
DONTNOD compares video games to theatre, which also creates a close relationship between actor and spectator. This is usually more effective and emotive than any film or television show. Their goal for Vampyr is total game immersion and in the web series episode you see how the studio has also employed the use of motion capture technology to give the cast of Vampyr a feel of humanity and realism that players will appreciate. They also mention the importance of music within a game, saying that to set the right mood, the soundtrack needs to compliment the game’s narrative to help create a game that makes 1918 London come ‘alive’.
The best part of this trailer is that we finally get a release date for Vampyr, which is shown at the end to be June 5th. Having only started playing horror games in the past few years I’ve been enjoying that real sense of tension and fear that a good immersive game can provide. Now that Vampyr is arriving on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One I’ll be making sure to play this game late into night, all my lights turned off, and my stake by my side, just in case…