Frederick Reynal isn’t a name I’d expect to have to ask for money, but the gaming industry has always worked on a “what have you done for me lately?” philosophy. Good Old Games may sell a decent amount of Reynal’s Little Big/Twinsen’s Adventures and the original Alone in the Dark, and Toy Commander was one of Dreamcast’s early hits. It’s been a very long time since then, however (I’m ignoring Battle Tag, as did publisher Ubisoft and the rest of the world), and it’s time to complete a new game again. The new project is a return to survival horror and has one hell of a clever gameplay hook.
2Dark is a game about herding children through the lairs of mass-murdering psychopaths. Smith is a man tortured by the death of his wife and kidnapped children 17 years ago, still trying to figure out what happened and why. He tracks down the killers to their lair but, of course, it’s never as simple as just busting down the door and filling whatever’s inside with bullets. The killers have children hostages scattered throughout the buildings, so getting them to safety takes precedence over any other goal. Find a child and it joins your ever-growing pack of followers, and they need to be kept safe and as unharmed as possible to get the best level ranking. The kids follow automatically, but they are children and tend to do their own thing at inopportune moments. Smith deals with this with two commands, “Sssh!” to quiet them if they start to cry or stop them in their tracks if they go wandering, and “Follow me” to get them back on the right path. Crying is infectious, spreading from one child to another, so it’s vital to keep them in check. Sound is as important as light in 2Dark, and you’ll need control over both to find the children and avoid unnecessary encounters. The action is viewed from an overhead perspective, with all lit areas visible whether they’re right beside you or on the other side of a wall, but if there’s a noise it will show up as a blue sound wave emanating from its source. That bump might be an undiscovered moving child or something far more evil, so while you certainly can shoot blindly into the dark it’ll probably have a pretty severe impact on your level rating if you start killing children because they made a scary sound.
2Dark has been running on French Kickstarter-alternative Ulele for almost a month now, and with only five days left on the clock it’s looking pretty likely to meet its final goal but could use a little help to make sure it gets there. Frederick Reynal hasn’t had a voice in gaming in far too long, and it’s long past time to see him create something new. 2Dark is going into some fantastic horror territory, stomping into areas of child endangerment that most games wouldn’t dream of coming within miles of, and Reynal’s got the track record to pull it off in a way that’s both meaningful and a lot of fun. Head on over and take a look. Even if 2Dark doesn’t pull a few Eruos from your pocket there’s still some fantastic cartoon concept art to make the click worthwhile.