A Wealth Of Hallucinations: Montas

By Adam Smith on October 22nd, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

Halloween approaches and brings with it zombie DLC for almost every game, although nothing quite as macabre and horrific as last year’s best expansion pack. Along with the costumes and the carved squash, Dracula’s birthday is also a time for reflection, which is the dusty old Count’s least favourite form of thinking about things. More specifically, Halloween serves to remind me that there aren’t enough horror games in the world, which is why I’m so pleased that I stumbled across Montas while searching the dark corners of the internet. It’s out next year and looks like a sci-fi splicing of Penumbra and Silent Hill. Watch.

Even though I told you to watch just then, you should probably read this bit first because the video is seven minutes long and I felt like nothing had happened for the first ten minutes. It’s a slow build-up and the opening sequence is so dark that I thought my monitor had broken. Then, after a long ride in a lift, something that looks and moves all wrong creeps about at the periphery of the player’s vision and the whole game suddenly seems deliciously trouser-troubling.

The sense of being watched, of seeing something out of the corner of the eye, is captured tremendously well and when I found out that the game will support the Oculus Rift I determined that putting my eyes inside this world by means of that magical device would be far too troubling. Does the Oculus Rift even work if the user’s eyes are narrowed to a terrified squint and brimming over with nervous tears?

The development blog contains interesting thoughts.

Lighting can dictate what the viewer is looking at, why they are looking there, but most importantly what they are feeling. Just like music, the wrong lighting at the wrong time can be disastrous for the immersion and enjoyment of the person engaged. Indie developers have proven that you don’t need anything more than black or white to get peoples attention, but you do need to understand the relationship between the two shades.

Background information on the main character and the world he inhabits is thin on the ground, the fragmented and mysterious nature of memory and environment being part of the horror. We do know this though:

Normal life for Joseph has become a distant memory, haunted by nightmares of events that didn’t happen, and cursed with unsettling hallucinations wherever he goes. As a result of stress and anxiety, Joseph is now an alcoholic.

Grim. Montas is also seeking Greenlight support.

, , , .

25 Comments »

  1. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    That’s a mighty solid shelf.

    The game looks very, very nice too!

  2. Brendy_C says:

    “Behind you”

    Wuh?

    “Define you”

    Oh. Okay.

    WAIT.

    • Mr. Mister says:

      “Behind your shelf”

      Wuh?

      “Define yourself”

      Oh. Okay.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      I *thought* I saw that change, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve been starved since Amnesia for really scary horror, so I’m hopeful that this’ll fit the bill.

    • Delicious Narwhal says:

      Wow, good eye.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    “Dracula’s birthday is also a time for reflection, which is the dusty old Count’s least favourite form of thinking about things.”

    I must thank you Adam for this wonderful play on words. Thank you.

  4. Xari says:

    What is up with that FoV? I swear it’s like 50 or something.

    • Oh Tyrone says:

      Delicious claustrophobia.

    • Sugoi says:

      Seriously, that is a nausea-inducing FOV. I literally get sick with less than 85, and to watch that video fullscreened, I had to sit about five feet back from my monitor. While I get that a low FOV is useful for making people feel claustrophobic, for many people, it just results in us wanting to throw up.

      I wish more developers would respect this.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        No one cares. I wish more gamers would get this.

        • running fungus says:

          Funny, considering the first tweak of Skyrim (of all things) to much acclaim was “increase the FOV”

        • The Random One says:

          Yeah, who the hell these people think they are, thinking that they have a RIGHT to USE A PRODUCT THEY MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN without BECOMING PHYSICALLY ILL? Games don’t exist to cater to your every whim or provide basic accessibility options, loser!

      • noclip says:

        Perhaps there’s more to FOV than “high FOV good, low FOV bad”?

        • Sugoi says:

          Oh absolutely. Some games have issues with their aspect ratios beyond simply having a low horizontal FOV. Some have a FOV that is too short vertically, or a camera that is placed too high or low (especially in conjunction with a small vertical FOV) can result in a very peculiar “feel” for players who are sensitive to it.

          With that said, low FOVs are largely a artifact of console games, which are generally played on large screens that players sit much further away from. A smaller FOV makes sense there, since the screen represents a smaller fraction of the player’s actual vision. If you sit close to your monitor, it is thus logical to need a much higher FOV, as the opposite is true. If someone plays their games while sitting far away from their monitor (or on a TV), it doesn’t surprise me that they don’t understand the complaints of those who do.

      • crinkles esq. says:

        Agreed, the FOV combined with the jerky camera movements was giving me a headache. Didn’t really feel the horror and suspense that Adam was talking about, just a desire to make it stop.

        The scariest game I ever played was Fatal Frame II. I guess you could say the only scary game, as games don’t really inspire a sense of dread in me. But that one did. Japan do know their horror.

        Speaking of Japanese horror, the subway scene in this trailer reminded me of a Japanese horror film I saw some time ago in which the Tokyo subways were haunted by a murderous ghost. The…things in this trailer just seemed kind of depressed. Though the office scene wasn’t bad; I liked that chair rolling slowly.

  5. communisthamster says:

    Should be good on OcRi, anyway. Back to that unbearable “map middle mouse to pause” feeling of horror when I first played the penumbra tech demo. No way to look away.

  6. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I saw:

    The most depressing office you ever worked in, in the dark
    The bathysphere scene from Bioshocks opening
    The french metro
    Being followed inexpertly by Morph

    I felt HORROR

    Actually no. I felt sorry for morph. He only wanted a hug. I could see the pain on his non face as the train drove away.

  7. Premium User Badge

    bear912 says:

    I’m pretty sure that if I was walking down a hallway (or underground train) and lights started turning off behind me as soon as I walked out of them, I would walk hastily back the other direction. That much encouragement from something creepy enough to turn off lights behind me probably indicates I don’t want to just keep walking blissfully onward…

  8. Olivaw says:

    I so rarely do this, but the Dracula/reflection joke in this post was tremendous. Bravo.

  9. Jake says:

    “looks like a sci-fi splicing of Penumbra and Silent Hill” – that sounds basically perfect.

    I didn’t find the video especially appealing but I think I was put off by the jerky camera movements. And the environment felt a bit spacious when I would have expected a more claustrophobic game world.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Big and empty can be just as scary. More so, for those of us not claustrophobic.

  10. Matt says:

    Dear lord that was terrifying. And nothing even happened….

  11. BrendanJB says:

    Looks wonderful. I am very excited to see more of this. A couple of things though:

    It definitely needs a slower movement speed, or at least a walk button. So many games need a walk button. Sometimes I just like to stroll through the environment and take in the atmosphere, and the jerky movement of the character in this only intensified that desire. Horror games really require that the player want to be scared, because it is far too easy to cause player disconnect and ruin the tension; one of the strengths and weaknesses of interactive media. The erratic movement and stiff camera only serve to hinder the great atmosphere they have going on. I sincerely hope it is improved upon.

    Also, is Jospeh a midget? He seems to be about 3 feet tall.

  12. maxriderules says:

    On the train scene, did anyone else notice that, facing the same window, there was a platform, another train, then a platform? I wouldn’t have thought that’d be possible, really killed the atmosphere for me