War Of The Flies: A Short Tale Of Solitude

By Nathan Grayson on December 11th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Pictured: a child, apparently.

Based on appearances, A Short Tale of Solitude takes its cues from survival-horror’s darkest, dreariest, earliest days – before fancy whosamwhatsits like player-controlled camera angles and color were invented. And yet, while A Short Tale’s appearance gives off a strong early-Resident-Evil vibe, the story seems to be headed into far less charted territory. Set inside an abandoned French orphanage during World War I, the game focuses on warring factions of deranged children and cites Lord of the Flies as one of its main influences. Kids, right? With all their wars and other crazy nonsense. When will they ever learn, the silly tykes?

A Short Tale’s venturing outside of old-school horror’s suffocatingly confined box in the way it approaches structure and progress as well. In short, our choices will have “long-lasting impacts on the rest of the game,” and we’ll encounter many “random” characters and situations. The basic meat of the game, though, works like this:

“This title tackles an era and themes not often seen in the video game medium. Set in northern France during World War I, players are thrust into the role of Sebasten, a 10-year old boy living in an abandoned orphanage. Inspired in part by literary works such as Lord of the Flies, the orphanage’s power structure has given way from adults to warring groups of children. Sebasten, lonely and distraught, must find his place amongst the adolescent society as the story takes an otherworldly turn.”

Other key features include character customization and “children giggling.” Ah, the wonders of the human brain: the latter probably ranks as one of the least-threatening phrases on Earth, but add black-and-white and some claustrophobic camera angles, and it’s a one-way ticket to white-hot terror.

A Short Tale of Solitude’s set to whisper sweet, spooky nothings into our most easily unsettled of brainplaces in January. In the meantime, it’s taken to Steam Greenlight, so – if you dig it – you know what to do. And if not, well, probably don’t open any doors that seem to be producing ceaseless childlike screams for at least the next few days. Just a helpful tip.

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19 Comments »

  1. Mr. Mister says:

    Before colors were invented eh? Who thinks that the actual textures are collored, and there’s a non-pornographic gereyscale filter there?

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  2. Jonfon says:

    Resident Evil? Really? Looks a lot more inspired by the original Alone in the Dark, which is fine by me, dark dreariness and fixed camera angles are a good thing.

    • wwwhhattt says:

      It reminded me of Pathologic, if only for the bird guy and the hand mark in the character creation screen.

  3. Bhazor says:

    We still have static camera’s. Just not in horror games.

    God of War is a good example of fixed cameras done right.

  4. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    I would play this if it had color. I’m not gonna spend 10 hours on a greyscale game.

    Crankyface.

  5. equatorian says:

    I’m very interested in the themes and setting. However, whatever filter they have going on there makes my eyes bleed, so I’m not sure if want.

  6. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    One of those characters looks quite similar to the Executors in Pathologic. That’s pretty good in my book.

  7. Citrus says:

    Black ‘n White = Horror

    Also, people who finds kids scary must be the target audience for shitty “horror” games like F.E.A.R. (where the only thing scary is the meaning of the game title).

    • Kaira- says:

      Ils (a very good french horror movie, I might say) was made a lot creepier by the final revelation which had things about kids. Also, Rule of Rose. No reason why kids can’t be creepy or fear-inducing – they are supposed to be the spitting image of innocence, but as we all know (we were kids once, weren’t we?) kids can be capable of truly horrible things.

      • DellyWelly says:

        The Orphanage is also a great horror film. As soon as I read the background for the game, I thought of that film, I’d be surprised if it hasn’t had some influence in the design of the game. It feels very similiar.

      • Citrus says:

        I have Rule of Rose on HDD (PS2 emulator) but I am too lazy to play it since I just don’t find kids scary.

        They can be made creepy I guess (but games even fail to do that, look at the latest Lucious crap).

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  8. NailBombed says:

    WAR Of The FACE : A Short WAR Of FACEitude.

  9. Muzman says:

    Sort of a game about playing along in your own Quay Brothers film.

  10. Kefren says:

    For some reason it reminds me of Nosferatu the Vampyre (C64). Can’t pin down why, since comparing static screenshots isn’t enough, but maybe the pace/angle/movement/environment?