By Nathan Grayson on February 28th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.
Having only just stumbled across The Last Door, my brain is now in full-on, code-red “pleasebegoodpleasebegoodpleasebegood” mode. The successfully crowdfunded episodic horror adventure aims to plant a hardy oak of pure dread somewhere between the sleeping soils of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, setting its tale in late 19th century England. It may not look like much, but that’s actually one of the more intriguing parts of the project: its creators want to focus on crafting imagination-evoking atmosphere over punch-you-in-the-face imagery, so the visuals are being kept deliberately simple. The end result? Sound’s absolutely key, and it’s intoxicatingly lush. There’s a brief playable prologue over on Last Door’s website. I definitely recommend you give it a go.
The prologue’s a brief, simple thing, sure, but – buried beneath some stilted, repetitive dialogue – there’s certainly promise. Here’s the basic setup, which will play out over the course of multiple 15-40 minute main episodes and a plethora of subgames, secrets, and ARG-type community events:
“The story starts in the late 19th century in the south of England. Good times for science, psychology and art. The main character receives a letter from his old friend Anthony asking for help. A strange request since it has been long time since they were colleagues at the University. But when he arrives to his house in the Sussex county he finds that something horrible might be happening.”
“Might” sounds like something of an understatement.
At any rate, it’s a highly ambitious point ‘n’ shriek, given that it’s casting its net wide and coming out of a very small studio. It also reminds me a fair bit of Home, which managed to do quite a bit with equally little while leveraging other forms of media (Twitter, etc) to tell a larger story.
If you have another whopping three whole minutes, you might want to play through the director’s commentary version of the prologue as well. The insights are basic, but fascinating nonetheless. They gave me confidence that The Game Kitchen’s head is at least in the right place, though hands, tendrils, and other horror-constructing implements will obviously need to follow suit.
The Last Door’s pilot chapter beta will kick off on March 1st, with a full release to come a few weeks after. It might not be the highly meta tale of one last remaining arbitrary door in an era of open-world videogames that I’ve always dreamed of, but I’m still interested. How about you?