Sleeping Sickness: BioWare Tease Horror Game

By Adam Smith on July 25th, 2014 at 10:04 am.

A teaser trailer, released without a great deal of context via what appears to be a viral marketing campaign. Not the sort of thing I’d normally bother you all with but what little context there is does capture the imagination. First of all, it’s a BioWare teaser and it doesn’t look like part of an established series, unless it’s a very peculiar Jade Empire reboot. Second point of interest is that it looks like it might be marketing for a horror game about a man wearing a hoodie, which places it in an established genre. Edit: Could these nightmares be the first hint of the Failbetter/BioWare collaboration? Delicious.

The main draw is the tagline though – “What really happens when we sleep?” I posed the question to the RPS newsroom. Answers and video below.

I’d be chuffed it this was simply a game about a cinematographer who has particularly well-framed nightmares. No big mystery, no enemies to fight and no supernatural elements. Just weird dreams all the way down.

That won’t be the case. The brief email that contained the link to the trailer (“YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN”, it read, meaning that I almost skipped past it thinking it was a Peruvian Lotto scam) contained dark mutterings about power levels rising. Seriously.

“The time is near…they are watching. Your power is rising. You’ve been chosen.”

Righto. We’ll find out more at Gamescom in a few weeks I’d imagine. Mostly because I saw a reference to the event on the YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN website when it loaded briefly this morning. It’s dead now. Or sleeping perhaps, which brings us neatly to that question.

“What really happens when we sleep, RPS?”

Alec – “We lie in bed feeling infinitely sorry for ourselves and waiting for the screaming from the nursery to begin.”

Alice – “REGRET”

Ben – “At the moment? A lot of sweating.” (presumably because of the Great Blighty Heatwave rather than anything untoward – Ed)

Graham, Jim and John aren’t around so I consulted last night’s footage of their sleeping forms that automatically uploads to my private Twitch streams.

Turns out that as soon as Graham’s head hits the pillow, his beard detaches itself from the chin area and goes to the pub. It’s a cider drinker.

Jim sleeps with his eyes open, if such an intensely furrowed mind can be said to sleep at all.

John lies on the top layer of a ball pit and slowly sinks beneath the surface as he falls into slumber.

As for me? I haven’t slept in a year.

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50 Comments »

  1. Gap Gen says:

    http://rockpapershotgun.com/images/14/jul/bioware.jpg

    Hello, come in, sit down, let me tell you about BioWare’s new horror game. My face? Oh, that’s just a side-effect of joining BioWare. Brandy?

  2. Turkey says:

    I feel like I just watched some kind of bizarre PSA warning about the working class.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    Sweet! I’ve been hoping Bioware would do something outside their beaten path. Could this have to do with the collaboration Bioware are doing with Failbetter games, they of Fallen London and Sunless Sea?

  4. Bostec says:

    Its obviously Nightmare on Choosn street.

  5. frightlever says:

    Which brings us to “The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never had To” by D C Pierson, a sometime College Humor irregular.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Couldnt-Sleep-Never-Vintage-Contemporaries/dp/0307474615

    This promo? Meh.

  6. Wowbagger says:

    Bring back nightmare creatures, that is all.

  7. Spacewalk says:

    I thought that we regenerated HP when we sleep.

  8. TheVGamer says:

    This is reminding of the ARG for the World of Darkness MMO. What a disaster that turned out to be…

  9. Tei says:

    My nightmares are polygonal shapes, mathematical abstractions and unshaped problems.
    I laugh at monsters, because they have shape. If they bleed, can be killed.
    I am not scared of dead, immortal beings, or godlike tentacled monsters.

    If a problem is well defined, odds are that I can find a solution for it. But give me a poorly defined problem, and I will rest uneasy that night.

  10. Mulberry11 says:

    Great, because it’s not like any of their developer diaries reveal a severe lack of time/manpower to fulfill the promises on their existing franchises. I’m sure spreading them across another game won’t turn ME4 or DA:I into an even more on-rails shit show.

    • Philomelle says:

      Obligatory sarcastic observation that you’re right, one studio announcing a new title obviously means that other titles developed by completely different studios belonging to the same brand will be ruined forever.

      • Mulberry11 says:

        I’m not saying they can’t staff up another studio but you can only spread your talent so thin. Unless they send some of their senior design/development people there’s not much that makes it a Bioware game.

        • Philomelle says:

          You seem to misunderstand something. Bioware isn’t a studio, it’s a brand. It’s four separate studios staffed collectively by over 500 people and located all over North America. There is no talent spreading too thin because they’re run by completely different people.

          Mass Effect 4 cannot be affected by this game’s development simply because they belong to different studios. That game is being developed by Bioware Montreal. This game is by Bioware Edmonton, which is the core studio and the biggest one. The only talent it has to draw from is Dragon Age developers, and I somehow doubt that a game that will be coming out in two months would need the same people as a game that’s been only teased today, is still in development and in fact seems to be a collaboration with another studio.

          • Mulberry11 says:

            Fair enough, I’ll concede that my point was most likely tempered with a degree of bitterness about seeing a company I once loved going in a direction I don’t like.

          • Convolvulus says:

            BioWare is a brand, but in this context it’d be more helpful to think of it as a division of EA. You seem to be under the impression that a given game is created entirely within one building, but that isn’t how it works with large companies and large projects. EA Montreal, for example, was turned into BioWare Montreal specifically to aid in the creation of Mass Effect 2. (In fact the Edmonton and Montreal studios are administratively considered one entity: BioWare Canada.) It wouldn’t make any sense to have staff for all development stages in each location working only on games affixed with their own stamp. What would pre-visualization people do during production, for instance? You can’t keep an entire office busy with paltry DLC and reworked game endings, and you can’t always have another game going into production because then EA would lose even more money when you’re shuttered. Possibly discounting those Facebook games from BioWare San Francisco [shuttered], I can assure you that after Mass Effect no title with the developer’s label has been created solely by one studio.

          • johnny5 says:

            Alternate headline: “Electronic Arts Hopes to Break History of Mediocre PC Games with New Offering”

  11. Wulfram says:

    http://www.videogamer.com/ps4/dragon_age_inquisition/news/bioware_teasing_new_ip_reveal_for_gamescom.html

    Probably called “Shadow Realms”.

    Also EA apparently registered a bunch of web addresses related to that name, including some with words like “Free” and “Online” in

  12. USER47 says:

    “The time is near…they are watching. Your power is rising. You’ve been chosen.”

    I see Bioware writers’ imagination is as good as ever…

    • LordCrash says:

      Indeed. It’s a tragedy that “you’ve been chosen” is the only story idea Bioware came up with in the last 10 years for all their games…

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        I’d say that the Mass Effect series isn’t really a “chosen” thing – at least, there wasn’t much in the way of prophecy. Sure, you were chosen to be a Specter, but that was in-story due to an impressive record.

        The player in Dragon Age: Origins was also not chosen beyond being put into the Grey Wardens (and you particular character only got that far because Duncan happened to find you instead of the other potential PCs) and then surviving a battle due to not being trusted to be on the front lines.

        And Dragon Age 2, for all its faults, has absolutely nothing in the way of a Chosen One.

        • MkMax says:

          are you kidding ?

          in Mass effect you are the *one* human to become a specter, then you got *chosen* by the *one* protean beacon, then you become the *one* human that can lead the suicide mission and then you are the *one* human warning against the reapers, with the *one* ship that can do what needs to be done

          in Dragon age 1, you are the *one* gray warden that can rally the land

          in Dragon age 2 you are the *one* champion

          in Dragon age 3 you are *branded* by some green powers that make you *the one*

          Everything from Bioware is based on “you are the only one” “you were chosen” “you were given unique power” “the only one in the position” “the only one in the right place at the right time (regardless of those that were also at the same place at the same time)” “the only one with the tools” ideas, and this is always from the start (sometimes after a short prologue), you never earn it, its never a personal story, the world is always in peril and you are the *one* to fix that, time itself revolves around you, the world would be static without you there

          • Wulfram says:

            With that broad definition, your criticism applies to basically the whole RPG genre. Or at least all of those with a plot.

          • bleeters says:

            I actually found it hilarious when, at one point in the smuggler story in The Old Republic, your character has the option to complain about how tired s/he is of being told ‘you’re the only one who can stop this’ and that s/he’s just someone who can shoot straight.

          • cpt_freakout says:

            @Wulfram which both tells you a lot about the lack of imaginative premises in the RPG genre and a lot about those RPGs that actually handled such a premise right.

      • Rizlar says:

        “You have been chosen… to serve the esteemed Mssr. Visage Fumée. Pick up your uniform downstairs and get to work folding his undergarments. Not that way, use the back hall you useless clod…” etc

    • Turkey says:

      But the prophecies have foretold of The Sleepwalker: The one who can bring balance between the waking world and Snoozetopia.

  13. striker says:

    Just wanted to remind you of this RPS article waaaay back from February this year:
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/02/10/rock-paper-shotgun-officially-rules-against-teaser-trailers/

    Quote: “The Court Of Horace has ruled, and the decision is final – infinite even: teaser trailers can bugger off.”

    :)

  14. unit 3000-21 says:

    “[Graham's] beard detaches itself from the chin area and goes to the pub. It’s a cider drinker.”
    Even if it doesn’t drink it all of the day?

  15. Rizlar says:

    Those graphics are pretty sweet though.

  16. Curratum says:

    If I cared about horror games and if Sunless Sea was not such a bore, I may have been excited about this.

  17. lowprices says:

    Bioware are working with Failbetter? Would it be wildly optimistic to assume this means Bioware are throwing money and coders at Failbetter and letting them do what they want? Because if that’s the case then my feelings could only be captured by a gif of Kermit the Frog flailing wildly.

  18. Dances to Podcasts says:

    When we sleep the world gets taken apart and its constituent parts rearranged into a surreal freakish carnival that twists, flips, turns and accelerates until it explodes in parts that then reassemble and start over again. Confetti of confetti. Then, just before we wake up, it reassembles as if nothing ever happened.

  19. aliksy says:

    Obligatory “I don’t buy EA games, and you shouldn’t either.” I assume they’ll fuck it up with intrusive IAPs or somesuch.

    Alternatively, Don’t Rest Your Head is a cool tabletop game.

  20. Wulfram says:

    It’s apparently not done by either of the canadian Bioware studios. So presumably Austin, who did SW:tOR

  21. Jake says:

    I have that same nightmare – I’m late to catch a lift with my friend and then when I get there I realise we are wearing the exact same outfit!

  22. altum videtur says:

    Oh. Those are what nightmares are like. Huh.

    So in my restless dreams (lol SH reference oooooooo) I usually just see shit that would actually reasonably happen go horribly wrong. Mostly involving hurting others/getting hurt/permanently destroying the possibility of continuing what meager existence I have. The only way to tell dreams apart from reality is that when remembered I usually have trouble fitting them to a specific time, they feel like, I dunno, “scenarios” so I can tell they didn’t actually take place.
    I’m sure it’s perfectly healthy for my brains’ abilities’ to tell realities’ aparts.

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