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A Wealth Of Hallucinations: Montas

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.

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Adam Smith

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