Ural ‘Orrible Deaths: First-Person Spooker Kholat


The Dyatlov Pass incident is one of those strange and horrible tragedies you’d read in a book filled with tales of spontaneous human combustion, the Mary Celeste, ball lightning, Roanoke Colony, the Lead Masks Case, star jelly, and other mysteries that the author’s not saying aliens did, right, but aliens probably did it. Nine hikers died in Russia’s Ural mountains in 1959 after cutting their tent open from the inside and scattering barefoot into the snow. Their corpses were found weeks and months later, some with strange wounds. And first-person horror Kholat is inspired by that tale. Kholat’s not saying ghosts did it, but a beautiful new trailer shows ghosts probably did it.

It’s delving into passes, peaks, and caverns of the Urals to investigate those deaths, and encountering spoOoOoky things along the way. I think it a little odd to turn real-life deaths supernatural, as this seems to, but gawd knows video games do far worse every single day. Maybe these shades are hypothermic hallucinations, and the real horror is our own frailty.

Supposedly players will need to navigate using a map and compass, which sounds splendid. There’s talk of a “fear manager” managing tension too, which I assume means procedural spooky events.

Kholat is due some time between January and March next year, and is currently trying to survive on Steam Greenlight. Here, look at these beautiful and horrible icy mountains:


  1. mattlambertson says:

    Every time one of these non-violent exploration games (“walking simulators”) comes out or is announced, I feel like the world becomes a little bit warmer and happier.

    • Wedge says:

      I’m gonna say the environs present here seem to give at least the possibility of things being slightly less than non-violent.

      • Dale Winton says:

        I do like a good walking simulator

        • emperor_nero says:

          A ‘walking simulator’ is fine as long as there is some actual game play elements and it isn’t in the Dear Esther vein.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        And pretty cold as well, I might add.

        Maybe because it’s just a small fragment of potential gameplay, but some of the ‘scary’ sound effects felt a bit off to me.

        Good setting for a game, though. Just wish it was more of an exploration/open world game.

    • Vandelay says:

      Honestly, one of the things I think the Occulus Rift will be best at is Walking Simulators.

      • Psychomorph says:

        The thing that the Oculus Rift will be best at is being a Field Of View Simulator.

        Over will be the days where it’s too wide, yet too narrow.

  2. Kefren says:

    Would be a nice engine for a game version of this: link to goodreads.com

    • battles_atlas says:

      I read that on holiday once! I remember nothing of it except the baddy who met his end after getting lost in the caverns underground and trying to crawl through cracks to the surface, eventually running out crawl spaces to crawl through. Buried before he even started his escape attempt. Stuck with me, that did. Put me right off potholing.

      • Kefren says:

        I thought the opening chapter was a tour de force of how to grab people and keep them riveted. :-)

  3. internisus says:

    “Supposedly players will need to navigate using a map and compass, which sounds splendid.”

    Yes, please! And hopefully not the Far Cry 2 variety where the map is automagically filled in with all kinds of icons and you don’t have to use your brain none.

  4. tumbleworld says:

    Where’s that picture of Giorgios Tsoukalos painted up like Vivec when you need it, eh?

    A game based on Dyatlov Pass sounds awesome, though. Could be a lot of fun. I’m actually somewhat surprised that our modern parapsych mythology doesn’t get more exposure in games. Croatoan ARPG, anyone? Tower defence by marking Nazca lines? Ancient rusted iron pipes in the Chinese wilderness open onto Elder-tech complex? There’s all kinds of batshit stuff that could make for some really great gaming spaces.

  5. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    That trailer was very, very pretty.

    Nice alt text too.

  6. Stevostin says:

    Very preety, not scary at all. Also it looks way to cold for rainfalls.

  7. Monggerel says:

    I too went up that mountain once…

  8. Hex says:

    Hey, look, a land-slide. Let’s walk directly underneath it.

  9. RexCortex says:

    Congrats, they managed to make a trailer out of an UE4 tech demo “The Cave”. link to youtube.com