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Procedural Kowloon: Phantasmal On Steam Early Access

Do you know about Kowloon Walled City? It was a small but densely-populated hunk of unregulated city in Hong Kong, known for drugs, Triads, and unlicensed doctors and dentists, but also home to 33,000 people a few years before it was demolished in 1993. It looked straight out a cyberpunk flick, with building upon building crammed in close and veined with mazes of corridors. Which makes it an interesting setting for procedurally-generated sneak-o-shoot-a-horror.

Last time we saw Phantasmal [official site], it was set in a ghost house. Now it’s out on Steam Early Access, ooh look it’s switched to Kowloon.

All the people are gone from Kowloon in Phantasmal, replaced with various types of spooky ghost. They are not friendly ghosts. You can kill them with melee weapons, or a few rare (and noisy) firearms, but it seems like you’ll be a lot better off sneaking and scavenging in the shadows.

Developers Eyemobi say it’s “fully playable with the core gameplay complete” in its initial Early Access state, but they plan a lot of work. Over the next 3-6 months, they plan to improve monster AI and the AI director that controls the game, bosh in procedural story generation, make it more Lovecraftian, add more and more varied environments, and more. Right now it costs £10.99, but that will go up once it leaves Early Access.

I do wish more games would explore settings like this, ideally with the people still in there. Phantasmal’s Kowloon does look far too open to my eyes too. Have a trailer:

(I hear this book about Kowloon Walled City is a cracking read, if you’re curious.)

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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