Perception: Former Irrational Folks Crowdfunding Horror

You’ll play a blind girl called Cassie who must use echolocation to explore a haunted mansion in Perception, a first-person horror game just launched on Kickstarter by former Irrational members. It looks to be a refreshing take on the scary house trope, with noise ‘illuminating’ areas so that you can ‘see’. Cassie’s ability to detect her surroundings are not dissimilar to those of Marvel’s Daredevil, except it’s unlikely that she will be flipping out and beating people with sticks. Probably.

The Kickstarter video below does a great job of demonstrating the mechanic and you’ll also get to see the game’s gorgeous art style which manages a nice balance between “ohhh, spooky” and “oooh, pretty”. The demo has familiar artistic flair, excellent voice acting and sound design that remind me of some of developers The Deep End Games’ former works. They’re mostly from BioShock creators Irrational Games, including BioShock lead level designer and Binfinite design director Bill Gardner, along with folks who’ve chipped in levels, art, and sound for the series. Nothing about this game doesn’t already make me want to jump in and play.

The Deep End Games are looking for $150,000 (£97,000-ish) on Kickstarter to finish development. It’s a relatively modest amount, but considering there are no famous faces attached it’s not a sure thing. Pledging at least $20 (£13) would get you a copy of the finished game when/if it launches, which they expect will be in June 2016.

19 Comments

  1. Lars Westergren says:

    Looks intriguing! I wonder if the main mechanic is enough to carry a whole game? It might get a bit annoying after a while. Still, I backed this. Hope it slowly builds up atmosphere through the audio and narration, and doesn’t rely too much on jump scares.

  2. JimboDeany says:

    I like the idea but it does seem to lend itself rather too well to jump scares.

  3. Muzman says:

    Gone Blind?

    There was an indie game using this sort of navigation mechanic a couple of years ago wasn’t there? Or maybe it was a jam game from somewhere.
    The sound splashes always seem to move so slowly in these things though. All the better to creep you out I suppose.
    Also, I’m not sure what her noise maker is (a cane possibly?) but I think they should have her use a clicker or click herself, as in reality.
    It’d also be cool if things were a bit blurry until you touched them or something.

    • j6m says:

      Devil’s Tuning Fork springs to mind…

      • Muzman says:

        Yeah that’s the one I was thinking of.

        I should add I think this one looks pretty good. I just had a few suggestions.

    • Tinotoin says:

      Dark Echo is similar, 2D and not sure if it’s only on splodgy iOS.

      • Jalan says:

        Recently released on Steam via Greenlight. I mean… Shovelware-light.

  4. Ross Angus says:

    What the video doesn’t show – and perhaps this is intentional – is how Cassie’s abilities can be used to her advantage. For example, by tracking down, and smashing lightbulbs, or finding and setting off sources of noise to “illuminate” her surroundings.

    I’m sure I saw an old film where exactly this happened, but I’m much too lazy to Google it.

  5. Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

    This kinda harks back to the original silent hill PlayStation game which drew the world about 5 feet ahead of you but was pretty terrifying for it. My concern is that the girls voice detracts from the atmosphere. Also with the lovely tactile hands animations in outlast in mind the lack of such here seems a regression.

  6. Iain_1986 says:

    Their Projected Budget disrtibution is such a farce…

    link to ksr-ugc.imgix.net

    Design and Writing is near 40% of the budget? Audio second with 25%?!?

    More spent on Design and Writing than Art and Code combined?

    Oh wait. Their whole team doesn’t include a single programmer. All designers and writers. Of course thats their biggest budget.

    I would be terrified joining a team of near 80%+ “ideas guys” as nearly the only programmer.

    Budget of $150k…so what, after Kickstarter taking and failed pledges, Code and Art have a combined budget of $50k?

    Never. Going. To. Happen.

    How can some people just be so *bad* at projecting costs, planning, running and actual business when going on Kickstarter asking for peoples money.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      > Design and Writing is near 40% of the budget?
      > More spent on Design and Writing than Art and Code combined?

      InXile say they spend a large portion of their budgets on writing, I’m ok with that as I like strong writing in games. Might be a bit different as they do a reactive and branching storyline though.

      > Oh wait. Their whole team doesn’t include a single programmer. All designers and writers.

      Game tools are pretty powerful these days. Perhaps in level and systems designer they include scripting experience? What they showed in the video seemed pretty playable? Justin sounds like has some programming experience, though he only mentions graphics programming specifically.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        What they showed in the video seemed pretty playable?

        They’re just walking around a nicely built Unreal Engine 4 level.

        You can do some basic stuff in UE4 with minimal effort, but without a C++ expert on staff, I’d be *extremely* conservative about the types of games you can realistically create. Blueprints become a spaghetti code style mess very very quickly.

  7. Sunjammer says:

    Seems weird to me to use visuals to represent blindness in such a plain regard. It’s not as if we have blind people tossing rocks about to “hear the world” now do we? It’s like.. Blindness as a weird power fantasy, somehow.

    I dunno, seems pretty dumb.

  8. Smoky_the_Bear says:

    These horror games are getting worse!! Procedurally generated Monstrum which gives me a different layout each time. Now a game where I CAN’T SEE!!! Nopenopenopenopenope.

  9. Frank says:

    I like that she says “oh hell no” to that Ken Levinish doll.

    I tried replaying Bioshock again recently and found the voices utterly insufferable.

  10. tnzk says:

    Hmmm…. I have a feeling it’s going to disappoint. It’s a great concept, but it already looks like they’re going to try lean heavily on an actual story. The problem is, I have little faith in a video game developer to write a plot that’s any good.

    Amnesia and the Silent Hills leaned heavily on atmosphere and art direction. Didn’t actually know or care about the mythos of either series. Anyone remember what the hell was going on in Silent Hill 3?