Layers Of Fear Devs Reveal Cyberpunk Horror Observer

“What would you do if your fears got hacked and used against you?” asks Observer, the latest first-person horror fest from Layers of Fear devs Bloober Team. I’d be suitably terrified, I imagine. Especially when this venture drops us into a cyberpunk world filled with glitch-ridden corridors, eery holograms, weird implant machinery and ominous shadow stalkers.

Aye, I’d say terrified pretty much covers it. Shall we watch its duo of trailers together after the drop? Go on, you first.

I swear, I’m right behind you. Honestly.

Gulp. Revealed at E3’s PC Gaming Show this week, Observer sees you fill the shoes of Dan, a member of the eponymous Observers police unit. He and his outfit’s remit is to hack the minds and memories of their clients – a task which doesn’t sound all too pretty and sees them sent to places like this:

It’s a far cry from Layers of Fear’s crumbling Victorian house of latent horrors, but, even from that brief glance, Observer’s universe looks no less unsettling. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Layers of Fear in that I adored its setting, its abstract allusions, its themes of isolation and tormented protagonist; but I really didn’t get on with its eventual reliance on jump scares. Exploring the lead character’s story would have been far more entertaining than being forced to continually telegraph the next ‘BOO’. Adam shared similar thoughts in his review:

“Within minutes it has exploded in a splash of colour and sound. Rather than seeding new sources of fear with their own build toward a horrifying reveal, the game then becomes a chain reaction of fresh explosions as doors slam, phantoms sob and dolls twitch. The pacing doesn’t leave enough quiet time and it’s notable that the few moments of calm left me squirming more than the parade of terrors, to which I quickly became immune. Eventually, I fell into treating some of the more excessive scare tactics as comic relief, simply because my brain seemed to require a more varied set or responses.”

Although we’ve not much to go on for now, my hope is that Bloober learn from Layers of Fear and goes one step further this time round. They were clearly onto something before, however, in my eyes, failed to fully realise it. Observer certainly looks like they could be on the right track.

Don’t miss the rest of our E3 2016 news this week.


  1. Unsheep says:

    Their last game was impressive, and quite unique in some aspects of its design. By the looks of it, this one could go even further with the psychedelic stuff, meaning more interesting things to see.

    • cakeisalie says:

      I enjoyed Layers of Fear, and I thought it was clever in the way it manipulated you into looking or interacting with certain objects to set up the scripted events, but the game played out like a ghost train. A very pretty and well made ghost train. I mean, essentially it boiled down to a long sequence of jump scares, occasionally punctuated with some actual gameplay and storyline. I hope that Observer doesn’t make the same mistake.

      • Razumen says:

        I agree, I really liked how rooms and hallways would change around you behind your back, and they did a lot of cool tricks with delivering horror from the first perspective, but the linear nature of the game made it too obvious after awhile, I knew that if I just kept going straight I’d go where I needed to, and *knowing* anything for sure in horror is a big no-no.

        I think the real version of the house should’ve been mixed in more with the crazy one, with a few more traditional survival horror mechanics thrown in. That and dying should’ve had some real consequences.

  2. thelastpointer says:

    Ooooh, I fancy that!

  3. Jalan says:

    Forget “one step further” from Layers of Fear, they need to go at least a kilometer.

  4. Benratha says:

    In the looks, I see some strange cross between “Blade Runner” & “The Matrix”. But maybe that’s going to happen when cyberpunk is the theme. I haven’t played many horror games, in fact the only one I can recall would be STASIS (which was great). Maybe if they avoid jump-scares and go with ‘head messing’ it could be nice…