Paratopic is low-polygon horror with high-stakes


Look, who among us doesn’t love a good weirdo Twin Peaksy, Lynchian nightmare game? Well, there’s a new game coming out March 12 called Paratopic that hopes to a very 90s version of a fever dream trapped in a bottle of cough syrup. What we’re saying is: we’re pretty excited.

For the game’s website, here’s the official synopsis:

A surreal, grainy fever dream into the evening. An assassin prepares for her kill, a man is strong armed into smuggling contraband VHS tapes over the border and young girl finds the rusted remnants of illicit industry deep in the forest…

Out tomorrow, you can get the game on Designed by indie developers Jess Harvey (Tangiers), Doc Burford (Game One), and composer Chris Brown (Lazarus Audio) have made something that seethes ambience.

Check out the trailer below.

Maybe I’m feeling particularly excited by this new title because I just saw YouTuber 98DEMAKE churn out a gosh dang delightful low-poly remake of the PT trailer for the unmade Silent Hills. I want this. I want this so badly. Give it to me. Whose house do I need to stand outside of to demand it? (Yeah, I’m getting really need over a demake of a trailer for a game that will never exist. Video games, y’all.)

If you’re in the mood for something in this genre you can play right now, maybe give Back In 1995 a whirl.


  1. Zallgrin says:

    Oh damn, I love the trailer so much! I’m so thrilled for the return of low-poly graphics, especially since I had only played Half-Life in 2012 and been blown away by it.

    Since then I was basically itching for more experiences like it – not necessarily similar in gameplay or atmosphere, but games that replace good graphics with good aesthetics and whose laconic worlds allow the devs to allocate the budget to creating cool experiences.

  2. shagen454 says:

    Yeah, I was recently watching one of the Looking Glass developers talk about Thief and how they programmed the AI. The whole time I was thinking how awesome the graphics (looked and) would look in a modern game with some tweaking. It’s crazy that Thief came out so long ago but it’s ai/lighting/sound ai systems are still ahead of huge franchises like Ass Creed that come out year after year after year. And those systems were what made and still make Thief one of my favorite games to date. Half-Life was probably the last game in close to 20 years that had interesting AI in 3D shooter… Just trying to say, developers could easily focus less on graphics and more on in-game systems and get a much better product… I honestly loved this last AssCreed, but imagine it with some real bad ass ai, real light/sound systems for sneaking. I mean, remember running and hiding in Thief and watching a guard walking 1ft away from you with a torch lighting up the darkness? That’s the real shit.

    • edwardoka says:

      Thief is unparalled in atmosphere and is proof that in many cases less is more.

      The AI itself is as dumb as a bag of rocks but it’s the use of barks and body language that makes it so convincing (especially with the total lack of gamey UI elements to show how alerted a guard is/where the player’s last-known location is).

      Multiple tiers of alertness with amazing voice acting for the guards totally sells it – these guards are bored, easily startled idiots and it comes across in their performance.

      I’m be happy to keep the overall look of the first two games (there’s some really impressive stuff being done with NewDark) but
      a faithful Thief game with Rainbow Six: Siege’s positional audio tech, though…

    • Psychomorph says:

      Funny thing you mention Thief, the screenshot in the article instantly made me think it is a screenshot from some Thief 2 fan mission.

      Thief as a stealth game is unparalleled still today, because most stealth games just have an easy stealth mode button and poor sound awareness.

  3. Vinraith says:

    How can anyone be nostalgic about what was, without question, the absolute worst era for graphics? I mean, I’m sick to death of pixel art, but it looks a million times better than early 3D.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      The era before around 1997 was the worst in terms of 3D graphics (though advancements with the Quake engine rapidly fixed that). It’s something that I lamented at the time, but not for all games. It was because a lot of games were being shoe-horned into the new medium, whether they benefited from it or not. (especially on console before PS2) For a lot of franchises this was a significant step backwards.

      These days we have the benefit of retrospection. We can look at all these different styles and eras then ask which best fits the style of game we’re making. Horror can do some great things with obfuscation and low detail. Some of the scariest games use some of the archaic 3D engines, because things are just “off”.

      I love that developers have this wide range of styles to choose from. It really shows the growth and maturation of the medium.

    • Turkey says:

      I’m going to guess that it has more to do with nostalgia for Silent Hill than early 3d in general. The ugly graphics where you can’t completely tell what’s going on is part of the thing that gives those first two games that otherworldly atmosphere that they were never able to recapture in later instalments.

    • Psychomorph says:

      It’s funny how back then I lamented the graphics, but today have no issues with such.
      Probably because of the frustration having a game with perfect modern graphics, but awful game design and boring gameplay.

    • misterT0AST says:

      I heard this awful opinion parroted a million times, and I disagreed with it every single one.
      There is nothing ugly about Medievil, Glover, Nanosaur or Turok.

  4. Turkey says:

    I hope this millennial Lynch obsession lasts forever, only because I’m dreading the inevitable nostalgia mining of the late’90s.

  5. Michael Fogg says:

    I want characters to have that Q2 psychedelic wobble like in Kingpin

    • identiti_crisis says:

      I remember the unreal engine had a similar thing, as though the textures didn’t follow the animations properly.

      • MajorLag says:

        The effect is due to affine texture mapping. Basically, depth information was ignored when mapping texture coordinates to triangle coordinates, making the result incorrect for the perspective. This is because perspective correct mapping requires several division operations which were too computationally expensive to do for every texel on a lot of hardware at the time. The result is a texture that appears to shift as the viewing angle of the triangle changes.

  6. poliovaccine says:

    “A fever dream trapped in a bottle of cough syrup.” So, a bottle of cough syrup.

  7. Stevostin says:

    Note to publishers: stick to youtube for your videos. Tweeter ones are not really working and facebook lags behind in terms of quality.