Indie developer Sun Scorched Studios has been working on a new third-person survival-horror game called Negative Atmosphere. It’s a love letter to Visceral Games’ Dead Space series, which was unceremoniously killed off by Electronic Arts after they bungled the third game in the series in an attempt to attract casual audiences by making it less scary and more “broadly appealing”.
Well, Sun Scorched Studios doesn’t care about appealing to a phantom audience, and is instead focused on appealing to the group of gamers who are actually interested in a hardcore, survival-horror experience where you’re dealing with vicious enemies who can damage, wound, and maim you rather easily, all while you desperately struggle to stockpile munitions and melee weapons in order to survive the outbreak taking place on the hauling ship the TRH Rusanov.
Players take on the role of 49-year-old ex-combat medic Samuel Edwards as he attempts to fight through deformed and mutated crew mates and haywire service robots, all while trying to figure out what’s behind the outbreak. You can check out some demo footage from EGX Rezzed 2019 below, courtesy of Roanoke Gaming.
The demo on display is only four minutes long, running on the Unreal Engine 4. Much like Dead Space the game uses a HUD-free design to keep the player’s view from being obstructed with on-screen nonsense.
In the demo we see Edwards walk through the hall, find a dead body and then pick up a gun from a severed arm. Things get cranked up to the next level as the security doors begin to shut and lots of monster screams can be heard throughout the halls.
The game is definitely rough around the edges, but it also shows a lot of promise. The animations are stilted when it comes to hit reactions, and the hit detection for the melee attacks is still kind of janky, but I do like how Edwards goes berserk and starts shouting and cursing as he’s shooting and curb-stomping enemies into a bloody pulp. It’s a very underutilized use of character ambiance in most survival-horror games.
The EGX demo is the culmination of five months worth of work, but it looks like a lot of the core elements are in place, such as the basic character movement, attack animations, and hurt responses. The lighting and environmental details also seem to have a right-proper theme about them, and they tell a lot about the intricacies of the story without requiring any vocal exposition, which is always the best way to go when making a horror game. Of course, there’s still a lot more that needs to be developed and fleshed out, but the foundation is definitely laid.
They’re currently gathering funds for development via their Patreon page.
There’s also no release date set just yet, but they are aiming to get a playable demo up and out at some point in 2019, followed by a Kickstarter campaign. They want to release the game first on PC and Mac, and if they get enough funding, eventually home consoles. We’ll keep you posted on any significant updates regarding Negative Atmosphere as further progress is made on the game.