Slender: The Arrival Details Land, Release Scheduled For “First Quarter” Of 2013
The only way you wouldn’t know about the current craze surrounding the Slender Man would be if you’ve been living under a rock for the entirety of last year. In August, I reviewed Slender, a game by Mark Hadley and Parsec Productions, which was not just an excellent horror game, but a game I immediately could see when I wrote about it that it had massive scope and potential to be expanded.
Throughout the whole of last year, I was proven right by the sheer storm that erupted after this game, as it went on to not only revive the horror genre, but bring about a cultural influence on the gaming industry, spawn its own type of game and influence many other indie horror games and spin-offs, like the extremely successful Slenderman’s Shadow series. It even influenced an independent movie called Entity. For a fun little fact, it also went on to win Indie Game of the Year in our 2012 awards.
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In the midst of all this, Mark Hadley returned to reveal that Parsec Productions, in collaboration with Blue Isle Studios, were hard at work on the true sequel to the original game, and it would be called Slender: The Arrival. It would not only feature massively improved graphics, but a full campaign, new features and an actual story. Initially, it was set for release at the end of last year, but it was pushed back into 2013. Aside from a teaser trailer for the game, which you can check out up above, and some screenshots, all of which you can see down below, very little was revealed about the game. That is, until a very recent interview was published by the game’s new community manager, Daniella.
Daniella exclusively chatted with Alex Tintor, a designer at Blue Isle Studios, and the first question she asked concerned the release date of the game. While Tintor couldn’t give an exact date yet, and stressed that the extra development time is “really worth it” to make the best experience possible, he did respond by saying: “The best I can say right now is early 2013, first quarter.”
She then asked what players can expect from the story in Arrival, and Tintor responded with:
We’ve chosen to tell our game’s story in a subtle way; nothing is forced on the player. Part of the magic of the original game was the idea that you could be playing as yourself. You become the character and step into their shoes using your own relatable experiences as a backdrop. The forest in the original game could have been your own friendly neighbourhood park.
In the new game we do have some really interesting, interweaving stories running throughout for players who want to dive deeper into the game world. Everything in the game is there for a reason. Each level has collectible objects that help advance the story in some meaningful way. It’s pretty cool because you can play the game however you like. If you want to ignore the story and simply get to the scary parts, you can do that. If you want to spend time exploring, learn more about what is going on and really immerse yourself in the world, you can do that too and have a really rewarding experience.
In another question, Daniella asked what players would be doing in the new game, since the original was about survival and collecting the eight pages. Tintor said:
This is a tough one to answer again without giving away the story from the new game. There is a lot more to do than simply collect pages. This is a survival horror game, so a lot of your actions are driven by your characters need to simply survive. A lot of players have asked us if there is a reason that you were collecting pages in the original game and I can say that, yes, there is a good reason why those pages were there, and why you had to collect those. There is more than one character chasing you this time around as well.
As for fans who want the classic page collecting gameplay, Tintor had this to say:
People who were fans of the original game will be happy to know that we have entirely redone that level with our updated graphics. The level looks a lot better, but plays nearly the same and is just as terrifying, if not more so than before. We’ve found a way to work that level into the game and storyline; it all makes sense why you are in that forest collecting pages.
When asked to talk about which games inspired The Arrival, Tintor revealed:
We’re all big-time gamers here so we are definitely inspired and influenced by other great games out there. All of us on the team are big fans of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Personally, I just finished playing Journey on PS3 and that was a truly spectacular game, well deserving of all the accolades it received. Of course there’s other favourites like the Half-Life series, among others that we draw inspiration from. All of these games share one thing in common; it’s an amazing vision and cohesiveness. We look at these as examples of where we need to be as developers.
Tintor also spoke about the replayability in the game when asked about it, and revealed that “nothing is pre-scripted at all; this means no two playthroughs are the same.”
He also revealed something extremely interesting about the level of randomisation that will feature in the game, saying “we’ve taken it one step further with our levels as well; everything from your location in the game world, to the location of pickups is often randomised.”
You can read the full interview over at Blue Isle Studios’ website, but right now Slender: The Arrival is shaping up to be incredible, and is definitely one of my most anticipated games this year.
The game is scheduled to release in the first quarter of 2013 for PC, with a Mac version to follow shortly after. Linux is currently being looked at, but nothing can be confirmed yet. While an exact price hasn’t been specified yet, the developers did confirm that the game will be under $20, which is great.
Stay tuned for more information as it arrives, and of course our full review when the game is out.