Anyone that's a fan of horror must have played, or at least watched, Hideo Kojima's take on Silent Hill.
Thrown onto the PlayStation store in the form of P.T., or Playable Teaser, it was terrifying. It was one or more hours of mind-bending, claustrophobic and downright disturbing horror, and it was glorious. Unfortunately, its brilliance just made the news of the game's cancellation an even harder pill to swallow.
Since then, virtual reality has become more prominent, and while there have been plenty of VR titles that have threatened to make us soil ourselves, they just haven't impressed, or scared, us in the same way that P.T. did. Recently, we've played a game that did put the willies up us in nearly the same way, however, and it's not even a game that's playable in VR (not yet, anyway). That's right, The Beast Inside is quite possibly the scariest thing since P.T., and that has us rather excited indeed.
Currently being Kickstarted (it has already reached its goal), The Beast Inside is being developed by Movie Games and Illusion Ray Studio. At the time of writing there's still 19 days left on the Kickstarter campaign if you wish to back it, with many stretch goals looking to improve the depth and quality of the gaming experience, as well as possibly bringing the title to console. More importantly, if you back the title at anything other than the lowest tier, you gain access to a demo of the game. We've played it, and it certainly gives the impression that its developers know what they're doing.
The Beast Inside is set to feature two protagonists, and the demo allows you to briefly play as both. In 1979 you play as Adam, a CIA Cryptanalyst who's left Boston to go live with his wife in a secluded part of the countryside. Finding the diary of a man called Nicolas shortly after moving in, however, you find yourself transported back more than 100 years, to re-enact events through the eyes of Nicolas in 1864.
Playing as Adam, The Beast Inside demo has you getting to grips with the game's intuitive controls, while also throwing an interesting brain teaser your way. But it's when you take control of Nicolas that events become much more harrowing.
Plunged into darkness, your immediate challenge is find a source of light. Luckily, the house you're in has plenty of packets of matches lying around, which can be added to your inventory and used to light any candles you stumble across in the dark. It's not long until you find a kerosene fuelled lamp though, which affords you much more useful light as long as you can keep it topped up.
Already without anything supernatural happening, The Beast Inside manages to put you on edge with its clever use of sound and mightily impressive visuals, which work together to create a thick atmosphere. Suffice to say, when things do begin to kick off, it's hard not to become seriously unsettled. An unwanted visitor to the house had us scream out loud, and as we searched for the source of disconcerting noises we were literally on tenterhooks.
Featuring an inventory system, much of our time with The Beast Inside demo was spent searching for items we needed to progress our search through the house. We cut though a metal chain with bolt cutters to gain access to the cellar and then picked a lock with a lockpick to get back out again, worried about what lay ahead for us every step of the way. Numerous times we jumped out of our skins due to a ghastly apparition, but even though these instances were little more than jump scares, they didn't feel cheap.
Upon venturing upstairs after hearing a ruckus, the demo comes to an end after coming face to face with a mysterious but very angry lumberjack. We were somewhat relieved but also disappointed; The Beast Inside made such an impact on us during the hour we spent playing it that we wanted to continue and see what happens next, but alas, we'll have to wait. What we played gave us faith that the end product will engage and disturb just like it should though - all the elements seem to be there.
While the demo contains itself largely to the confines of a house, more locations are promised for the full game including a deserted inn and a swamp. We anticipate that the horror won't be confined to Nicolas' timeline either; a scene at the beginning of the demo insinuates that Adam will have his fair share of terror to contend with too.
Honestly, The Beast Inside surprised us. There are so many developers out there making horror games at the moment, and while many of them are entertaining romps in their own right, what Movie Games and Illusion Ray Studios are cooking up here feels special. It looks, plays and feels like a AAA production, and in the horror genre that's a rare thing. We'll be keeping a close eye on The Beast Inside beyond its Kickstarter. In a post P.T. world it could just turn out to be the pinnacle of video game horror, and that's high praise indeed.
The Beast Inside is set for release in 2019. Visit the game's Kickstarter page for more information.