With the news that Silent Hills is dead and buried, and with thousands of disappointed gamers sulking in their homes, a huge survival horror void is waiting to be filled. Konami may eventually release a sequel in the popular Silent Hill franchise, but in the meantime, some seriously talented newcomers are stepping up to the block.
In recent years, Dying Light, The Evil Within, Until Dawn, and Outlast have all staked a claim to the popular video game sub-genre, one born on games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but none have wowed the critics. With the law of averages, and gaming at the pinnacle of technology right now, you have to think it’s only a matter of time until the next game-changing survival horror title comes along.
Well, there might just be a contender on the horizon.
Even though the game is still in development, and making waves on the Internet, Year of the Ladybug boasts some impressive visuals and credentials. With a name that could be confused with a harmless children’s adventure, Ladybug is anything but family friendly. If the game actually gets made, however, we could be seeing the next contender to the survival horror throne — if the initial sketches and concept art are anything to go by. Be warned, some of the images aren’t for the faint of heart.
Siliconera picked up the project in the planning stages from Canadian developer Mint Mentis, who resides in Toronto. If you visit the Year of the Ladybug website, you’d be forgiven for thinking this game was a Japanese horror game in the vein of Fatal Frame or Siren — right down to the characters, the sublime visuals, and the concept itself, all of which are eerily teased on the site.
With the handful of images available to the Internet, Year of the Ladybug looks to be following in the footsteps of the aforementioned survival horror games — protagonist James Hsieh visits a world that doesn’t seem all that different from the misty streets of Silent Hill, one described as, and I quote from the website’s description, a “hellish world of demonic entities and nightmarish illusions.” Mentis already has the game’s story written, and he is currently trying to find a home for the game’s full development. With Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro’s Silent Hills cancellation now a foregone conclusion, hopefully someone will pick the game up to fill the void.
The game seems a little more active than other horror games though, and it certainly starts with a bang, as Hsieh infiltrates a night club to murder a man in cold vengeance, only to be shot and arrested, and later wake up in a sinister hospital. This is where the true nightmares begin, and its not long before Hsieh, and a little girl he comes across, must rely on each other to escape and, ultimately, survive. With elements of Dead Island, popular RPG’s like Fallout and Skyrim, and even Slenderman, it’s clear that the developer is a true horror/gaming fan. Scouring the website, the game could appeal to a wide variety of gamers — which will surely be good news for a potential developer.
Billed as a third-person survival horror game, the concept art alludes to a variety of inspirations — we’ve already mentioned Silent Hill, but Resident Evil, Fatal Frame, and several horror movies seem to be lovingly woven into the creepy, alarming images on offer — but Year of the Ladybug also shows a staggering originality in its scope. It’s hard to be completely original in this particular sub-genre, but some of the characters detailed on the site are staggering. Take Bonsai Man for example; it doesn’t get more eerie than that.
Still very much in development, little else is known about Year of the Ladybug. However, with a baying survival horror market, fans looking for the next big horror franchise, and several next generation consoles in which to bring this game to horrifying, visceral life, Year of the Ladybug is just screaming to be made, isn’t it?
Can Year of the Ladybug fill the deep void left by the cancellation of Silent Hills? Maybe, just maybe.
[Image via yearoftheladybug.com/Mint Mentis]