In video gaming, the survival horror genre has taken somewhat of a beating in recent years. Fans have their theories as to why: several relatively tame releases in the genre, or sequels that disposed of the original qualities that made the game so great in the first place, or even that cancellation of Silent Hills. Regardless of the argument, with Resident Evil taking to pastures new with a more action-oriented formula, Silent Hill all but dead in the water as a franchise, and several games just not delivering the expected “wow factor,” the fans are massively overdue for the next big franchise.
New studios seem to want to make an impact, and who can blame them? The video game industry is thriving at the moment, and although the fans cherish their firm favorites, there’s only so many zombies to be capped, or misty towns to be traversed, before they fancy something different. Other games have tried to reinvent this successful formula and failed, and the patience of the fans is beginning to wear thin. They might want another Resident Evil, true, but they continue to hope for something fresh to invigorate their gaming, something exciting and new.
And, in 2017, they might just have it.
This week, Madmind Studio announced its début game, Agony, which is currently in development for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and the premise looks unique — it’s a first-person survival horror set in Hell itself — survival horror fans will love this.
A tormented soul finds himself transported to hell, with no recollection of his past. The character possesses the ability to control and manipulate other demons along the way, in order to survive the extreme conditions of Hell itself. While travelling on his unknown journey and navigating each hostile environment, the hero realises that the only way to escape Hell is an inevitable encounter with the mysterious Red Goddess.
The studio itself is comprised of nine developers with a wealth of video game experience between them. The staff have worked on games such as The Division, Witcher 3, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, Alien Rage, and many more. It’s fair to say their experience lies in a variety of genres and game types — first-person, third-person, thriller, tactical espionage, medieval RPG, straight-up shooter — so it will be interesting to see what they conjure up here. As the website shows, the beautiful yet terrifying stills that present their vision of Hell are already ticking many of the right boxes. They have even included an intro for the game itself, which can be viewed below.
As for current reaction to the news, many fans are already claiming the game is a clone of Dante’s Inferno, a 2010 action-adventure game developed by Visceral Arts, and released by Electronic Arts. The game is famously based on Inferno, the first canticle of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, and shares many similarities with the poem itself. In the game, you play a reinvented Dante as he travels through the nine circles of Hell to reclaim the soul of his beloved Beatrice from the hands of Lucifer.
Where Dante’s Inferno contains a somewhat similar storyline to Agony, the game was a third-person adventure with strong “hack and slash” qualities, which made the game immensely popular. Its graphic depictions of Hell drew major praise from critics and gamers alike, but it’s hard to see the comparison of the two games beyond the similar plot, one that could yet change during development. With the mention of the Red Goddess, we can assume that this incarnation of Satan is indeed a female, and has some potentially nasty things in store for our unnamed hero. All very teasing, but all very interesting at the same time.
Also, the mysterious character doesn’t know who he is, which always makes for a gripping storyline. Bioshock did a similar thing with their first installment, one that has made the game a cult favorite, and one of the more revered games in modern gaming. With Doom — another first-person shooter that partially takes place in Hell — currently enjoying a resurgence on the next generation consoles, and fans eager for the next big thing, there’s definitely room for a game of this scope and horror.
Survival horror has waned in recent years, but it seems Madmind Studios might be onto something here. Further details are scarce at the moment, the phenomenal images will have to do, but with fellow developer Mint Mentis currently working on Year of the Ladybug — as reported by the Inquisitr in February — and also making a claim to the throne of survival horror, 2017 is fast becoming a year to watch; whether you do that from behind the sofa is optional.
[Image via Madmind Studio]