A very, very long time ago, I had the chance to talk to Dene Waring about Huntsman: The Orphanage, his upcoming “alt-horror” game. Featuring no weapons, no violence, and no gore, it seeks to instill a different kind of fear in its players: The fear of being hunted, the fear of being watched, the fear of disappearing. A self-proclaimed “hybrid of horror-survival and Creepypasta”, the game focuses on storytelling and atmosphere to fill its players with dread. You can not fight the Huntsman. You can not kill him. You can only run and hope to avoid a fate worse than death. An early-access beta is being released tomorrow, and while the more superstitious of you may prefer to hide the day away, I can’t think of a more fitting celebration for Friday the 13th. The full game is still slated for a Halloween release, but buying it Septermber 13th will grant you preview access and a discounted price. It also gives players a chance to familiarize themselves with the grounds, passages, and rooms of Grimhaven Orphanage, as well as the tragic stories of those who once called it home. This gives you an edge, as you’ll be hunted after October 31st, and being unfamiliar may cost you valuable time.
You play as one of two customizable protagonists, both cynics, each with their own story to tell and their own motivations for visiting the decrepit orphanage. What you find there is far beyond what the protagonists could have imagined. As you explore using your smartphone, you’ll become entangled and entwined in the story of those who are lost–and have been for over a century. You’re the only one who can help them, now, before you’re trapped by the same fate. Each character is wonderfully voice acted, and most have actual actors, as well, presenting them as eerie, life-like apparitions instead of static portraits. Floor creaks, other unexplained noises reverberate throughout the long abandoned building, and a menacing ticking seems to be right behind you at every corner. A huge portion of the game is blocked off until a further date, and the Huntsman isn’t stalking you…yet, but the atmosphere and storytelling alone was still enough to give me chills. Could this be a genre changer for horror-survival? We’ll have to wait until October to find out, but I’m certainly liking what I see.