“Point and click games offer the opportunity for deep, dramatic expression,” says Hifumi Kono in the Kickstarter pitch video for his new survival horror game, NightCry.
With the immersive abilities of first person perspectives, is third person point-and-click really the best opportunity for “deep, dramatic expression” in the horror genre? I think many would agree that in order for a survival horror game to be terrifying, a certain sense of claustrophobic immersion in the setting is super important.
Alongside The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu, Kono returns to the horror game genre, creating “the horror game he’s always wanted to make,” a spiritual successor to Clock Tower, first released on SNES in the mid-90s.
Returning to the simple point-and-click survival game style, Kono originally planned to release the game only on iOS, Android and Vita. But, after much fan support and feedback, Kono and his staff at Nude Maker launched a Kickstarter campaign on Jan. 24 to raise funds in hopes of bringing the game to PC as well.
Joseph Chou is a producer for NightCry and says in the pitch he’s excited to take a classic genre and create something new with it.
The point-and-click adventure style of Clock Tower, which was certainly a cornerstone in survival j-horror games in the mid-90s, begs the question of why now? Especially when fans were so adamant about the game being available on PC.
NightCry takes place on a cruise ship, a 3D environment where the main protagonist must search for a murderer on board, among a creepy, evil, ghost-like entity. While weaponless and helpless throughout the story, she must run away from and avoid threats of danger and any choices she makes will determine how many survivors are left at the end.
Based on this description and the one on the Kickstarter page, the major difference between Clock Tower and NightCry is that NightCry’s setting will be in a 3D setting, where Clock Tower’s was not. Both protagonists in each game are defenseless women whose only method of survival is escape.
While having so many actions and abilities in games these days can make the player feel like he or she has more control in the digital world being explored, the fact that the only option in NightCry is to run or hide takes away that false sense of power and could actually be a more effective way to incite feelings of terror in the player.
Not having to think about aiming a weapon, shoving a hoard of enemies away, crouching to move silently, finding cover, using whatever form of x-ray vision your horror-fighting character might have, could help the player focus even more on the visually horrifying setting and creepy sound effects.
The developers and designers in the Kickstarter pitch video mention that fans want to be able to use bigger screens when playing NightCry and suggest this is one of the main reasons their feedback was filled with want for a PC version of the game. My assumption is that perhaps many feel this way because it’s tougher to feel immersed in a game, especially a survival horror, when it’s on a small screen, but especially when it can be interrupted by text message or Facebook notifications.
I’m definitely interested to see how the developers of NightCry create something new with the point-and-click horror adventure genre, and hope that bringing it to a 3D atmosphere isn’t its only new and innovative difference. Bring on the terror!