Bandai Namco to Publish Adventure Game Little Nightmares

Bandai Namco to Publish Adventure Game Little Nightmares

Bandai Namco has announced a new adventure game called Little Nightmares coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in spring of next year.

Developed by Swedish developer Tarsier Studios, Little Nightmares is set within a “vast, mysterious vessel” called The Maw, where corrupted creatures reside and are on constant lookout for their next meal. Players are cast as a young girl dressed in a yellow raincoat, and must find a mean’s of escape before she is captured by one of the monsters within The Maw.

Little Nightmares combines side-scrolling, puzzle solving, and platforming, all of which you can see in the new trailer below:

Before its official announcement, Little Nightmares was originally teased under the working title “Hunger” back in 2014.

“We are so thrilled to work together with Bandai Namco Entertainment, a company that takes great pride in their work and goes that extra mile to create amazing game experiences.” said Andreas Johnsson, Business Developer & Deputy CEO, Tarsier Studios regarding the studio’s publishing partnership with Bandai Namco. “From day one we’ve felt their passion and drive to help make Little Nightmares everything it can be.”

Little Nightmares is currently being shown off at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, so anyone in attendance has a chance to check out Tarsier Studio’s game ahead of its 2017 launch. Those interested should find Bandai Namco’s booth, located in Hall 8, booth B20 of the Gamescom Entertainment Area.

Tarsier Studios is perhaps best known for its work with Sony and Media Molecule on content for the LittleBigPlanet series, as well as last year’s PS4-exclusive Tearaway Unfolded.

For more on Tarsier Studio’s work, check out CGM’s review of Tearaway Unfolded.

Tearaway Embraces the Physical Side of Games

Tearaway Embraces the Physical Side of Games

Tearaway is still a great game on the PlayStation 4. I wasn’t really expecting this to be the case, given how completely Media Molecule’s original release was tailored to the Vita’s hardware. In the initial 2013 version, Tearaway was a game that asked the player to pretend that the portable console was a gateway to a strange little paper craft world. Pressing the Vita’s back touch pad sent the player’s fingers flying up through the world; scenes where the main character looked up to the heavens used the system’s camera to show the player’s actual face beaming down on the game world. Media Molecule’s clever integration of hardware features into Tearaway’s story and digital setting made it a striking experience.

Moving a title so deeply tied to the system for which it was developed to a different console doesn’t seem like a good idea. Before playing it, I assumed Tearaway Unfolded would be a lesser version of the original for this reason. But, even as the game shifts from portable console to TV screen, it finds ways to maintain its original spirit. Despite losing the tactile nature of the Vita’s control scheme, Tearaway’s PS4 version continues to remind players that the game they play is governed by their manipulation of physical objects.
Tearaway_Unfolded-PS4-screenshot-15The original Vita release was all about blurring the line between digital and analogue interaction. Poking the actual physical console or taking a photo of the player’s real-world environment would alter the game in significant ways. In the PS4 version’s case, this same effect is accomplished by cleverly embracing the unique design of the controller and making reference to the TV screen its characters “live” inside. Tearaway’s little envelope protagonist—named either Iota or Atoi—still reacts to the player’s gestures and movements. Platforms move about the world as the controller’s accelerometer picks up movement. A gust of wind can be summoned by swiping the touch pad. Bright light guides Iota/Atoi through dark areas when the player shines their controller’s sensor bar to create an illuminated path.

Because Media Molecule and co-developer Tarsier Studios have essentially re-built Tearaway for the PlayStation 4 (rather than simply shoehorn its old systems into a different console’s feature set) the game remains engaging as a physical experience, unlike many that have come before. The effect is reminiscent of the very best motion games from the previous console generation. But it’s distinguished by the surprising restraint shown by the developers. Rather than shoehorn unnecessary touch or motion controls into every aspect of its design, Tearaway uses these systems as flourishes meant only to remind the player of their influence over the game world.

A few years on from the novelty of the Wii’s motion controllers and the Kinect’s body sensors, it’s easier to take a step back and reconsider how well a developer can integrate our real world into their digital one. Tearaway, though it very much follows in the tradition of exploration-heavy platformers like Mario 64, is indebted to the early days of these motion sensors. In blurring the line between the physical and virtual, it shows that a tasteful, properly considered use of these features is capable of subtly enriching an experience. And in doing so, what Tearaway demonstrates is that there is still mileage left in designing games based around the player’s physical input.

Though motion controls have largely been forgotten (or turned into ancillary parts of other technology, like the new virtual reality headsets), that doesn’t mean their potential has been exhausted. The runaway success of Nintendo’s Wii had the unfortunate effect of attracting sloppily-made titles that swamped the system’s best games. Though a handful of games (largely created by Nintendo itself) made great use of motion controls, the Wii’s legacy was tarnished by the sheer volume of less worthwhile experiences. Mainstream videogames have largely abandoned the potential of physical play because of the negative impression this caused.
Tearaway_Unfolded-PS4-screenshot-09Now, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s easier to see that the nearly complete dismissal of motion controls was a bit premature. Games like Tearaway and Tearaway Unfolded show that a developer willing to properly consider how these features can be used, not as a gimmick but as a cornerstone of a game’s design, can create something fairly remarkable.

Watch our Let’s Play of Tearaway Unfolded.

Tarsier Studios Reveal Surreal Teaser for Hunger

Tarsier Studios Reveal Surreal Teaser for Hunger

Tarsier Studios, perhaps best known for LittleBigPlanet Vita and LBP 3, released an amazingly creepy, yet somehow still cute, initial teaser for their upcoming game Hunger.

Tarsier is calling the game a suspense-adventure, in which the main protagonist, little yellow rainjacketed Six, is trapped in a creepy underwater labyrinth full of giant monsters called The Maw.

Hunger_01

The dollhouse view of the setting is disorienting in a good way, adding to the level of warped nightmarish visuals. Not only are the monsters huge, but everything from chairs to kitchen pots are enormous compared to little Six, who must sneak around in order to explore the dark, grime-covered surroundings and find an escape, while she “catches glimpses at the corrupt heart of modern happiness,” reads a Tarsier Studios blog post.

“Hunger will take your hand and let it go at the worst possible moment!” sums it up perfectly.

Hunger_04

The studio, based in Malmö, Sweden, was awarded about 67,000 EUR at the Nordic Game Conference last year for development support.

There is no release date or set platform for Hunger yet, but Tarsier has been answering questions on Twitter since the teaser was published on Feb. 25 and is adamant that they respond to any inquiries quickly.

Little Big Planet Vita Developer Announces a New IP

Little Big Planet Vita Developer Announces a New IP

Little Big Planet Vita co-developer Tarsier Studios announced their upcoming project today at the Nordic Game Conference. Called Hunger (working title), the game is described as being a 3D action adventure game incorporating stealth and exploration.

At the center of the game is Six, a young girl who has been abducted and sent to work in The Maw, a “surreal underwater resort catering to the whims of the powerful elite.”  When she’s offered the chance to escape, Six goes on a journey through the Maw that allows her to catch “a glimpse at the corrupt heart of modern happiness.” It’s unclear at this time on which platforms the game will appear, although the team did sign on as a first-party developer with Sony four years ago, making it likely for the game to make its way to PlayStation platforms.

Although not much about the game is known at this time, it definitely seems like a departure from the cute and quirky world of Little Big Planet. Given how well-received the game was on Vita, we’re hopeful that Hunger is equally as neat an experience. .