It’s probably no surprise to anyone at this point that I am a huge fan of anything horror related. So, naturally, I spend a lot of time playing horror games. Truly well-made horror titles are much harder to come by despite all of the games in the genre. Horror games that rely on a compelling story, spooky environments and clever psychological scares versus shock and gore are what I truly enjoy. This week’s Indie Corner, Narcosis, has all of my favorite elements when it comes to a horror title and more! Let’s dive into it!
Narcosis is an underwater survival horror game by definition, but it is truly much more than that. Deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, disaster strikes as the effects of an earthquake are felt by a group of people living in an underwater hub. You must fight not only for your survival but for your sanity as well. Alone at the bottom of the sea and fighting hallucinations along the way, you must make it back to check on the rest of your people. According to the developers, “Narcosis is a survival story. It’s about the instincts that drive us through the worst situations, in the small hope of living another day. It’s also about how your mind can work against you, trick you, making the inner fight as hard as the outer one.”
The developers of Narcosis, Honor Code, took inspiration from real life disaster stories told by the survivors themselves while making their own game. They were especially inspired by stories like Into The Air, the story of a Mt. Everest expedition gone wrong, and 127 Hours, the story of a trapped hiker that had to brave the elements for 5 days before being rescued. As you play through Honor Code’s game, you can totally see this inspiration through the main character’s narrative. From a gaming perspective, Narcosis drew inspiration from games like Amnesia, Silent Hill, and Gone Home. The team at Honor Code really wanted Narcosis to be more of a psychological experience than a game. This is a game that truly is felt rather than played; it totally sucks you in from the very beginning.
This is Honor Code’s first title and they have been working on it since 2011. Narcosis started off as a pitch when the team was just students at a prestigious video game school in France, ENJMI. This is where the game’s director, Quentin De Beukelaer, met the rest of his team that would eventually make Narcosis a terrifying reality. The first prototype was finished in 2012 but the game started to really take off in 2014. On borrowed equipment, the team showed off their hard work at GDC 2014 to positive praise. While working on their project, Quentin stressed the importance of maintaining team morale:
At some point morale becomes a bigger factor than skill in determining the project’s chances of success. Some team members got pretty down at some points, but the rest of us were there for them. ‘Un pour tous, tous pour un’, that’s how we did it. ‘Honor Code’, our company’s name, represents that pretty well.
I actually got the opportunity to try Narcosis and this game is phenomenal. It’s so much more than your normal survival horror game and it really is an experience. I can’t even tell you how many times I gasped or refused to turn around because I knew something scary was waiting right behind me. It is definitely more of an experience than most survival horror titles, but it still presents some unique, challenging aspects to the gameplay that keeps you on your toes. Between the dark, oceanic environment, great voice acting, and a compelling story, Honor Code’s first title is not something you will want to miss!
The best news is…you don’t even have to wait to play it! Narcosis is available now on Steam (and is also VR compatible) for $20 and it is worth every penny. Honor Code wanted to leave all of you with these final words:
There are different ways you can interpret what happens in Narcosis. The game can also provide different kinds of feelings depending on your own personal background, and how you can relate, and I find this amazing. So if you play the game, and want to share your impressions or interpretations of it with us, get in touch via our Steam, Twitter, or on our Facebook page, we look forward to discussing it with you.
Want to see more of our favorite indie games and projects? Keep any eye on the Indie Corner here at the Nerd Stash!