Anyone who knows me or follows my writing knows that horror is something that is near and dear to my heart. Whether it’s a somewhat confusing, yet terrifying, foray into the Outlast series or a more stylized adventure, like Witchkin or Narcosis, there are plenty of unique and terrifying possibilities into the horror genre today, especially from indie developers. Sense – 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story from SUZAKU, a husband and wife development team, is no different.
Sense – 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story, or Sense, as I’ll refer to it from now on, is a recent Kickstarter success. The synopsis is as follows:
In 2083 Neo Hong Kong, a young woman named Mei Lin Mak is dragged into a maelstrom of supernatural horror. As she peers deeper into the century old mystery, Mei will be forced to question her perception of reality and her trust of her cybernetic eyes. Under the neon lights of a cyperpunk dystopia, the ruins of the ‘Chong Sing Apartments’ hides a bloody mystery illuminated by both the traditions of Chinese folklore and the innovations of the industrial future. If there is any hope of escaping this nightmare, Mei-Lin must explore this complex, piecing together the stories of 14 lost souls, and discover the truth of her own family curse. Sense – 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story is a 2.5D game inspired by Clock Tower and Fatal Frame. With careful attention to pacing, atmosphere and storytelling, Sense hopes to return the horror genre to its roots; celebrating the slow, fearful creep of dread instead of relying on over the top action and jump scares. The ghosts – as glitches on our reality – act as spiritual and paranormal threats, not monsters to be killed. The horror of our story comes from atmosphere and storytelling, not loud sound and artificial effects.
One of Sense’s greatest strengths is its desire to go back to the basics. The team at SUZAKU is incredibly dedicated to bringing back horror games like Clock Tower or Fatal Frame — their greatest influences while working on the game. Instead of focusing on jump scares, they are focused on creating a horrific atmosphere that will keep you coming back for more:
I noticed over the last few years that the horror genre has really split into two things: zombie themed action shooters, or jump-scare filled hide and seek sims where everything is pitch black. Neither of these “versions” of horror games really seem to understand the horror genre or take the more important ideas that games like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and Fatal Frame tried to cement. Horror is about tension, atmosphere, and obfuscation. Not in the idea that you cant see the “monster” or the room is too dark, but the idea of preying on the fears of the player, most importantly the fear of the unknown. A balloon popping can startle you as much as one of these modern horror titles, and there is a reason many are flavor of the week things that get forgotten quickly or need a dozen sequels to stay profitable.
I am confident in my “vocabulary” with the genre, and taking a 2.5d adventure game approach was not an accident or a limitation. I want to emphasize the elements of horror that define the genre, not cheapen the experience.
Sense’s Kickstarter was massively successful; 1,083 backers pledged over $60,000 to fund the project — that’s $50,000 over their original goal! Some of their stretch goals include console releases, like the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch, along with voice acting and additional playable content. While an official release date has yet to be announced, we can expect to see Sense in Q2 or Q3 of next year!
When asked about their Kickstarter experience, SUZAKU had nothing but positive things to say:
Its pretty amazing. I have said in our updates that we are blown away every day. I think that is one of a few major keys, be humble. Realize that every single person who pledges is doing so because they believe in you and your product. That is huge. So treat them right. You create customers with good will and good intentions. My Mom and dad owned a small business most of my life and something they pushed really hard was being a good steward.
The art is one of the things that immediately drew me to Sense – 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story. The bright colors mixed with the futuristic environments were too Blade Runner for me not to be excited, and maybe this will be the perfect title to hold over fans of Cyberpunk 2077 until we’re able to get a release date!
Either way, SUZAKU and Sense are two things you will definitely want to keep an eye on going forward. I, for one, can’t wait to see this game on my Switch, and I will be eagerly awaiting a release date for Sense! If you’d like to keep up to date on their progress, check out their social media. And you better believe The Nerd Stash will continue to cover this brightly horrific title as it continues to evolve along with all of your other nerdy news and needs!