For a while now,
horror games have held a lot of similarities to dogs chasing cars: They’ll chase the elusive “scare”. They’ll chase it with all the cool, spooky environments, tense atmosphere and intense chase sequences they’ve got in them. And finally, when they get that scare, they won’t know what to do with it.
“Bring To Light”, a new horror title by lead developer Keith Makse, is looking to change that.
“Bring To Light operates around a fairly simple premise: A player is dropped into a dark, creepy subway filled with lurking horrors and tasked with finding their way out of the neverending nightmarescape while surviving the spooks that surround. But in order to take his scares to the next level, Marke has designed the game to take readings from the player, such as tracking their heart rate and react to these readings in unique and unpredictable ways.
In an interview with NBC News, Marke shared more about his views on how these systems will impact his upcoming title. He spoke about the effect of hearing a heart racing, and how even that sound is enough to scare someone. “If you are wearing the heart-rate monitor sometimes you can hear the heartbeat… and it’s your own heartbeat that you hear,” Marke says.
And while “Bring To Light” is not the first video game to use biometrics (Biological information such as heart rate) in a gaming setting, it is one of a limited breed. Marke’s title is the first one in some time that will implement the idea in a horror setting.
For example, if a player’s heart rate is accelerated, this might indicate to the game that it’s “got” the player on the edge of their seat, meaning that would be the ideal time for the game to ‘cash out’ on the tension it’s been building by using a dramatic jump scare or high-stakes explosive chase sequence. Following that, the game might continue tracking the player’s heart rate: If their heart rate was low enough after closely escaping the monster, they might have the monster appear to stay close by and raise dramatic tension. But if the heart rate stays high, the game might opt to keep the monsters a little further away for a bit.
After all, there’s a very fine line between “fun scary” and “too scary” in horror gaming. For some, games can cross that line quite easily, which can quickly take an experience from “Haha that was fun” to “I never want to touch that game again.”
“Horror is designed to allow humans to experience the sensation of fear without actually putting themselves in any physical danger,” Makse said. He hopes his title will provide people with a safer way of getting in touch with those emotions.
Mechanically speaking, “Bring To Light” has players dodging a variety of terrible creatures, using light puzzles to their advantage, and tricking and kiting around monsters in order to make it out of the damp subways in one piece. The game has fairly positive reviews on Steam and sells for $20. And while the game begins in a subway, the trailer shows the player exploring through some kind of ancient castle-like architecture, implying that there may be some deeper, darker secrets at the core of this experience…
Steam reviewers have praised the game for its frequent use of darkness and inventive puzzles. While the reviews are mostly positive, some reviewers state that the overuse of dark environments can lead to frustration, with players left slowly wandering in dark environments with no idea of how to progress.
Featured Image Via Bring To Light Steam page.