The following venture from horror recreation consultants Bloober Staff, The Medium, appears like its maximum non-public. It’s extremely referential, drawing affect from the developer’s local Polish tradition and a love for traditional survival horror sequence like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. (Bloober Staff even recruited famed Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka to pen the sport’s soundtrack with musician Arkadiusz Reikowski.)
The Medium additionally exudes ambition, development at the mental horror foundations laid via the studio’s earlier video games, Observer and Layers of Concern, with a bolder, extra polished presentation.
In December, Polygon previewed a gameplay demo of The Medium over Discord. Lead recreation dressmaker Wojciech Piejko and manufacturer Jacek Zięba walked us via how their new mental horror recreation performs, and the way its dual-reality mechanics permit protagonist Marianne, the eponymous medium, to discover two worlds immediately.
Bloober Staff started its demo within the foyer of an deserted Polish lodge, which is in response to an actual location. It’s greater than only a creepy surroundings, it’s a nod to overdue communist-era structure that’s concurrently grounded and surreal. Interested in the lodge via horrible visions, it’s right here that Marianne tunes her supernatural senses to listen to messages emitting from every other international, and the place she meets a masked lady — a misplaced spirit from the spirit international — named Unhappiness.
Marianne can talk over with that spirit international, once in a while whilst concurrently exploring the true international. When she explores each realities immediately, The Medium is going split-screen (both vertical or horizontal, relying at the digicam). With regards to the foyer, that split-screen view confirmed real-world Marianne within the decaying lodge foyer on best, and spirit-world Marianne in an otherworldly actuality at the backside. As Marianne searches for Unhappiness within the spirit international, the true international items an issue: The steps the woman simply ran up, whilst intact in spirit shape, are destroyed in the true international. Marianne should take the elevator to seek out her.
It’s right here the place certainly one of The Medium’s more practical puzzles items itself. Whilst the elevator works in each worlds, Marianne can’t go out the model in fact because of a malfunction. Spirit-world Marianne can, then again, go out her elevator automobile to find an power supply to loose real-world Marianne. This calls for an out of frame revel in, which Piejko and Zieba likened to a deep dive underwater. Keep below too lengthy, and the spirit international will drown Marianne.
The Medium’s spirit international is scary and lovely. Marianne seems like an inverse of herself; her darkish hair and black leather-based jacket whiten within the spirit international. The person-made structure of the lodge is reworked into one thing vaguely natural, overgrown, and alien. Bloober Staff regarded to the painted paintings of Polish dystopian surrealist Zdzisław Beksiński for affect in designing The Medium’s spirit international, giving the exchange actuality a definite, distorted glance.
All the way through Marianne’s out of frame revel in, she encounters a antagonistic creature referred to as The Maw (voiced, naturally, via Troy Baker). However she’s restricted in her fight skills, and can’t defeat this metaphysical entity, simply keep away from it. A later collection set in the true international confirmed that spirit-world entities can move over to commonplace actuality. And those beasts, which can be each invisible and blind, should be conquer with cautious stealth maneuvers, astute statement of our environment, and Marianne’s psychic skills.
The Medium, which is coming to Home windows PC and Xbox Sequence X on Jan. 28, feels evocative of a few of my favourite video games, together with Konami’s Silent Hill sequence and the dual-world exploration of Metroid Top 2: Echoes. The sport’s puzzle-solving mechanics and investigation-driven narrative, blended with Bloober Staff’s intense creative course, makes it certainly one of my maximum expected video games of 2021.