Think back to a time when the world was a strange and frightening place. When you pulled your arms in under your sheets at night so nothing under the bed could grab them. When you kept a night light on and your closet door closed. Maybe you’ve been chased by creatures through a dark tunnel, only to wake up panting in a cold sweat.
“There are at least two times in our lives when we can all relate to being authentically scared, and that is when you were young and when you are dreaming,” said Adrian Tingstad Husby at Krillbite Studio, the team developing Among the Sleep, noting the game includes both of these elements, “which we think comprise a very interesting premise.”
The FPS horror game takes a unique approach to the genre. You play as a two-year-old who wakes up in the middle of the night to strange happenings in your home, and as you escape your crib to investigate, you soon find creatures lurking through the house.
“Not unlike the nature of dreams and imagination, the game has limitless possibilities in what it can do, which is both liberating and challenging. We think this can make for both a terrifying and a creatively stimulating game,” Husby said.
A trailer for the game gives a preview of what’s to come. You’ll sneak through dark hallways, peek around corners, and hide under furniture. Much like how Amnesia scared your bowels loose by having your character freak out whenever something scary happened, Among the Sleep will also have your two-year-old character scream in terror at a sudden happening.
Having the player take on the role of a child—particularly a two-year-old—is a unique approach to the horror genre, and the team said this will offer them an equally unique set of gameplay elements to experiment with.
“When the concept was first pitched, the team almost instantly fell in love with the it and the endless potential the two-year-old protagonist gives us,” Husby said, “Hence, the perspective is central to almost every aspect of the game—from the plot, to the gameplay and even the setting.”
“When you see your own small body and hands crawling quickly under the sofa to hide, we hope that people will find it is not only an FPS with the camera closer to the ground, but that this perspective really affects the experience,” Husby said.
Beyond the gameplay itself though, Among the Sleep breaks from the otherwise gloomy atmosphere taken by most horror games, with a fresh, colorful palette.
According to Krillbite Studio art director Bjørnar Frøyse, the goal is to have the art style rooted in reality, yet “leaning towards a stylized and slightly cartoony look. We want the game to look like something from a child’s imagination, at least to a certain degree, and imagination might be exaggerated in many ways.”
“Grey and brown hues, while ‘realistic,’ might break that illusion if they dominate the game,” Frøyse said, “In the house seen in the video, the blue lighting intensified the atmosphere over the more muted versions we tested. Making a scary game colorful is not always easy, sometimes even self contradictory, but we believe we can make it work. It’s all about intensifying the experience in the right ways.”
Among the Sleep is set for release in 2013 for PC and Mac.