Is Daylight the Next Great Horror Game?

Earlier this week at DICE, developer Zombie Studios unveiled their latest project, a horror game called Daylight they say is “scary as hell.”

But what is Daylight, and why has it seen such a popularity spike in the past few days?

Daylight is one of the first Unreal Engine 4 games to release this year. In Daylight, players take the role of a woman who’s awakened in an old, haunted asylum with no idea who she is, what she’s doing there, and what’s going on. The entire game is made up of players learning about the game’s story by exploring the environment and piecing together what clues they find.

There’s no combat in the game, but players have a wide variety of tools to guide them along the way. The most notable of which being their cell phone. You’ll use the cell phone for light and to re-trace your steps, at times it will become “posessed” and play messages from the past that reveal different story elements, and it will also serve as a compass to help guide you through the environment.

Along with cell phones, players will also be able to find emergency kits containing flares and glow sticks. Flares can be used to scare off the insane phantoms that haunt the asylum,while glow sticks serve as a guiding light and can reveal messages written on walls.

Probably the game’s most interesting feature is the fact that it features a great amount of random generation. While one playthrough of Daylight will take approximately 25 to 30 minutes to complete, the point is to encourage multiple playthroughs, as repeated exposure to the world allows players to discover more story elements and learn more about the woman and the asylum itself.

No need to worry, though; although the game requires multiple playthroughs to fully appreciate, it doesn’t run the risk of becoming a repetitive bore. In fact, each time you boot up the game will yield a brand-new experience, as all of the rooms in the asylum are randomly generated.

Which is a fascinating and ingenious idea that speaks to the power of the Unreal Engine 4. Giving players a unique new environment each time they play promises to yield results specific to the individual and make for different stories to be told by different players. In a sense, it has the same effect as a game like Skyrim; in essence, you’replaying the same game, but the game’s immersive quality and randomly generated events creates a unique story never duplicated in quite the same way.

In a day where horror games are continually being reduced to mere action games in order to attract a wider market, Daylight is an interesting contender that promises an experience with the chance to be on par with some of the best horror games. Randomly-generated environments, the game’s emphasis on exploration and exposure to the story, and its updated and powerful engine all serve as a reason to be excited for its eventual 2013 release.

So is it the next great horror game? Of course, only time will tell. But gauging the experience Zombie Studios is promising to deliver, we’re pretty hopeful.