Organ Quarter is a VR survival horror game focused on what made survival horror great: labyrinthine environments, resource management and well-balanced puzzling. We'd love to pay homage to the slow, methodical survival horror experiences of the '90s – this includes building a compelling world and universe as well as making a great adventure.
Here’s the twist: we’re also going to leverage hand-tracked and room-scale VR to provide the most intense and unsettling experience possible. We’re going to bring horror into the realm of the intimate. Horror in your personal space, as well as in the world outside.
A key tenet of Organ Quarter's design is maintaining a tight balance of exploration, puzzles and combat.
This is not a wave shooter or a walking simulator – Organ Quarter is a traditional survival horror game. A long-form adventure which plays out over a large area and a longer span of time, with intricately connected levels, resources and tools at the player's disposal. The gameworld is designed with old school survival horror in mind – the player can roam in larger 'hub' areas, but to progress through the world and story they must complete specific areas or 'dungeons' and find 'keys'.
The game's combat revolves around simple but tense gunfighting gameplay. As the player progresses, combat will use hand-tracked aiming features to toy with their expectations (enemies having weak points, strong points, items on their bodies, etc).
We are huge fans of the level design greats – for instance the Thief, Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid series' – and we want to capture the essence of this. The game will feature intricate spaces with well-hidden items and secrets (check the pre-alpha demo to see this in proof-of-concept).
The game will feature puzzles – but not "Silent Hill 3 Hard" puzzles. These will be spacial and physical puzzles that toy with hand-tracked VR systems, and will be carefully balanced.
We're going to use VR's sense of physical space and presence to push players past their comfort zone, bringing them into tight, claustrophobic environments and making them get up close and personal with monsters (who may not always be hostile). However, we're also very aware that players need a 'breather' from time to time, especially in VR. The game won't be end-to-end claustrophobia and you can expect plenty of open areas, too (indoor and outdoor).
Take on the role of an isolated individual who is forced to leave their squalid home at the behest of a man who calls himself Dr Alset.
Over weeks and months of isolation in your apartment, something has happened to the city. It has become infected. Its places. Its people. The player explores a city that has become wasteland and body-horror nightmare, full of surreal puzzles and grotesque beings. Everything has become twisted by a disease that may or may not have a motive.
Picture Resident Evil by way of David Cronenberg and David Lynch. A less hammy, more feverish and analogous body horror narrative looking at what really makes a human being 'tick'.
The narrative will exploit virtual reality to play with the player's perceptions and sense of physical space.
We're aiming for a decent length for the full game, similar to Resident Evil 1 (5–7 hours straight through but longer for methodical players/replayers).
We want this to be a proper VR adventure – not just a series of short scenes or a wave shooter or a "walking simulator". The world will be large and interconnected with various "dungeons" to explore. The player will often be free to go where they wish, and will collect items and keys while engaging with the level design.
We are also factoring in replayability – there will be secrets, deeper puzzles and unlockables to encourage replaying.
We are targeting a July 2017 launch, with perhaps a few weeks leeway on either side. We can develop quickly with Unity 3D, but are keeping some slack. The very latest launch month in our schedule is August 2017.
The game is launching on HTC Vive, simply because this is the unit that the lead developers currently own.
In due course, the game will come to Oculus Rift (w/ Touch controllers). This will be within several months of the HTC Vive launch (within 2017).
Once the VR versions are up and running, a non-VR build will be released.
The core team bonded over their mutual love of Silent Hill 2 (2001) and everything it did right. We specifically love how the game wore its themes on its sleeve and stitched them through every element of the experience: from the gameplay, to the world, to the monsters. We'd love to capture a dram of what Team Silent achieved.
However, our inspirations expand to include countless horror games, all of which we adore. From Alone in the Dark (1993) to Thief II: The Metal Age (2000) to Condemned: Criminal Origins (2005) to Dead Space (2008) to Resident Evil 7 (now) – we love it all and want to give something back to the culture. We also have deep respect for other dark, less horror-focused titles like The Void (2008) and Pathologic (2005) from Ice Pick Lodge, Max Payne 1 (2001) and 2 (2003) from Remedy Entertainment and Zelda: Majora's Mask (2000).
We are also serious film fans, with tastes firmly embedded in classic '70s and '80s horror. These include cerebral works like The Exorcist (1973), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Alien (1979), and The Shining (1980) but also plenty of video nasty body/schlock horror like Evil Dead (1981), The Thing (1982), The Fly (1986) and Society (1989).
Many of Organ Quarter's tools and assets are already complete. We are developing with Unity 3D which allows for rapid development and testing. The Halloween 2016 pre-alpha demo took only two months to develop.
As such, our Kickstarter ask is primarily for funding to pay our rent for the next few months so that we can focus on developing the game without distraction.
Beyond this, it will allow us some freedom to recruit freelancers for the occasional aspect we may need help with (artists, animators, etc) and voice actors. A small portion of the money may be used for promotion/advertising.
The funding breakdown:
- $4,000 – rent/bills split among the team to carry us through to launch (we have low living costs!)
- $1,000 – funds to pay for freelancers or occasional small-scale post-launch advertising
- $1,500 – voice actors. High quality voice content is important to the team
Lead developer and director. Dmitry is a trained illustrator and artist who has been through the independent development process twice (Scum Lord in 2014, Lunatic’s Bane in 2015). Dmitry began the Organ Quarter project in August 2016 and published the demo in October 2016.
A writer first and foremost (having worked on several videogames in several capacities since 2014), Alex has also learned a thing or two about game development, project management, PR and marketing. He will be helping develop Organ Quarter and is working with Dmitry to develop the game’s world, characters and story and driving PR momentum and communicating with fans.
Composer and designer. Anadale is a trained musician who has toured worldwide as the frontman and guitarist for prog-rock band JOLLY. He has worked on all of Outer Brain Studio’s soundtracks and is a core element of the company's unique identity.
We have a roster of several freelancers that we trust from previous projects and may turn to during development, specifically for artwork and animation if our pipeline becomes too busy later in development.
Risks and challenges
Challenge the First: Things can happen. Personal things. Life events. Accidents. Sudden commitments. There is always a chance something unforeseeable might hamper our ability to finish and deliver the project. (The same goes for any independently-funded project.)
Challenge the Second: This is the biggest game we've worked on independently. As such, it's hard to judge things like timescales and project scope.
We're using Dmitry's pre-alpha demo (which only took two months to develop from scratch) as a basis for our schedule, but a full game is a much more ambitious package, so we may need to push release to the end of East Coast US summer (August/September 2017). We don't foresee anything more drastic than that.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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