A psychological horror adventure inspired by H. P. Lovecraft and set in a massive, decaying mental institute.
Also, you can check out our exhaustive FAQ for many more details on the project!
Asylum is a point-and-click adventure game. It’s quite scary too. No, we’re not making this up: some people were terrified just by reading the script alone, and we’re striving to top it with the most immersive, oppressive, depressive, (and many other words ending with 'ive') atmosphere ever seen in an adventure. Don’t be fooled by our excitement or apparent silliness; we’re very serious about making Asylum a disturbing and horrifying game that you won’t easily forget.
We’re deliberately keeping details of the story under wraps. We firmly believe that the less you know about the game, the more it will surprise you. There are plenty of inside looks available though: screenshots, promotional videos, trailer, the Interactive Teaser (or really short demo), and more. When it comes to the story, everybody wants to know what Asylum is about, but we’re only willing to reveal what we said in the pitch video and hinted on the trailer...
You’ll have to take our word for it: the plot is very twisty and satisfying. The deeper you go and the more attention you pay to your surroundings, the more Hanwell Mental Institute will reveal about its true nature. Every room is bursting with detail, mood, and backstory. There is a lot to investigate and discover and, quite literally, an entire asylum available to explore. Close to 100 rooms, in fact. You might think we’re a bunch of slightly deranged people to have created a game of this scope on our own and with close to no budget… and you may actually be right.
Here's a short but polished glimpse into what Asylum has to offer. Yes: playable stuff readily available! You may download for Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. To play, unzip and launch Dagon. Please note that the teaser has mostly been tested on Ubuntu for Linux platforms. For more information and system requirements, visit our website.
You can also watch the following videos featuring Bertrand (aka "Subject E14") in a most uncomfortable situation. These were released anonymously and went viral before the game was announced: Session One, Session Two, Session Three, and Last Session.
Senscape is a young company based in Argentina but we have decades of combined experience. Agustín Cordes has been addicted to the adventure genre ever since he dwelt in the kingdom of Daventry at the tender age of 7. Over the years he has become an active member in the adventure gaming community, has written many reviews, and went on to design and develop Scratches, widely regarded as one of the best horror adventures ever made (he disagrees, but still...). Scratches became a cult sleeper hit and sold over 250,000 copies. Its soundtrack and chilling atmosphere were highly praised at the time but, most importantly, the game is still being actively discussed for its mysterious and gothic plot, equally influenced by H. P. Lovecraft and Hammer Horror films. Asylum aims to build upon that, with an even more immersive atmosphere and story that will haunt you for years to come.
Agustín, together with the rest of the Senscape team, also took part in one of the biggest game projects in Argentina, the educational adventure Risk Profile. While this humorous title was never translated to other languages, it was extremely well received in the country, with thousands of kids still clamouring for a sequel.
Yeah... another one. We develop games for art’s sake but we still need funding to make it happen. For starters, we need to pay our rent and buy food, clothes, and loads of coffee. Perhaps in a different timeline our civilization has sorted out the problem of money — for example, with players allowing us to eat them after they have played our games, but alas, that’s not how it works in our world.
It’s true that Asylum is in advanced stages of production. The Hanwell Institute is virtually complete and fully explorable. The script and design have been ready for a long time, most characters have already been modeled, the Dagon engine is mature enough, and the programming is well under way… In a nutshell: Asylum will happen. But we need your help to make it happen sooner.
Your contribution, even if it’s one dollar, will help us tackle this final lap of development with a proper schedule and resources. Right now this is still a "garage game" with most team members dedicating time to the project as they can from their homes. If we reach the goal, we will lock ourselves inside an office for the remainder of the year until Asylum is complete. Being able to work together every day in the same room makes a huge difference, especially for such a large project. If you can’t contribute by actually pledging money, spreading the word is more than enough: tweeting, liking on Facebook, just talking about it will also help.
Oh, stretch goals you say? Yes, we have them. We certainly do. And depending on the success of the campaign, we will start revealing them as soon as we approach our initial goal...
No publisher today would dare to produce an edition like this. But, we are not publishers, we are huge fans of adventures just like you (hopefully!), and that’s why we’re doing this delightful edition reminiscent of Infocom games, including the iconic flip cover and booklet attached to the box. In this case, the booklet will be our fancy Record Book of the Insane. This is a fictional look into the Hanwell Mental Institute, its past and present, including character profiles, newspaper cuts, testimonies, and the Register of Patients which can include your name if you pledge for one of our select rewards — all in glorious quality.
Also, the box will include feelies. Yes, feelies! In the good old days, veterans used the word 'feelies' to describe quirky extras that were included inside game boxes. We’re committed to producing a few of them, but we won’t spoil the surprises. Just rest assured that you’ll be getting more than just a box and DVD.
We have no intention to deliver a big, bulky box whose sole purpose would be to occupy shelf space, but instead we're aiming for a neat, tidy and quality package (slightly nostalgic too!) that we’re positive you’re going to love.
Stretch goals have been announced! For more information about these, check out the updates The Dream-Quest of Stretch Goals and A haunting revelation of our final stretch goal...
Here’s some of the things you can get from us exclusively on this Kickstarter campaign. Boy, oh boy! Gorgeous T-shirts, beta access, signed boxes, the chance to become immortalized inside Hanwell from just your name to your very own cold and gritty cell, and so much more. A few pointers though, since we want to make things really simple: you buy the game, you get access to all versions. That’s PC, Mac, and Linux, including the Steam key. Tiers with physical stuff include the worldwide shipping price. Any physical item will include its digital counterpart in all corresponding tiers (except the T-shirt, that is, because… really, what’s the point).
Because we live in a visual era, we have prepared this lovely aid of what’s included on each tier:
We offer you several options to stay in touch. Remember to also visit our forums and participate in a friendly and ever growing community of adventure game fans!
We would like to thank the invaluable assistance of Phoenix Online Studios in the creation of this Kickstarter campaign, especially Weldon Hathaway who is coordinating administrative tasks in the United States. These charming folks happen to be the developers of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, and they could use some love on Steam Greenlight. You may also buy the first acclaimed episode of the series from their online store.
The H. P. Lovecraft painting used in the video was done by Dave Carson. Thank you Dave for creating one of the most lovely (and sinister) pieces related to Lovecraft we have seen! You can check out more works by him right over here.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As we've stated before, Asylum is in advanced stages of production (it better be after four years!). Then again, this is game development: it's complex, expensive, and takes time. Major studios often experience setbacks for their vastly popular, multimillion-dollar games; now imagine the challenges a small team with limited resources like ourselves must face...
Asylum is a work of love and we're determined to make it one of the best horror adventures you'll ever play. Your contribution will allow us to remain independent and true to our vision. Sure, we may always face more delays, particularly as we adjust to work under new circumstances with a "real" budget, but we'll always be fully committed to the game and to you, its community. We're going to be constantly in touch and informing you about the status of this project, so that you feel you're part of the team. Asylum will get finished one way or another; the question is when, and that's where you come in.
We’ve been doing this project on a shoestring budget, with money from our own pocket. Because of this, the team has remained small with occasional shifts, and therefore properly scheduling the project becomes very difficult.
Asylum is one big game. One of our main goals has always been to accurately reproduce a rundown asylum and, you know, asylums can be quite large buildings. On top of that, the game has a complex story that is intimately connected to the environment, so we have additional requirements to address besides modeling a realistic structure. We’re also very stubborn when it comes to accuracy and we’re making sure that the Hanwell Institute is as “architecturally correct” as possible.
As if all this craziness wasn’t enough, we’ve been developing our own game engine. From scratch. Ever hear when developers prefer to stick with pre-made engines instead of developing their own? Well, there’s a good reason for that. Dedicated game engines are extremely demanding projects, but there are great benefits with this approach, as you will see.
Still, we have managed to bring Asylum closer to reality after all these years. And with your help, and the success of this Kickstarter campaign, we will be able to get it done on time.
We’re talking about the game here... right?
Check out this wireframe render of the building. Take a look at the little human near the entrance: http://www.senscape.net/images/asylum_wire.jpg
That would be you and you will explore all the place from that perspective. Now, you won’t be visiting every corridor in the left and right wings because a) it would result in a very boring game and b) if we had to produce all that it would take us many lifetimes. That said, you will have complete freedom to explore the main body as you see fit, and that’s all four floors, along with select sections from the male and female wings. Furthermore, we aren’t showing the basement (of course there is a basement!) and many secret areas in this render. All in all, you will be able to explore around 100 rooms, and note we’re counting corridors and large areas (such as the central courtyard) as single rooms.
If you remember Scratches, this is over three times the size of that game, and far more detailed.
Just a little bit.
Unfortunately, no. We have given enough clues already and we want to keep everything under wraps. We certainly believe it’s the strongest point of the game and the handful of people that read the script agree it will be one hell of a ride. One thing is for sure: expect an aftermath of months discussing with friends its many intricacies and twists.
This certainly works. There was close to no info about the story in Scratches before its release. In fact, it was simply a clichéd premise: “horror writer goes to lonely mansion to finish his novel”. Yawn. But, eventually the plot developed into an atypical and truly unexpected mystery. So, in a way, Asylum will be to creepy mental institutes what Scratches was to haunted houses.
Oh yes. We’re attempting to strike a balance between old school and modern. The gameplay will feel fresh, with many visual effects and eye candy, but at its core Asylum will be classic adventuring. No action sequences whatsoever, no quick reflexes required, no weapons, no enemies, no running around, just cerebral, moody and scary gameplay. Now now, stop drooling...
Since we’re doing our own engine we have full control over this aspect of the project. We’re fully supporting Windows, Mac OS X and Linux with our initial goal. Support for iPad, Android and maybe OUYA will be the object of stretch goals. We did look into consoles but it’s a very tough market and not currently our priority.
The game was recently Greenlit on Steam, so yes, that means Asylum will be immediately available on that platform when it’s finished. We’re also planning to support Desura. As for others, stay tuned for news!
Yes, all tiers above and including the $15 Limited Visitor come with a Steam key.
A resounding yes! We don’t like any kind of DRM or copy protection. It is our priority to provide you, our backers and audience, a quality game unencumbered by annoying requirements. You will always have access to a standalone installer of the game that doesn’t require any sort of software client or online activation. Just download, install and keep forever. The way it should be.
It shouldn’t demand much power. As usual, a powerful video card will be preferred. We’d say a four to five years old computer will be fine to handle the game. Generally, if you were able to play Scratches Director’s Cut, then you should be able to play Asylum, though you might have to disable some of the visual effects.
We encourage you to try our Interactive Teaser and see how it works in your system. Preliminary system requirements are listed on the page: http://www.senscape.net/asylum-teaser/
We’re going to offer you two choices: 256kbps MP3 and lossless FLAC. Needless to say, the soundtrack will be also DRM-free.
The shipping costs to anywhere in the world are already included in every tier with physical rewards. We kept it simple.
Yes, we’re currently accepting PayPal payments on our own website: http://www.senscape.net/asylum-backer
We were going to provide FIGS translation before this Kickstarter was announced and we're going to honor that commitment. In fact, we're still planning to support all the following languages: English (duh), German, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Greek and Turkish. Full dubbing for some of these, however, will be the object of a stretch goal.
Blue. No, yellow!
Dagon is precisely the game engine that we’ve been developing for Asylum. Both projects are strongly connected to each other, and sometimes when we speak about Asylum we’re also speaking about Dagon. This engine is specifically designed for adventure games, multi-platform and darned easy to learn. Our philosophy behind it is to ensure Portability, Simplicity and Performance. Indeed, this is a fast engine. Not only you will be surprised by the graphics of Asylum but also the speed at which they are handled.
Yes, and better than that, it's already open source. Everything we do for Dagon will go back to the community. As simple as that. The GitHub repository can be found here: https://github.com/Senscape/Dagon
So far we’ve been estimating around 15 hours. A healthy length that is ideal for the story we want to tell.
Wrong game. Next question.
This question comes up often, possibly because Scratches had many hidden references and small surprises for the good observer. Yes, expect dozens and dozens of such easter eggs in Asylum and references to cult movies, adventures, and more!