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Indie Spotlight - Grave


Our weekly Indie Spotlight articles highlight one indie game that we feel is worth your attention. Every game listed has a planned console release for the Xbox One and/or PS4.

Grave

Developed by indie team Broken Window Studios, Grave is an open-world, procedural survival horror game. The survival horror genre has been lacking in all forms of media as of late, but it's indie studios like these keeping it alive. Grave mixes the modern tensions and fear elements fans have gotten used to, but also holds on to the strategic survival elements of old.

Features

Reinventing survival horror - The player can take action when frightening moments occur, but has to use strategy to find the right tool for the right job. This isn't just about stockpiling or storing inventory items.

Light fights the darkness - Instead of guns or knives, your weapons are entirely light-based. Many of the creatures in Grave react to light, each in unique ways. Whether tossing a flashbang or igniting a puddle of gasoline, Grave presents many options for dealing with encounters.

Ever-changing world inspired by surrealist art -  Not just a visual, the world changes and rearranges itself during play. Each passing night offers a change to the experience.

Full story progression - Not just a rogue-like or survival experience, Grave features a full story with multiple acts, strange characters and many unique elements taking advantage of the surreal setting

One key aspect every horror game needs to accomplish is the sense of vulnerability. Creatures in Grave will persistently attack the player with each passing night and the procedural elements will keep them from becoming stale. With the variety of creatures and items, the player will have to strategize to survive.


Day and Night

Grave features a full day-night cycle which lends to two completely different styles of gameplay. During the day, the gameplay is primarily focused on exploration and fortification.

"Players can explore new regions that have cropped up during the night, gather resources and prepare for the dangers that await them in the darkness. The emotions connected to the rise and fall of the sun each day are crucial to the experience of Grave."


Dynamic Choices

Grave is a game of choices, a key aspect to it's survival nature. Almost everything in Grave has at least two ways of interacting with it. That includes items, creatures, and locations.

"Those who are interested in tense action can arm themselves with defensive weapons and trek out into the night. The more cautious player might fortify themselves in a safe place and attempt to wait out the night. Some may like exploring the many strange landscapes of Grave, while others will be very goal oriented and only stop when their supplies run short. It is important for the experience of Grave to be dynamic and fluctuating, so that the game presents unique opportunities at ever turn."

Unpredictability

The team at Broken Windows Studios has put a lot of effort into keeping each experience new and fresh.

"If you think waiting out the night is always the best idea, you run the risk of not finding useful items that appear in the fleeting locations that exist each day. Every enemy and situation requires new reactions, and we are using procedural/random systems to keep the experience exciting."

These procedural elements not only help retain that needed sense of vulnerability, but also keep players guessing at every turn. You won't be able to simply remember enemy or item placement.


The Tools

The creeps come out at night. In Grave, you won't find guns or ammo lying around. Instead you'll have to fend off the creatures of the night with their only weakness: light. Replacing the usual cache of weapons are "tools". These tools serve as different means of creating a light source to help you survive.

Matches - For lighting your way in a pinch or for starting fires

Flashlights - Powerful focused beams can ward off creatures, but be careful. Some will be attracted to the light instead of hurt. Different types of flashlights will have varying effects.

Gasoline - Use to power generators and create temporary fortresses, or pour on the ground and ignite the pools.

Flashbangs/flares - Throw these for a quick reaction, either to lure enemies toward them or cause heavy damage.



The creatures in Grave react differently to light. Some will be distracted by it, some may even be killed with light, while others can even be attracted to it. Players will have to observe creatures behaviors and determine what approach should be taken for each situation.

"We feel that survival horror is in need of a serious reboot. We want to bring the kind of scares that gamers expect from modern horror titles back into an environment where the player still takes an active role in combating the creatures they face, instead of simply running or hiding."

Here's how the team plans on achieving this feat:

Choice over inventory - We want the player to find the right tool for the right job, rather than simply hording ammo or saving it for powerful enemies.

Each enemy reacts differently to your arsenal - Seemingly powerful tools won't be useful against all enemies, keeping things tense and unpredictable

Dynamic Elements keep the game unpredictable - Many elements are constantly changing or randomized, from enemy locations to items to the locations themselves.

Retaining Challenge - Grave isn't going to hold your hand or guide you through the experience. Your wits and decisions will play a strong role in your success, as well as your ability to remain cool under pressure.


Grave is currently planned for a Q4 2015 launch on the Xbox One and PS4. For more information you can visit the official website, or follow the game on Twitter and Facebook.
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