Late last month, an unknown developer by the name of Vivec Entertainment quietly released the first trailer for their debut title, a horror game called Shadow of a Soul. Clocking in at just under a minute, the cinematic trailer is a striking blend of beautiful visuals and pants-wetting creepiness, and it's made all the more impressive when you realize it's the work of a single person.
See, the Istanbul-based Vivec Entertainment is a one-man show. About a year ago, Ferzan Aygen decided to quit his job as a visual effects artist and focus full time on developing games. That might seem like a daunting task, especially for a game as ambitious as Shadow of a Soul, but that's where Aygen says he feels the most comfortable.
"I have a pretty simple vision; I want Vivec Entertainment to be a one person company," he told us in an e-mail interview. "This is why I only hire freelancers, and I'm pretty happy with that arrangement so far."
Central to that vision is Shadow of a Soul, a first-person survival horror game that Vivec plans to release as an episodic trilogy. The first chapter, which is currently on track for a PC/Mac release this October, tells the story of an industrial espionage mission gone terrifyingly wrong. Playing as a thief named Jack, you'll be tasked with solving puzzles, finding clues, and hiding from the "various manifestations of ghosts" you'll encounter along the way.
The game's premise has caused many to draw parallels to another high-profile indie title, Frictional Games' 2010 hit Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Aygen says he's flattered by the comparison, even if it is a bit daunting. "I think Amnesia really opened the door for me, because when I talk about the features of the game, people have a reference point already in place. On the other hand, it's terrifying for me for my game to be compared to Amnesia because I have yet to see anyone who doesn't like Amnesia."
He's also quick to explain that Shadow of a Soul will provide a somewhat different experience from Amnesia, with a diverse set of influences guiding the design. "I'm trying to incorporate the running and hiding dynamics of Thief and Call of Cthulhu with the 2D puzzles of old adventures games, coupled with the loneliness of Amnesia."
"Usually, puzzles in games are incorporated as mini games. Time stops when you’re solving the puzzle, no matter what happens in the game. Shadow of a Soul is different from that because the puzzles are integrated into the game. They are 2D puzzles in a 3D world and you need to solve them while you are constantly running and hiding."
In theory, it sounds fascinating, like the horror gaming equivalent of Jonathan Blow's The Witness. Even with the meager info we have, there's already ample reason to be excited, and Aygen assures us that more concrete details — in-game screenshots being at the top of the list — are on the way shortly.
Vivec currently plans to release Chapter 1 of Shadow of a Soul on the PC in time for a Halloween, with a PS3 port slated for sometime in 2013. The game is currently available for pre-order from the official site for $15.99, though the price tag will kick up to $20 once the game is finished.
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