The latest footage of VectorCell’s upcoming survival horror game Amy is more than a little reminiscent of the highly regarded PS2 classic ICO, but there’s more to it than sugary-sweet hand-holding.

In Amy, protagonist and Elena Fisher look-a-like Lana has been infected with the obligatory world-ending zombie virus. The only thing between her and a bad case of the cranium munchies is Amy, a mute, psychic moppet whose presence allows Lana to temporarily fight off the infection. This leads to a lot of hand-holding and co-op puzzle solving, and when it comes to hand-holding and co-op puzzle solving, one name always crops up.

“When you mention ‘a very unique relationship’ in a video game, it may bring to mind ICO, a game that many of us consider a milestone in video game history,” wrote Publisher Lexis Numérique’s Djamil Kemal on the PlayStation.Blog. “The recent re-release of the HD version by PlayStation brought back many memories for us. The first time you finished ICO, what remained was great emotional depth and a rare feeling of empathy for Yorda, the young woman you try to protect. Before playing ICO, the simple idea of protecting a non-playable character seemed tedious and dull. And yet, in ICO, you never had the feeling of doing a long escort mission. You really wanted to protect her.”

He’s hit the nail on the head there. ICO was, when you break it down, essentially a very long escort mission, an element of game design long derided for being dull at best and utterly frustrating at worst. ICO encouraged emotional investment in the game world, so much so that even when Yorda’s AI was being kind of wonky, I never felt the urge to kick her off a bridge. Which is unusual, for me at least.

Kemal did, however, downplay the straight up comparisons.

“In Amy, we didn’t try to ape ICO and the two games are quite different; each developer has its own references, world, and vision,” he continued. “Not mentioning ICO when releasing a game that enables you to hold a secondary character by the hand wouldn’t have been honest toward Mr. Ueda’s work and innovative feature.”

Amy is the brainchild of French game designer Paul Cuisset, creator of Flashback and Fade to Black, and is currently scheduled for release on PSN, XBLA and PC. No word on a release date just yet.

Source: PlayStation Blog

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