Monolith is cranking things up for F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, promising a more intense and visceral FPS experience while also expanding on the game’s horror elements.

In an interview with CVG, F.E.A.R. 2 Associate Producer Eric Studer and Primary Art Lead Dave Matthews said that even though the game will give players access to an expanded and even more powerful arsenal than the original, the horror aspect “is still very much our focal point,” and that despite the player’s destructive capabilities the development team has used all its “tricks in the bag” to ensure things stay spooky.

“A great way to scare people is to build their anticipation for a long time, and then scare the crap out of them a moment after they expect it,” they explained. “One of my favorite scares in the first game had to be where after all of the trademark warnings that F.E.A.R. would give you Alma appeared out of nowhere. It was scary, but you thought it was over. You then descended a ladder and turned around and Paxton Fettel was standing right there ready to scare you once again. So many components go into making that happen, not the least of which is lighting and level design. What you see and what it looks like is so important for putting people in the right mood to be scared.”

It’s common knowledge that Project Origin will ignore the events detailed in the first two F.E.A.R. add-ons, Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate, a decision apparently made simply because the direction taken by those expansions wasn’t where Monolith wanted to go with the story. “We wanted to remain focused on telling the story of Alma and what happens to her at the end of F.E.A.R.,” they said. “With this game we’re continuing the story exactly the way we feel it should be. Remember, Project Origin is the true sequel to F.E.A.R.

While the horror elements of the first game will be a major part of the sequel, Monolith is apparently taking a different approach to the scares this time around, leveraging Alma’s newfound freedom from the clutches of Armacham. “The inspirations for the first game came largely from Japanese horror which have very specific ways of scaring you,” they explained. “We wondered how we enhance that and build upon that this time out. Our belief is that scary little girls alone just wouldn’t get the same visceral effect from the audience we got with the first game. We had to do more.”

“The inspiration came from the story itself. Alma is out now, and she wants revenge,” they continued. “She’s not the same tortured little girl from the first game. She’s an adult, with different needs. She’s going to interact with you more, she’s going to… touch you more and we’ve learned than anytime Alma comes in contact with you it’s never a good thing. The whole experience will be a lot more personal, and we think a lot creepier.”

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is scheduled for release in February 2009, so while you wait you can read the full interview with Studer and Matthews at CVG.

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