Daylight aims to be replayable, procedurally generated horror.
Horror is at its best when its premise is simple. The monster under the bed. The guy in the mask who can’t be killed. The sound in the dark you can’t quite identify. Daylight, a procedurally-generated, first person horror title coming to PC and PS4 early next year, has a similarly simple premise: You wake up in an abandoned hospital with no clue how you got there and nothing but your cell phone to light your way.
Written by Jessica Chobot (who also provided the voice work for the protagonist), Daylight is designed to be played over and over, with each play session revealing a few new secrets about the story and your surroundings. Once your cell phone battery dies, so do you, assuming a ghost doesn’t get to you first. The longest play session you can manage is about 45 minutes, but 10 or 15 minute runs are pretty typical.
Though you’ll never be sure exactly what you’ll encounter on each playthrough, there will be a some constants, such as a sealed door that needs a particular totem to unlock. Once you’ve cleared an area, you’ll move on to the next location, and future playthroughs will start from there, so you’re not stuck playing through the same hospital for all of eternity. You’ll spend your sessions exploring your environment, unlocking doors, collecting items, and finding weird stuff like glyphs on the wall, which might help you figure out what’s going on, or may just freak you out. Maybe both. Probably both. You have a compass on your phone to help you find your way around, but your footprints will remain faintly on the floor wherever you’ve been, which is a big help for those of us who get turned around easily.
Daylight takes an atmospheric approach to its scares, favoring subtle actions over slavering monsters. A door will suddenly slam shut. You’ll catch a shadow moving out of the corner of your eye. You’ll see something through the glass of a closed door … or maybe you just imagined it. The game is pretty clearly trying to evoke the same kind of creepiness as Slender, and the demo I saw did a fairly decent job of achieving that goal. (In fairness to the game, the location where we saw the demo was not quiet enough to really appreciate the voice work, music, or sound effects, which naturally took away from the overall experience.) The visual trickery was pretty creepy, though, and the idea of learning a bit more about the overall story every time you play has definite appeal.
You can check out the bite-sized horror of Daylight on PC and PSN early next year.