Since 1996, Resident Evil has had a lasting effect on the video game industry. Besides the continued growth of Resident Evil through new installments and films, the franchise has also inspired other game developers. Such inspiration is more than apparent in Daymare: 1998, a new third-person survival action game rooted in the classic elements of the genre.
A HORROR BORN FROM EVIL
Created by indie developer Invader Studios, Daymare: 1998 is an homage to what the survival-horror genre once was. Combining elements of old, Daymare: 1998 pays respect to what came before it while also advancing the genre.
The origins of Daymare: 1998 are based in more than just simple homage. Initially, Invader was developing an unofficial remake of Resident Evil 2, dubbed Reborn, with modern touches. At times, publishers are less than thrilled when someone uses their IP but not in this case. Inspired by the work Invader had done, Capcom invited the team to their headquarters in Japan to meet with the team handling the official RE2 Remake.
“After the Capcom meeting, we thought that maybe an indie studio like our’s could work on a project like this, a non-mainstream game that can satisfy the old school lovers,” said Invader Studios’ Co-Founder Michele Giannone. Encouraged by their meeting with Capcom, Invader conceptualized what went on to become Daymare: 1998.
INSPIRED BY THE BEST
With the work done on their Resident Evil 2: Reborn, a gameplay basis was already in place for Invader to utilize. “We always knew that this kind of gameplay is the best (in our opinion) for a game like this, and not only because there aren’t enough, or better which is really rare. As you know, most survival horror games are in first-person today. So all our past experiences have been the basis for the choices that we take every day on Daymare: 1998.”
With the direction settled, the team went on to refine the overall feel of Daymare: 1998. The inspirations for Daymare go further than just the Resident Evil franchise. “Resident Evil 4 is a real masterpiece for its innovative and revolutionary gameplay, but it isn’t our first reference,” Michelle said. “Dead Space, in our opinion, managed to extend and improve the RE4 system. For this reason, Dead Space is one of the best survival horror games.”
It’s refreshing that Invader Studios looked for inspiration elsewhere, especially with classics such as Dead Space. If the aspirations of Invader Studios are any sign, it’s clear that they hope to hit the market with an impact similar to that when Dead Space first released.
RETURNING TO THE BASICS
Other games in the past promised to deliver traditional survival horror, yet failed. This is partly due to a misunderstanding of the genre or including elements which feel out of place. This balancing act is something Invader Studios is aware of, and they are proceeding with proper caution within Daymare.
“First of all, we want to return to the old mood, atmospheres, and feeling of the most important survival horror from the past. A lot of stuff came from the 90s, but we also know that we are in 2017. For this reason, we are adding some interesting and original features. We’re not trying to evolve the genre, but the aim is to mix tradition and innovation to create something familiar and new at the same time.”
This return to basics also includes the enemies one would expect from a survival horror game. Of the entities, Michelle said, “Every enemy will have a different routine. Some will attack without strategy while others will wait until the right moment to assault the character.”
A classic element of the Resident Evil games was the ability to play as different characters. This often provided a different look at the narrative, in addition to exclusive character traits which affected gameplay.
“Daymare: 1998 will be a story-driven experience and will be seen from three different points of view. The direction of the game will decide which of the three characters will be experienced by the player. So there is no character switching or something like that, the story decides. We think that it’s nice to watch and see the plot from different points of view that often meet in some parts of the game.”
PLEASING THE FANS
Tackling such a beloved genre usually can yield high pressure within a development team. It isn’t easy to create a high-quality game, to begin with, especially one with such a dedicated audience.
“We just want to create a game that can satisfy old and new survival horror fans. We are working on something that is missing at the moment inside the industry. The team is motivated to make it the best way, adding all the features that a first-person shooter can’t show. Pressure is only felt from ourselves because we know this kind of game is not easy to develop, but at the same time the difficulties are also our first motivation.”
THE NEXT STEPS
With a Kickstarter campaign planned soon, Daymare: 1998 will happen whether or not the fans flock to fund the project. Invader Studios is intent on releasing the project on the PC and consoles, even if it may take longer than planned.
Daymare: 1998 has a solid foundation and a surprisingly high level of quality for an indie project. It’s just a matter of time to see if players will have a more traditional alternative to the current crop of horror games currently offered.