Sanitarium Devs Turn to Kickstarter

The devs behind one of the creepiest horror games of the late '90s are back with a new project.

News by Pete Davison, .

Sanitarium, a 1998 adventure game from DreamForge Intertainment [sic], is an immensely creepy tale, heavy on the psychological horror. It's available from and still holds up pretty well today, so if you're twiddling your thumbs waiting for Saints Row IV to come out, you could do far worse than give it a spin.

Back in 2013, it seems that Rob Seres and Keith Leonard -- two of the creative minds behind Sanitarium -- are keen to get back to their roots and make a new psychological horror title. They've formed a new studio called Sword and Spirit, and already have some designs in place for a new game.

Dubbed Shades of Sanity, the new game is full 3D take on Sanitarium's particular breed of psychological, supernatural-infused horror. It tells the tale of a schizophrenic mental patient called Joseph Springer who moves back in with his ex-wife. One day, he awakens to find himself alone in a deserted house, plagued with horrible visions of violence and loneliness. Through solving a series of puzzles -- challenges that Seres claims will include "situational puzzles based on supernatural logic, as well as others relying on inventory or in-game physics" -- it's up to you to help Springer figure out what's going on.

In a nod to the older Silent Hill games, Shades of Sanity will include separate customizable difficulty levels for puzzles and action sequences. Seres and Leonard promise "Clock Tower levels of danger" at higher action difficulty levels, and the need for knowledge of fields of study outside of the game (such as art, tarot, literary works and math) at harder puzzle levels. Conversely, at lower action difficulty levels, they note you'll be able to walk away from the game without fear of dying, and on lower puzzle levels, all the knowledge you need will be within the game itself. They also note that the game will not "punish" players for trying different solutions, and claim you won't find yourself railroaded into one specific solution where another is clearly visible.

The team has turned to Kickstarter for funding, and is looking for $200,000 in total over the next 43 days. Breaking the $200,000 will mean the team can consider a Mac port, plus additional content in the game. The money will primarily be spent on creating content for the base game and expanding the team in order to actually get it finished. At present, the team estimates the project will be complete in October of next year, but this being Kickstarter it may be worth taking that with a pinch of salt.

It sounds like an interesting project, at least, and the team behind it certainly has a strong pedigree of doing this sort of thing. If you'd like to find out more, check out the campaign page.

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