There’s seldom been a better time in recent memory to be a survival horror fan than right now. From recent releases like Motive Studio’s Dead Space remake and Capcom’s own remake of Resident Evil 4 to highly anticipated games such as Amnesia: The Bunker and Alan Wake 2, there’s a veritable embarrassment of riches to choose from for players who prefer their regular diet of action-heavy thrills with an accompanying side of chills.
On Friday, Bristol, U.K.-based developer Headware Games (aka Nathan Hamley) released a five-minute gameplay trailer for its upcoming survival horror title Hollowbody, and from the looks of it, it’s certainly shaping up to be a game worth looking forward to. Described as a “tech-noir homage to classic survival horror,” Hollowbody places players in the role of Mica, an unlicensed Shipper (i.e., courier) working for a black-market syndicate based in a dystopian near-future Bristol.
The trailer opens with a scene of Mica having crash-landed in a long-abandoned neighborhood on the outskirts of the city’s habitable zone, à la Blade Runner 2049. With limited resources, no way of contacting her employers, and no other options, Mica must brave the desolate ruins of this quarantined area in search of a way to either repair her vehicle or find another way to safety.
Solving environmental puzzles and rummaging through the detritus of deserted apartment buildings will be the least of her problems, though. As we see in the trailer, Mica is not alone, and in order to survive, she’ll have to wade through an onslaught of shambling post-human nightmares presumably driven mad by invasive black-market technology.
The gameplay appears clearly indebted to that of predecessors like 2001’s Silent Hill 2 and 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, with fixed camera angles and brief loading-screen cutscenes interspersed with resource scavenging and scripted events. There are also some cool modern visual quirks, like fading wall animations and on-screen item descriptions presented as diegetic augmented reality displays. It’s a contemporary homage to the Silent Hill series similar in style to last year’s Signalis, albeit with a stronger apparent emphasis on scripted scares and combat.
What’s also interesting is the game’s inspirations apart from Silent Hill. It draws on such contemporary issues as class conflict and wealth inequality in industrialized countries. “There are many narrative reasons I wanted to frame this game in a near-future setting,” Hamley told NME last year. “But to hit home with the horror elements, I wanted to be able to ground it in something familiar. So I’ve modeled the environments after various buildings and locations in my home city of Bristol. You can call it a metaphor for post-Brexit Britain if you like. It wouldn’t be far off.”
Hollowbody is scheduled to launch on Windows PC in early 2024.