While Capcom is reinventing some of the survival horror classics of the 1990s with Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, there is still a demand for that classic approach to game design with fixed camera angles and tank controls. One title that is attempting to satisfy that request is Tormented Souls, recently announced for PlayStation 4 and launching at some point in 2021. It's being put together by Dual Effect, led by brotherly duo Gabriel and German Araneda in Chile. We caught up with them to learn more about how Tormented Souls resurrects the mechanics of old for the modern era.
Push Square: For those who missed the announcement, could you introduce Tormented Souls? What sort of game is it?
Gabriel and German Araneda: Tormented Souls is a survival horror game which really tries to bring back that 90s kind of feeling by taking some of the most important mechanics that made survival horror games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Alone in the Dark so amazing back then.
You have brought back the term: "This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore." That's a pretty big deal for fans of the classic Resident Evil and Silent Hill games, was there ever any apprehension surrounding this decision? Did you want to make sure you had an experience that really pays tribute to those titles before including the phrase in your marketing?
Even now when I turn my old tv on and that mythical phrase appears on the screen, while I only can hear the deaf sound of the cathode rays hitting the screen, I still get goosebumps. I really love old horror games, and by using this phrase at the very first screen, we want to make our solemn vow that we are doing our best to create a video game that brings you back to that beautiful old survival horror game times. Those who choose this path, be prepared for survival, limited saves, limited resources, backtracking, hard puzzles, and combat.
How will Tormented Souls modernise classic mechanics such as fixed camera angles and tank controls?
We are implementing tank control on the d-pad for players looking for the full experience, but you can move with the joystick in 360 degrees like in action games if you want to. Since Tormented Souls is a full 3D game, it would be a shame not to take advantage of camera panning or depth of field, so we are taking this into consideration when we recreate static fit cameras so we can keep control of cameras while giving them some movement too.
Does the game feature combat? Or is this more of a survival horror experience that sees you hiding from enemies like Outlast?
While we love games like Clock Tower and Haunting Ground we are aiming to make a real (old) Resident Evil, Silent Hill style experience. I should say combat is closer to Silent Hill though -- we want to give the player some kind of helpless feeling, so you'll find some hand made weapons in the game like an old modified nailer. Of course, the hospital/mansion will be infested with creatures that would be glad to catch up with a clueless girl barely equipped with a sad nailer, You'll find more weapons and munitions, though. Caroline surely is gonna get hurt a lot so it would be a good idea to look around for medicines too.
Will there be a lot of monsters or does Tormented Souls follow the recent lineage of a few "stalker enemies", such as in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard?
A lot of them. I mean, we are a very small indie game developer, so sure there will not be much variety but the mansion will be full of them. We really encourage you to look around for weapons and ammunition and anything that could be handy. With that said, there will be a perturbing stalker enemy but Caroline really doesn't have any chance against it, so it would be a good idea just keep out of its sight.
How will puzzles be structured? Will there be anything as complex as the famous Brookhaven Keypad from Silent Hill 3?
We are implementing a puzzle system a little bit different from old games. It's almost the same but we let the player modify and use items while interacting with a puzzle into the game by picking and drag. We have taken some inspiration from modern point and click games but don't worry; this will be still a survival horror game. For us, puzzles have been one of the toughest things to get right since the line between easy and too hard varies a lot from person to person. But for now we taking the risk of having some hard puzzles, and we'll apologise later.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the game? Why should Push Square readers, particularly those who love classic survival horror, be excited about it?
We are going back to the past and we are not afraid of being outdated. We are afraid not to deliver a real old school experience because "this game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore".
This interview has been edited for clarity. We would like to thank Gabriel and German Araneda for taking the time to answer our questions and Dominik Graner for making the interview possible. Is Tormented Souls up your alley? Share your thoughts in the comments below.