Middle of Nowhere - A New Take on the Survival Horror Genre
Middle of Nowhere is a game currently in development by Indie Games Studio VisionArts. It is a single player, first person survival horror game, with a unique and story-driven campaign. VisionArts are aiming to create an amazing, unique survival horror experience that stays with you forever by creating a beautiful yet deceiving reality.
The game sees you playing as Isaac Newman in the year 2020, who is the brother of Dr. Aleister Newman. Dr Aleister Newman received a letter seeking his aid to help a young girl who has fallen ill. He heads to the small town in North America to offer his assistance, but this is no ordinary town. Dr Aleister Newman never returns. As his brother, you decide to travel to the town in search of answers after he is declared missing. Your sanity is tested, as you have to venture further into the middle of nowhere to unravel the mystery of your brother’s‘ disappearance.
Middle of Nowhere will see you tested to the limits of sanity, as you explore the many different environment of this seemingly “ordinary” town. From dense forestry, catacombs and swamps, to abandoned schools, churches and farms, players will quickly learn that something unpredictable lies around every corner.
You begin the game with nothing but the clothes on your back, but you have the opportunity to explore and find a number of different items. This is what makes Middle of Nowhere so promising, it mixes the need to ensure your survival with a horror experience. Typically, you don’t find yourself needing to focus on the survival aspect too much in most horror games on the market, as they have you exploring the levels, but with no worry about whether you are about to die of starvation or thirst. An example of the survival elements in place in Middle of Nowhere is needing to build fires and building shelters to recover your health. Add to that puzzles, combat and even skills such as being able to improve your sprint speed, and Middle of Nowhere is definitely a survival horror game to keep a lookout for.
And what kind of Horror game would it be without creatures? Currently there are 3 confirmed types of “Creatures”. With more being revealed after the Kickstarter. The confirmed creatures are:
- Stitches - What was once human is now a deformed nightmare. Stitches is an unforgiving organism that screams in agony as it stumbles towards you and tries to tear you apart.
- Creeper - Found lurking in the depths of the catacombs. Creeper is a genetic mutation that waits silently in the darkness. Stumble into her web, into her territory, and you may never escape.
- Screaming Nurse - Crazed mutilated and decayed. The Screaming Nurse is far from dead and has only one thing on her mind, to inject you with her syringe.
Aaron Wilde, the founder of VisionArts, kindly took part in a Q&A with JumpToGamer to help offer more insight into how Middle of Nowhere came about and more on the features players can expect from their upcoming title.
Q: What made you want to create Middle of Nowhere? Have you taken inspiration from any games currently on the market?
A: I came up with the idea for Middle of Nowhere last year. I’ve always loved being involved with media especially since my primary job is being a composer/sound designer for film and game. Last year, i started bringing ideas together for Middle of Nowhere and around 3-4 months ago started actually creating the concept visually for the game. As it progressed over a few months(I should stress that i work all the time so this is a lot of time for me) Middle of Nowhere became a serious project and I started to get a team together.
I’ve always been a gamer and am very much a survival horror fan, its by far my most experienced and favorite genre. There’s something about horror that makes you feel something I don’t think any other genre does. I find it amazing how something can really scare us, make us jump or want to run away but we still continue to play it, kind of funny when you think about it.
A: I’m so excited about our story direction so far. Something i noticed in these types of games is that when your chasing someone the character cares about, you really feel like your part of the game. We can’t give too much of the story away at this point but we’ll definitely be having some updatesabout it as soon as we feel the time is right to do so. The game is set in the year 2020 but the world you encounter is not. Nothing is what it seems and puzzles that make you really have to think are going to be a great addition to this game.
Q: Will MoN be First or Third person and what was your reason behind the decision?
A: MoN will be a first person game for the simple reason of being different. If we are to re-visit this old school atmosphere, pretty much most of those games were in third person and we want to give players a first person experience where they witness everything as if they are the character themselves and i think thats easier to achieve by making it first person. I also feel we can make a much stronger story and dialogue part of the game this way, making it feel like a personal experience.
Q: How linear will MoN be? Will the player have freedom and choices to make to decide how the story pans out?
A: We’ve been asked this question quite a few times now and to put simply, we want to find a nice blend between both exploration and driving players through the story. Something i really dislike in most games these days is how linear they are, it really does put me off personally. We will definitely be giving players choices of where they go and its most likely because of those choices, everyone will experience different things. We want to make the world feel open with the chance to explore and find different and sometimes secret things while not taking it away from story direction of course.
Q: What kind of Horror/Survival elements can players expect to be in the game?
A: MoN will be big on both survival and horror. I think a lot of survival horror games do miss many survival elements like having to find water, food or camping for the night to keep warm and rested so we will definitely be thinking about things like that during development. We will also be having places in the game in which you enter and it instantly tells you your playing a survival horror. I think there’s a lot of beauty to be found in horror and that’s the kind of thing we will capture.
Q: What kind of combat system will be used, and how heavily involved will combat be?
A: I much preffered the state of survival horror games where you had limited ammo, you wasted it on an enemy and they just kept coming. Of course, as games have progressed we do need to think about players expectations too because they are so used to being giving lots of ammo and health and running around killing enemies quite easily. we want to make combat feel difficult, where players get a real satisfaction out of killing enemies and a real sense of terror when they keep on coming.
Q: What kind of enemies will be players be up against?
A: Well i do think zombies is a bit cliche and so it won’t just be zombies. We like to think of the creatures in MoN as deformed and whats exciting about them is they actually have a meaning of existence, a story behind each of them and why they have invested this north American town. We have so far shown 3 creatures willingly, 1 is a spider, 1 is a nurse, and 1 is our ultimately deformed and armless “Stitches”. So we are trying to vary the monsters found in MoN.
Q: What makes Middle of Nowhere unique compared to other similar games and why should people back you on Kickstarter?
A: What makes MoN unique is that we really do listen to our fans and feedback and do want to be ultimately true to the genre. In general
I’ve seen a lot of games say they are aiming to create a unique experience but I don’t feel that’s always true. With MoN this is definitely true, we are really thinking about things that haven’t been done before and for things that have, we are thinking of ways to make them our own. Something i personally dislike is doing things that other people have already done, in fact, i can’t remember a project I’ve not been critical with myself and said “is this different?” with that said, that exact attitude will be used in MoN because we want to create a game that really will stay with players forever.
Q: When can people expect to get their hands on Middle of Nowhere?
A: If our Kickstarter is successful, we want to put a non-stop solid working year into this game because we want to do it right and make sure that when people play it and finish it, they come away feeling very happy with what they invested into. Our estimate for this is mid-2014 but that’s not final yet. We’ll be choosing a more stable date based on the Kickstarter success as you can imagine, that changes everything.