Horror games have been on a hot streak as of late, thanks to a consistent supply of heavy hitters like Dead Space Remake among a slew of other games. And the barrage of upcoming horror games doesn’t seem to slow down anytime soon, which is most certainly a good thing in our books. But it’s pretty commonplace to see the discussion surrounding such games being limited to AAA releases, which is a shame because there are a ton of promising games that are currently in development at relatively unknown studios.
This feature series is dedicated to showcasing such games, and breaking down what exactly makes them tick. Today, we will be looking at Paranormal Tales – a game that’s sure to unnerve you to the bone with its realistic visuals and unique found footage gameplay. It is currently in development at Digital Cybercherries which is also set to self-publish the game.
Digital Cybercherries, a small indie studio that previously brought us Hypercharged: Unbox, a third-person co-op shooter where you assume the role of action figures as they hop and fight around in comically large arenas like supermarkets and kids’ playgrounds that will be released in 2020. The game has been well-received by critics and fans alike, which has us confident that Paranormal Tales will also be a game that’s worth your time.
Coming back to the game itself, Paranormal Tales puts you in the shoes of lone survivors who must trudge through any and all presence of paranormal activity against the backdrop of horrifying environments. Players take on the role of multiple survivors, and each of these horror stories takes place in different locales with little to no narrative connections to one another. While this story setup definitely leaves something to be desired like characters that develop over the course of events or a central antagonist, these self contained narrative snippets can also be used to set up wildly distinct scenarios that wouldn’t be possible in a conventional story.
You can see that being used to great effect in the trailers, as the footage rapidly changes perspective from a forest to an abandoned home and much more. What remains to be seen is how the developer will build up tension and provide a favorable resolution in a short span of time. A good place to look for inspiration would be Resident Evil: Village’s House Beneviento level, where you get a good amount of horrifying chase sequences and brain tickling puzzles before finishing it off with a boss fight all within the span of an hour or so. All in all, Paranormal Tales has us excited to see the many different gameplay scenarios we will get to experience with the full release.
Coming over to the gameplay side of things, the most unique part of Paranormal Tales’ gameplay is definitely its perspective. Players get to view the action from a bodycam, which changes from story to story which should hopefully make for a consistently fresh experience. You might witness one story through a VHS camera complete with all its flaws, and the next story might be from a fisheye camera that gives you a wider perspective but has a blurry peripheral vision. Apart from that, the moment to moment gameplay involves exploring these levels and coming face to face with the many horrors that lurk around these environments.
The atmosphere is top notch, as you can already see in the trailers. There’s a palpable sense of tension pervading every step you take through the woods. The limited visibility afforded by the dim lights of your camera’s flash illuminates the area up to a few feet, leaving everything else in the dark. The rustling of leaves against your feet and your cries of help are the only things creating a semblance of sound in this environment.
The same story continues over in the indoor section as well, where an abandoned house provides the perfect backdrop for a spine-chilling horror story. The protagonist slowly tiptoes throughout the rooms as they survey their surroundings for any signs of paranormal activity, and the tension builds up to the grand reveal where we see a lady ghost donning white clothes is standing with her face towards the wall.
What we don’t know at the moment is whether Paranormal Tales will include any combat sequences or not, since the trailers haven’t showcased any such encounters with ghosts. Will you just be running away from the ghosts only to be greeted with an untimely demise at the end of each tape, or will you find ways to overcome these paranormal threats and emerge victorious at the end? Hopefully, the game will have some form of combat mechanics to keep things fresh and also add a bit of action to the gameplay proceedings as well.
Paranormal Tales is built using Unreal Engine 5, and it shows in the presentation. The game features a consistently high level of visual fidelity, and a lot of that can be attributed to the great usage of the engine’s feature set. The lighting is the most important part of any horror experience, and the developers seem to have used the Lumen system to simulate a global illumination system complete with indirect lighting and bounce effects. Furthermore, post-processing effects like motion blur and depth of field perfectly capture the aesthetics of video cameras, and it combines with life-like textures and realistic movements for a visual presentation that’s nothing short of extraordinary.
There are a lot of great things going for Paranormal Tales, but for the game to be successful – Digital Cybercherries has to be careful of not repeating the same mistakes as its past projects. Take for instance Hypercharged: Unbox, which also had a similarly interesting premise that was executed well enough to garner mainstream critical acclaim. But the lack of proper marketing around the launch and failure to generate hype for this release ultimately held the game from reaching its full potential. As such, Paranormal Tales needs to hit the mark in terms of marketing to turn out to be a commercial success.
Coming over to the release front, Digital Cybercherries hasn’t announced any release dates as of yet. The project looks to be still in deep development, so it seems we’ll have to wait until at least 2024 to finally get to experience it in all its glory. It’s more of an educated guess than a well-informed prediction, so fans are advised to keep their expectations in check for now since delays and push backs are always possible in such cases. Paranormal Tales is set to release on PC as of now, but it’s very likely that we’ll see console releases later down the line if the game ends up being a success.
Paranormal Tales’ unique bodycam perspective and impressive presentation make it a horror fan’s dream come true, and the game genuinely has a ton of potential that it can capitalize on. While we’re still waiting on important details like combat encounters or other gameplay mechanics, we can’t help but be excited about this release. The stage has been set, and all that’s left is for Paranormal Tales to stand true to its promises – which we hope it does in an effortless fashion.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.