Halloween is the right time for many any survival horror recreation to launch. Newly minted Canadian studio Brass Token is launching their supernatural survival horror recreation The Chant in the course of the week of Halloween, on November 3. Forward of this launch, they invited PlayStation LifeStyle to their nook of Vancouver, Canada to take a peek at their studio and spend a little bit of time enjoying their debut recreation. Learn all about our time on a mysterious island under in our The Chant preview.
Scrappy startup vibes
Nestled away in a busy industrial space in Vancouver Canada, the scrappy startup Brass Token describes their workforce as “a lean studio with a mighty imaginative and prescient to be a premiere boutique developer of story-driven motion video games for PC and console.” With a complete everlasting workers measurement of 19, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a tighter-knit group of individuals aiming so excessive with regards to a debut title.
Certainly, we got a short tour of the studio, and there wasn’t an entire lot to see – the corporate has taken a hybrid strategy to work with the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such just a few builders have been within the workplace, with their computer systems stationed alongside the home windows on the again wall, and one room with a door featured whiteboarding and early idea artwork for The Chant.
Behind one other door, Brass Token has taken the extra conventional improvement cost-saving route of constructing out their very own motion-capture and recording sales space inside their studio. The room featured massive chunks of sound padding adorning the partitions, and a few stations the place gamers may isolate themselves as they take a look at out the sport. It was at one in all these stations that I used to be capable of get my first sampling of The Chant.
Battle, flee, GO CrAzY?!
The demo began me out at Chapter 3 of the story, and as such, we weren’t proven the total setup of the story’s premise. In The Chant, you play as Jess Briars, a lady with a longtime profession in biomedicine. She had some type of traumatic occasion which drove her aside from her finest buddy, Kim, who has now invited her to come back out to Glory Island for a non secular retreat.
At this level within the story, the principle ritual has been accomplished, and it has opened everybody’s “third eye” to the horrors referred to as The Gloom, a psychedelic dimension that feeds off of destructive vitality. Fellow retreat member Sonny has been severely affected by the ritual, and has fled the world and run in direction of the native mines.
For the reason that demo came about after what would usually have been The Chant’s tutorial, I used to be thrust into non secular warfare with out a lot preparation. This was an odd alternative, however maybe the story is so tightly woven that it’s going to make extra sense as soon as the total recreation is launched. Most enemies look like some type of sentient flora, although there have been additionally large venomous toads to cope with in direction of the top of the demo. Additionally, though Jess is seemingly a median girl, she does have some instruments at her disposal. She will use sage sticks and craft different weapons to assault her enemies in varied methods, although some can’t be defeated and are finest averted.
As The Chant is not less than partially a psychological thriller, one enemy specifically appeared to manifest a few of Jess’ fears – it was made solely of flies, which she hates, and shouted insecurities she appeared to carry, thus messing along with her thoughts versus her physique. This enemy sauntered alongside in direction of Jess, and may very well be quickly shocked with a smudge stick, however finally needed to be run away from, not less than for now. Surprisingly, this enemy may even open doorways, solely lastly being warded off as soon as a sure marker was reached.
Steadiness in all issues
Jess has three well being bars, every regarding her present total well-being. Thoughts, Physique, and Spirit every get their very own standing stage, and whereas therapeutic might be carried out on every by utilizing a crystal with a press of the directional pad, holding a button can even commerce some Spirit well being for Thoughts. If Thoughts ever dips to zero, then Jess will endure a panic assault, which impacts how she will carry out in fight. If Physique ever hits zero, then she’s useless and the sport should be reloaded from a checkpoint. We didn’t see what occurs if Spirit hit zero, however this additionally has its personal penalties.
On the floor, the enigmatic chief of Prismic Science Tyler Anton invitations folks to his island in an effort to turn out to be the perfect, most woke up model of themselves. He speaks in a comfortable, thought of method, with some apparent affect from real-life cult chief Charles Manson. There are a whole lot of obscure messages of increasing your consciousness, peering into the unknown, and popping out a modified particular person. However there’s something interested in The Chant which can sign the reality behind Tyler: the quantity six might be seen all through the sport.
There are six foremost characters, six completely different crystals to make the most of, six places to discover, six issues to craft in a radial menu, and 6 chapters to the story. Even Jess’ three well being bars might be healed, however she will solely maintain two therapeutic gadgets per bar – three bars occasions two gadgets provides us six once more. There are in all probability extra issues inside The Chant that relate to this spiritually cursed quantity, but when so this can reveal itself upon the sport’s launch.
From a technical standpoint, Brass Token is aiming extremely excessive for a small studio. Unreal Engine 4 is getting used for The Chant, and they’re concentrating on current-generation consoles solely, along with PC. We performed on the only real PS5 unit accessible for testing, with a QA tester by our facet taking notes of our session that they may maybe use as suggestions to repair a number of remaining points earlier than launch.
There appeared to be a heavy deal with excessive manufacturing values, as is obvious in character modeling. A whole lot of work appears to have gone into pores and skin textures, as an example. I seen that one character’s bodily stress was accentuated by him being drenched with sweat, beads of which collected at varied spots on his face in a convincing method. Essential character Jess turned soiled as our demo progressed on, one thing her pores and skin acutely confirmed with varied patches of dust and different substances caked on the varied crevices that lined her face. With a tightly-controlled surroundings corresponding to an island and mines, maybe such a excessive manufacturing worth might be carried all through the journey.
As talked about, Brass Token has its personal custom-built movement seize room, and whereas we didn’t see anybody swimsuit as much as be recorded whereas we have been at their studio, we did check out the top digicam rigs the corporate appeared fairly happy with – bicycle or skateboarding helmets rigged up with steel casing, with a spot to mount a smartphone with which facial knowledge might be recorded, plus copious quantities of gaffer tape.
There’s a contagious sense of a do-it-yourself angle throughout the partitions of Brass Token, and everybody there appeared to genuinely wish to assist make the perfect product they probably may. CEO Mike Skupa previously of United Entrance Video games and Rockstar Video games appears to have assembled an achieved group of individuals all eagerly working in direction of a collective purpose.
The Chant has loads using on its success. As Brass Token’s debut title, some would say it has to succeed in an effort to assist the studio set up itself. Releasing simply after Halloween, this story-driven survival horror recreation appears to examine all of the packing containers to make for a enjoyable, scary recreation you’ll be able to play or watch others play by means of in a sitting or two over the weekend. Flip the lights off and the quantity as much as give your self a number of supernatural scares when The Chant launches on November 3, 2022 for the PS5, Xbox Sequence, and PC platforms.