By the looks of the trailer, John Carpenter's cult classic (sadly overshadowed by Spielberg's E.T at the time) seems to be the obvious inspiration to the game. The developers whose previous release was The Novelist - a beautiful choice-driven dramatic game about an Ethereal's introspective into Human quality, have also agreed upon this statement in an interview.
Served in a platter full of eye-blinding atmospheric snow, icing graphics, flickering lights & informational posters, Near Death will abandon you in a research facility established in the 1950s with all the imperfect conditions for survival - an incredible blizzard & subzero temperatures. Alone and barely alive, you will have to make do in this forsaken landmass through exploration and gathered tools.
A harsher version of games like 'The Long Dark', the player must act quickly before hypothermia takes over and the body loses basic motor skills. It's not just outside that you're fighting, apparently real-time temperature simulation is one another deadly feature of the game. This makes it difficult even inside the station. Doors, windows and other interact-able objects could freeze unless you go around constantly across multiple rooms barricading & defrosting them regularly using available tools such as a blowtorch. There's also a basic crafting system to make light poles and other upgrades. Speaking of tools, you can zero in on a spot that you find sturdy and turn it into a safe zone with necessary repairs. This is possible when you discover blueprints. Every room in the station has its own specialty. The style and arrangement of the floor plan has an impact on the dropping temperatures and ice build-up.
A dynamic weather system means the player will be exposed to various levels of snow, storms and lightings ; a way to conjure up the image of an alluring yet deadly Antarctic. Leaving a door open is unwise and if you're lucky enough, you might spot the main power system of the now defunct base.
Near Death started as something else and dwelled into a territory of love for 'extreme environment and terror moments' after the developers held talks with actual Antarctic scientists and explorers. From here, it was decided that the game should be an 'immersive experience' and not just another survival game.
During exploration, players will have access to heaters that can be utilized to create so-called 'pockets of warmth'. Searching for fuel becomes a very important part of the gameplay. Given the hostile conditions, you'll mark trails with lights and ropes to find your way back. Much like the Karnaca district in Dishonored 2, whiteouts will block visuals. Zero visibility inhibits movement.
Sutro Station is the open world research station through which you'll navigate through. Like any other game, certain areas of the station open up only with progress. Loneliness will push you through these lovey-dovey snow animations of death while Hope will help you prolong until you get help from across the continent.
The journey will be a treacherous spectacle ranging from brief moments of calm to raging winds and blinding whiteouts. This experience will be further amplified by an original score of haunting ambient music.
The Thing & Near Death share the same time period and location. The Thing is about a group paranoid and scared shitless about who is what and what is 'The Thing'. In Near Death, it's just you and your mind. Your plane is crashed. You're in the Dark continent. Somewhere nearby is an abandoned research station. You make contact with home base through a teletype. You grow weak as you wait. But the storm outside gets stronger.
Just one more week to go!! NEAR DEATH arrives on the 2nd of August,2016 for Windows, Mac and Linux
Previous article : A few days ago,I wrote a post about this exciting new independent sci-fi game about an astronaut trapped in a retro-futurist style space station with nobody else but an A.I. It will be releasing in the next two months. You need to read it if you're into games like Soma, Zork and movies like Moon and Kubrick's Space Odyssey.