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Hands on with Fade to Silence at PAX East

While walking the show floor yesterday at PAX, I found myself fascinated by the visuals of a game. A large, brutish, and fur wrapped protagonist in a snow-covered wasteland was fighting for his life against some corruption spreading purple fungus/tentacled monster. There were swords and bows and sled dogs and I had to see more.

The game, Fade to Silence from Black Forest Games and THQ Nordic, has been out on Steam as an early access title for a while now – but as I am still predominately a console player this is the first I’d seen of it. As far as plot is concerned – I’m not 100% sure what’s happening yet, but I get the basic gist. The world has moved on from our current state. Something has destroyed everything we know and trapped us all in an endless winter. Survivors band together to stay alive, and to fight back against the weird Cthulhuian horrors that spread their bulbous fungus pods to further corrupt the world.

You play as Ash – the leader of a small group, and the mayor of sorts of a the small settlement they all live in. You’re tasked with venturing out into the wilderness to gather supplies so your group can stay alive. When Ash is outside the shelter of camp, he has to deal with survival aspects, like cold and stamina, as well as the eldritch horrors that the world now creates. The developer I was speaking with said that the balance of fighting creatures and fighting the environment is the sweet spot where the game exists, and I found myself in many cases more concerned with the weather’s shift than with the creepy monster ahead of me. When I asked if the day/night cycle in-game also made the cold’s survivability worse, there was mention of a blizzard – a complete game changer, that you’ll be lucky to survive.

The other curious tidbit I picked up in that conversation – is that there will be a permadeath difficulty option, with an almost roguelike feel to it. The expectation is that a full wipe/death is generally going to happen once or twice in the game – but the carry over of items and experiences to a new game + type function means that the early areas will be much less difficult, letting you overtake your progress fairly easily.

Speaking further to the developers, the game is set for its official full release, including Xbox and PS4 on April 30th, 2019. There’s still some polishing to do, as there were a few pieces of frame-rate judders and oddities, but overall the game feels decent, and looks interesting.

I’m curious about this one. This could be a compelling survival horror game mixed with an open world narrative game, and if done correctly, could be a great entry for either. I want to learn more about how the world got corrupted, how the humans plan for survival, and just what those beasties are. For more info, check out the game’s official page here, and on Steam in early access.

 

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