Previously, I wrote a review of Playdead’s award winning platform adventure ‘Limbo’. I would like to continue with this intrigue in indie gaming by drawing your attention to ‘INSIDE’, Playdead’s new to-be- released three-dimensional platform game.
An exciting hint at the game comes from the atmospherically dense trailer that the developers have released. The trailer is focused on a young child traversing through a harsh prison-like environment and dressed in a red garment; dissimilarly to Limbo’s protagonist who is drenched in the pure black of the games noir setting. A tonal desaturation of the landscape and environment is seemingly idiosyncratic of Playdead’s aesthetic style, as the trailer demonstrates eloquently.
With this subtle introduction of colour (moving away from the pure noir of Limbo, but continuing with its murky haziness) it allows for the playable character to protrude from the landscape, to inhabit the murky setting of the game with an alluring presence.
Unlike Limbo, where the main character blends in with the landscape, the design of the apparent protagonist here has clearly diverted from a flat rendering both visually and characteristically, to embody the contemporary styling of a three-dimensional platformer. The anonymity of the character that we are familiar with from Limbo is less apparent here, this new character seems to have more substance and more personality, even from this short clip.
As the trailer depicts, INSIDE is a three-dimensional platform game that is defined by a style of visual perspective and depth, a characteristic that is becoming more popular in many modern platform games.
Graphically, the game retains the minimal idiosyncrasies of the ‘retro’ design and aesthetic that is emerging amongst popular games such as Minecraft and so on, alternatively demonstrating more reductive styling, again in order to hone in on the main character, this being a difficult thing to achieve in a platform game, especially one that lacks dialogue.
One feature I have noticed from the trailer is the background and foreground are merged together, providing the player with restricted interactive boundaries that aren’t visually distracting, ultimately offering a more of a natural flow to the game.
The sounds used in Limbo, from the soundtrack (a dark drone that matched the visual aesthetic of the game) to the puncturing abruptness of the in-game noises, are matched in the trailer for INSIDE with a steady yet pounding marching noise, which raises the tension as we follow the character traverse the perilous landscape.
Artistic creativity in the gaming industry is becoming more prominent, not that it’s been devoid of it before, but I find that certain games are being simplified in terms of the storyline and it’s content in order to emphasise aesthetics and symbolism; likewise other games are reducing the visual activity in order to subliminally communicate more sensitive or sophisticated messages. For example, in INSIDE the desaturation of the environment directs focus to the playable character, drawing attention to the value of the character’s existence in the game.
INSIDE delivers elements of mystery, tension, adventure and curiosity, delivered brilliantly in the compact and exciting trailer. The sheer anticipation of the climactic scene builds up to an inexplicably mysterious event, leaving the viewer in anticipation; the build up includes a moment where the child joins the anonymous group of people, those whom are pressed against an opaque window, in-fact, so captivated by an unknown entity, they ignore the child.
The game is still in development, so I’m sure there are many more features to discuss when the game is released.
INSIDE will make its anticipated debut on Xbox in early 2015. Given the success of Limbo, I’d like to think that it will move onto other platforms like iOS and Android soon after.