I don’t remember being afraid of much when I was a kid. When I was five, I begged my mom to let me see the 3D release of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; I loved every moment of it and watched without a flinch. For Halloween, I was never a princess or a fairy; I was always something scary. I loved to be scared and embraced it, until I realized I was afraid of clowns and then later I became afraid of those creepy ass porcelain dolls—maybe just dolls in general; dolls have no souls and they just stare at you with wide death eyes.
The point I’m getting at is everyone—even I—had childhood fears, and sometimes those fears linger on through adulthood (clowns, no one likes clowns). Game Studio 78 has taken the fears and phobias we had as kids and used them to create a story- and character-driven adventure game called Hush.
You play as Ashlyn, a little girl who is trapped in a demented orphanage. She must build up her courage to overcome her fears and escape. With the help of her best friend (a stuffed animal named GoGo) and various toys she finds on her adventure, you will have to hack and slash your way through enemies. Because the developers want to challenge its players, hacking and slashing won’t always work. Sometimes players will have to use a mix of strategy and stealth to take down a difficult enemy.
Ashlyn’s courage plays an important part in this game. With enough courage, she can defeat mighty foes; however, if her courage is too low, she will panic, which will force you to hide or even faint. Along with the status bar, sound is also an indicator of how much courage you have. Solving challenging puzzles will help Ashlyn progress through each level. Unlocking new routes to avoid dangers and cracking codes to unlock vital items will greatly help Ashlyn gain more courage.
To ensure Hush receives the dedication and attention fans deserve, developers will adopt the episodic format. Each episode is divided into chapters representing a different fear that Ashlyn must overcome: “Fear of the Dark,” “Fear of Thunder,” and “Fear of Ghosts” will be the first three chapters for episode one. Other episodes will include fears like clowns, spiders, heights, etc.
The creatures you have to face will be unique to each fear: “Fear of Thunder” will pit you against highly volatile automatons with a paralyzing ruckus, while “Fear of Ghosts” will force you to fight an evil kid-mastermind and his ghostly minions. Boss battles will pit you against enemies whom embody their correlating fear in the most terrifying way. Ashlyn’s stuffed best friend won’t be enough for the most dangerous battles, thus players will find various toy weapons that tie in with the chapter. Using experience, players will be able to upgrade and improve their weapons.
With influences from Alice: Madness Returns, Game Studio 78 wants to make sure players can relate to Ashlyn’s fears and journey to overcome them. Despite its kiddie-cartoon graphics, Hush will not be for the little ones; the sharp contrast between whimsy and horror makes this game more than a child’s fantasy.
With the help of its Indiegogo campaign, Game Studio 78 hopes to release the first episode in late 2014 on all platforms, including mobile. You can learn more about the developers on their website and check out more of their Hush artwork in the gallery.