Silent Hill revisits high school teen terror in Blumhouse’s ‘Fear The Spotlight’

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Image: Blumhouse Games

Blumhouse Productions burst onto the scene in 2009 as a major brand in the horror film world. The studio has been operating since 2002, but Paranormal activity put it on the map. Using a home camera to create something that seemed much older than it actually was reignited interest in the ‘found footage’ genre a decade later The Blair Witch Project.

Today, Blumhouse Productions is a juggler in the film industry with names like Insidious, Get out, The purgeAnd Five nights at Freddy’s under its belt. So when the studio announced a video game division for late 2023, we were pretty excited. We didn’t hear anything from Blumhouse Games until Summer Game Festival 2024, but the wait was definitely worth it. And the highlight for us? Afraid of the spotlightwill be available on Switch later this year.

Developed by Cozy Game Pals, a husband and wife team with game credits on The last of us, Undiscovered, Trip (Bryan), and art credits at Nickelodeon and more Cartoon people (Cristista). That’s a great resume, but their first video game, Fear the Spotlight, was unlike anything else they’d ever made.

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Image: Blumhouse Games

Blumhouse is keen to sell Fear the Spotlight as its “mission statement” of being a great story, with great characters, a sense of horror, and a low-budget feel. We got it right away when we sat down to play the short 20-minute demo (PC build) at Summer Game Fest 2024’s Play Days event. Sepia-toned visuals, video filters, and splashing raindrops windows set the tone for the perfect 90s inspired horror game. Main characters Vivian and Amy have flat faces, the entire game is low resolution and looks like something ordinary. came out on PS1.

Fear the Spotlight takes inspiration from the 90s era of horror games, specifically the word Silent hill; everything down to the menu system, fonts, text boxes, and flavor text when you examine objects in Sunnyside High (yes, that’s totally a reference to Buffy the vampire slayer) feels like it’s straight out of a classic Konami horror game. It’s all a bit of 90s chaos.

The premise is pretty simple – Vivian and her friend Amy sneak into their school to perform a seance. As you’d expect, things don’t go well and they get separated. The demo covers the beginning of the game, from when the girls enter the school until the couple reunites. Vivian can run, crouch, and interact with shiny objects, and there are some light puzzles to solve along the way. Creepy, worrying Horror is the name of the game here – jumpscare is basically out of the question. There was nothing that made us jump, but we had butterflies in our stomachs the whole time.

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Image: Blumhouse Games

Part of it is the sound. Between the rain and wind outside and the echoing footsteps of the girls throughout the school, that sound was resounding. the The driving force behind the game’s tension. The girls still share moments of cheeky banter, gossip about other students or Vivian doubting Amy’s superstition, but the atmosphere is unmatched.

This is especially striking at two moments. First, the girls walk through a pair of double doors only to discover a flashlight. Taking control of Vivian, you crouch down and hide behind a table. The camera zooms in just behind her shoulder and you can hear her shaky breaths as they watch the flashlight illuminate the floor. The second instance was after the girls used the Ouija board, where Amy disappeared. You guide Vivian back to the school library to find her friends, but when you enter a large room, you hear what sounds like footsteps. As you move, the sound gets louder and Vivian’s silhouette, affected by the dim lights on the wall, also changes. We panic. We looked around the room to make sure we weren’t being followed and started running. However, we found the culprit behind the noise; Books slowly fell out of the collapsed bookcase. Phew.

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Image: Blumhouse Games

These moments truly capture the small-town teenage terror that Fear the Spotlight aims to recreate. When this writer was a teenager, her friends were always talking about scary stories, using psychic boards, and watching movies that we absolutely should not watch. This is exactly that vibe.

Our favorite thing about Fear the Spotlight is all the little extra details. Examining the items adds flavor text to the school and to Vivian as a character. A letter suggests that she has a crush on her best friend, while school portraits remind her of moments of being bullied or upset. The developers have really gone to great lengths to recreate the kind of horror experience we played in the 90s, while creating an adventure we’ll all love. think we wanted to experience as teenagers.

20 minutes doesn’t tell us much more than we already expected, but it does confirm that Fear the Spotlight is yet another horror title – along with the recent title. crow land – it fits perfectly into the PS1-era polygonal style, along with all the surprises that come with it. Shaky arm movements and flat lip flaps. And the lighting is very effective, although a bit dark at times – we lost Amy at one point in the demo because of poor lighting and ended up having to walk around the main library room several times just trying to find her. she.

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Image: Blumhouse Games

What’s interesting is Afraid of the Spotlight Have was released on PC but was only on sale for a few weeks before being removed from Steam for developers to make improvements. It turns out those innovations are about much more than that – backed by a publisher like Blumhouse, which wants to deliver low-budget independent productions that create strange stories that are likely to make people confused. It also makes the game available to a wider audience, and that’s better for everyone.

We look forward to highlighting Fear the Spotlight when it launches later in 2024 on Switch. Let us know what you think of the game so far in the comments section.


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