Bloober Team’s paint-horror pile-up Layers of Fear (née Layers of Fears) comes out in June, but the studio’s put out an 11-minute gameplay trailer to whet your whistle before then. A compilation and “reimagining” of the original two Layers of Fear games (plus their DLC), Bloober Team promises a “crowning work” that “casts an overarching narrative over the entire franchise”. So nothing too lofty, then.
This is the longest gameplay sequence we’ve seen yet, and it provides a thorough look at the myriad graphical frills that Bloober is bolting on to this new version of the original games, like “Lumen, Ray Tracing, HDR, volumetric lighting, and Niagara”. Niagara is the name for Unreal Engine 5’s fancy fluid-simulation tech (though there’s not actually that much fluid simulation happening in the trailer, so what the hell), and Lumen is its lighting and reflection system—the technology that makes the game’s lantern so glowy.
Bloober Team is actually making quite a fuss about that lantern, which it calls one of the “new core gameplay mechanics that elevate and expand the player’s experience” over the original games. It will “prove essential in confronting the fears that lurk within the game’s story,” and, indeed, we see a prompt informing the player how to defend themselves with the lantern in the trailer.
I’m not entirely sure if that just means shining a light on enemies and making them fizzle away, or if you’ll actually be smashing unnameable horrors over the head with a lamp. I hope it’s the second one, though.
Layers of Fear won’t be a straight remaster/remake of the original two games. While it features all their content, it’s also adding in a brand new chapter called “The Final Note” that will provide an “alternate perspective on the first game’s storyline,” as well as “introduce the never-before-told story of The Writer, a harrowing tale that ties each entry in the series together”.
PCGamer didn’t fall in love with either of the original games around there. James Davenport scored the original 64% in his Layers of Fear review, and Robert Zak went even lower for the sequel, scoring 57% in his Layers of Fear 2’s review. Perhaps the studio has learned enough in the last few years to pull it off this time, but I’m staying cautious until the game releases in a few months. If you want to keep track of it before then, you can find it over on Steam and the Epic Games Store, and don’t forget Green Man Gaming for a discounted version when it releases.