Game Rant gets a preview of the upcoming Friday the 13th: The Game, which abandons the ability for a traditional win system in favor of embracing the need to simply survive.
As far as movie tie-in games go, there isn't exactly a solid track record. The quality of these titles is often poor as the result of both a lacklustre budget and severe time constraints. However, every once in a while a team passionate and talented enough makes something great that properly honors the property it has been tasked with making playable. Having said that, and acknowledging that it's still too early to make a firm judgement call, it's looking like Friday the 13th: The Game could very well end up being just such an exception.
Based on the horror movie franchise of the same name, Friday the 13th: The Game originally took to Kickstarter in order to receive funding from fans – and consumers supported the title in a big way. After going dark for several months following its successfully crowd funding campaign, the studio working on the project, Gun Media, finally pulled the curtain back on a very early build of the title. Game Rant was invited to catch a glimpse of the game during E3 2016, and while it admittedly looked a little wonky during a handful of animations (the build on display was an early alpha), there's still a lot of promise present in the early goings.
The co-creator of the video game adaptation of Friday the 13th, Gun Media's Wes Keltner, gave me a brief walkthrough of everything that was occurring on-screen. The demo started with a glimpse of Jason sombrely walking around as a player-controlled character in the all too familiar Higgin's Haven, an area straight out of Friday the 13th Part III. A spectacular job has been done on making this environment as true to the original film as possible, and fans of the series are sure to be in awe of it.
Setting aside the splendid rendition of an iconic killing ground, the gameplay itself is what makes the title sound the most captivating. As is often the case within any of the films, Jason Vorhees is an unstoppable murder machine. However, this cinematic formula isn't something that sounds like it would lend itself well to a video game. Someone apparently forgot to tell Gun Media this though, as it's the exact philosophy that the developer is fully embracing with its upcoming release.
What this means is that the individual suited up as Jason will be intentionally overpowered, leaving gamers in the role of camp councillor to do whatever it takes to simply survive. Tragically for them, the machete-wielding maniac is capable of teleporting, seeing audio cues on-screen, detecting nearby campers through obstacles, and even entering a rage mode that makes the killer nearly indestructible. These attacks do have a recharge time, but all campers can do throughout their session is run or hide from the mass murderer, and there's simply no telling when or where Vorhees will show up thanks to his wide selection of abilities.
Teaming up to barricade themselves into a cabin or escape in a car/boat with other users are viable tactics, but they will only be options if players can avoid being taken apart by Jason from the get-go. Even then, there's no guarantee of safety, and there will almost undoubtedly come points when campers will have to decide whether or not they're going to try to help their friend or save themselves. Jason is a near unstoppable force, and there will almost certainly be casualties with every round. Things are tilted severely in has favor, after all.
Better yet, there's no winner or loser when a round ends. Instead, stats will pop up on the screen to inform councillors of how well they did at not being slaughtered, and the same will occur for those wondering how splendid of a job Jason did at murdering hapless teenagers. It's not about kill/death ratios in Friday the 13th, it's all about surviving the night and/or escaping a haunting area like Camp Crystal Lake.
The most interesting mechanic by far, however, is the panic factor that's built in to every single councillor. As Jason gets spotted peering through windows, emerging from the darkness, or brutally murdering another player, the campers will understandably start breaking into a panic – making it that much easier for them to be tracked. This isn't viewable in a meter either, as Keltner and the rest of his team have opted to go for visual cues, body language, and horrified screams to fully immerse fans in the experience.
Friday the 13th: The Game is trying to capture the spirit of the films, and at this point in time it seems to do that rather convincingly. Whether or not that vision is fully realized upon its final release remains to be seen, but Jason Vorhees looks to finally be getting a video game worthy of his masked-legacy.
Friday the 13th: The Game is set to arrive for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in October 2016.