Kono Hifumi, creator of the iconic Clock Tower series, unveils NightCry, a spiritual successor to his famous franchise that looks to bring true horror back to video games.
When the term “survival horror” is used, most gamers tend to think of Capcom’s beloved Resident Evil franchise. But while Resident Evil may have helped popularize the survival horror genre, it was far from the only scary game originating from the Land of the Rising Sun.
In fact, one of the most influential survival horror games actually launched on the Super Nintendo in 1995, a whole year before the infamous zombie shooter graced the PlayStation. Called Clock Tower, the gothic point-and-click horror game put players in the shoes of a defenseless orphan named Jennifer, tasked with surviving giant-scissor wielding midgets and death traps of all kinds.
While Clock Tower achieved moderate success in Japan, even earning itself two sequels and a spin-off, it never quite made the same splash abroad as Resident Evil (although Clock Tower 3 was dubbed one of the best horror games to play on Halloween). With Resident Evil turning into a boulder punching, zombie shoot-em-up, the survival horror genre is left without a true champion. But now, Clock Tower’s creator, Kono Hifumi, is returning with a new point-and-click horror game that seeks to remind gamers just what true horror video games are.
Hifumi, working with a veritable who’s-who of horror game development in the veteran studio Nude Maker (responsible for the cult classic mech simulator Steel Battalion), launched a Kickstarter campaign in January of 2015 for a Clock Tower spiritual sequel dubbed NightCry. The campaign showed off the game’s nightmarish concept art and featured glowing recommendations from big names in the Japanese gaming community, including Castlevania: Symphony of the Night director (and current Bloodstained director) Koji Igarashi and Ico and Shadow of the Colossus director Fumito Ueda. Hifumi promised that NightCry would follow in Clock Tower’s footsteps, with a new scissor-wielding antagonist dubbed the Scissor Walker, and an emphasis on survival via running and hiding, rather than the guns-out action that has come to dominate the survival horror genre.
The campaign netted a healthy $314,771, allowing Hifumi and Nude Maker to prepare a launch on Steam and Playism. While backers were kept apprised of the game’s progress, the big question on a release date seemed to linger. Nude Maker has said that the title is currently slated for a Spring 2016 release, but the studio has yet to provide a definitive release date for the game.
But while fans may wonder when exactly they’ll get to get their hands on NightCry, the recent alpha build of the game shows off a 3D throwback, tried-and-true point-and-click game, complete with laughably bad voiceovers that seemed to be a staple for 90’s horror titles.
With Hifumi and Nude Maker hard at work on making NightCry as scary as possible, fans of truly scary video games will be counting the days until the game’s anticipated Spring 2016 release.