Shawn Layden, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, spoke for everyone when he said that the first 60 minutes of Sony’s E3 2017 presentation were a wild ride. He was right, but it was a gross understatement. The company sent out a brigade of incredibly looking titles, from Destiny 2 to Final Fantasy 15 and the eerie Detroit: Become Human. Standing amongst the line-up was something as special as it is spooky: Supermassive Games’ The Inpatient, a virtual reality horror title heading to the PSVR via the PlayStation 4.
The Inpatient was announced in a wicked first-person cinematic trailer that featured toe-tapping music coming from an old-school radio, a psychologist named Jefferson Bragg who looks almost too similar to Sigmund Freud, and a dated sanatorium that quickly turns from warmly lit and dusty to dark and menacing. Set in a 1950s mental asylum called the Blackwood Sanatorium, The Inpatient follows the eponymous character suffering from amensia as they either battle to break the chains that wrongfully bind them, or overcome the demons that truly plague them.
The Inpatient doesn’t hold back, starting with an interrogation session delivered by Bragg himself, who’s the owner of Blackwood Sanatorium. Bragg insists he’s trying to help the protagonist, but how much can players trust him? What follows is a journey through the depths of Blackwood and the central character’s own mind as they try to remember who they are and why they’re stuck in the asylum.
The moment the trailer was unveiled, viewers noted that Supermassive Games’ newest title seemed to make use of the same asylum that appeared in 2015’s Until Dawn — a clue that could hint at a shared universe. It was a connection definitely made sense, as both Until Dawn and The Inpatient were developed by the United Kingdom-based company and feature similar psychological and supernatural horror beats. Shortly after the Sony presentaion wrapped, game director Nik Bowen confirmed the speculation. “Anyone familiar with Until Dawn will recognize the imposing sanatorium but this time you’ll see everything as it was during its 1950s heyday,” Bowen stated.
But players don’t have to be Until Dawn experts to find The Inpatient satisfying. The games share the iconic sanatorium, but the forthcoming title is a total standalone with an all-new narrative and a fresh pack of characters to meet. Additionally, The Inpatient will push boundaries of the psychological horror genre and allow players to insert themselves directly into gameplay.
“We’ve designed everything so that it really feels like you are in the game. If you look down you’ll see your body, hands and feet. You can also speak out loud to engage with the characters,” explained Bowen. “We used… themes to infiltrate the player’s subconscious and draw them further into the story. Our team spent a lot of time working to create a sense of isolation and fear, making extensive use of immersive 3D binaural audio to complement the amazing visuals and further transport them into their unfamiliar new home.”
Supermassive Games is also hard at work on a social game called Hidden Agenda and a shooter entitled Bravo Team, but The Inpatient really stole the show at Sony’s E3 conference. The developer didn’t confirm (or even comment on) a possible release date or debut window for The Inpatient, but fans will likely hear more in the near future. And with Until Dawn scripters Larry Fessenden and Graham Reznick aboard the developing project, any Inpatient news that breaks is bound to be good.
The Inpatient is currently in development for the PlayStation 4.