The award-winning studio behind Dreamfall: Chapters is bringing Draugen to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Walking simulators have come a long way since Dear Esther in 2012 and Gone Home in 2013, haven’t they? (And for the record, we still think “first-person snooper” is a better genre descriptor than “walking simulator”.)
Static environments with no animated characters serve an obvious benefit: they save money. Animating humanoid models takes time, and in game development, time costs money. Whereas having written clues and voice-over exposition is (relatively) inexpensive.
But over the years, things have changed. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (2015) features incredibly detailed environments and animated entities of light. Firewatch (2016) features a fully-animated and voiced protagonist, Henry, with a responsive and conversational voice on the other end of the radio. Tacoma (2017) still has you snooping very much after the fact, but events play out through animated holograms of the space station’s inhabitants.
The next logical step is for embodied, animated, voiced companions. Gone are the days of the disembodied guide on the radio. We want to see who we’re with. And with the postponement of In the Valley of the Gods, Norwegian noir mystery Draugen is your next best bet.
Developed by Red Thread Games, the award-winning studio behind Dreamfall Chapters, Draugen released on PC last year. Set around the picturesque Fjords in 1920s Norway, Edward is searching the titular village looking for his missing sister. The protagonist is joined by Lizzie, a cheery and energetic companion, as they work to uncover the mysteries buried in Draugen.
There’s just something really pleasing about going on an adventure like this and not feeling alone, like Alyx in Half-Life 2, or Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite.
Following its success on PC in 2019, Draugen is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next month. The game will be enhanced for both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, and releases on February 21, 2020.