Let’s not split hairs here. Host (review) is one of the best horror films of the last twelve months, taking the current situation that is Pandemia and turning it into a found footage film by proxy. Framing the film within the video conferencing app Zoom, it takes a tried and true trope like a seance and turns it into a genuinely inventive and equally terrifying yarn, and clocks in at under an hour all the while.
After the overnight success of the film, many wondered what would be next for the crew behind it, and while a video game would not have been my first guess, this one sounds like a scary good time. The film’s writer Jed Shepherd has announced via his Twitter a partnership with Visible Games and Limited Run Games, as well as Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (yes, that Jim Henson) entitled GHOSTS, which Shepherd himself describes as a “real-time, live-action horror game” in the vein of FMV horror classics like Phantasmagoria and Night Trap.
The game stars the group from Host, including Haley Bishop, Radina Drandova, Jemma Moore, Caroline Ward, and Emma Louise Webb. This time, however, instead of dealing with an evil spirit they may or may not have invited into the call themselves, they’re fighting off The Long Lady, whose design has been engineered by Trevor Henderson, best known for designing Siren Head, and will be brought to life by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (again, yes, THAT Jim Henson).
Here’s the full synopsis on GHOSTS, which is currently slated for an early 2022 release.
You play a TV producer, operating the outside broadcast van for a failing cable channel called FrighTV. Their flagship show is GHOSTS. It’s the only thing people want to watch on the channel anymore. A show that in its heyday captured millions of viewers on a major channel. Viewers were glued to their screens as the presenter with a team of eager ghost hunters explored haunted locations around the country.
Over the years, GHOSTS ratings began to drop which ultimately resulted in the show being dropped by the network and languishing on various freeview channels until it was purchased by FrighTV and re-branded for re-launch in 2022. The channel is littered with terrible adverts and trailers for movies you’ve never heard of and never want to watch.
As the cast explore the location, you not only need to worry about their safety, the noises you hear around the van and the strange neighbours, there’s also the urban legend of THE LONG LADY. Sightings of THE LONG LADY on this very street have chilled the bones of residents for decades. She appears in times of tragedy, looking through the windows of houses on the street. It’s said that if you look directly at her face, you die. Curtain salesmen do gangbusters here.
You are the outside broadcast producer, in charge of what is shown to the viewers at home who have remained loyal to the show throughout all the lean years. The show is LIVE so you have to think on your feet and react to every moment to keep things interesting. In front of you will be all of the camera feeds streaming from cameras installed in the most haunted location in London as well as heart rate monitors for the cast. What gets sent to the LIVE feed is your choice and can affect the future of the show (and perhaps the safety of the cast). You need to keep the show entertaining and you will have various tricks to employ to help you ‘spice up’ the live show.
You also have various documents, videos and audio files, collected throughout the years from this local community that you need to decipher to help understand the grave situation. Perhaps something you discover will stop the horrifying events from unfolding.
The full terrifying real-time version of the game is only playable at 10pm in your local time zone. If you load up the game before 10pm you’ll be met with a classic test card. If you can crack the ‘test’ you will have access to an unlockable pre-watershed version where you can breathe and save your progress, but once you hit 10pm all bets are off! There are consequences for all of your choices though. Playing it safe is not always the best option.
When playing GHOSTS, if you leave your station at any point, the game notices the lack of movement and it will end your session. Desertion of duty means the cast will be killed off. You are responsible for the lives of all involved so make sure you’ve had a bathroom break, got plenty of snacks and most importantly turn off the lights!
Pre-order the game by backing the project here, and check out the full trailer below: