Daylight on PS4: The Power of the Unknown

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Daylight on PS4: The Power of the Unknown

In an age of horror games with carefully crafted scares and achingly detailed environments, Zombie Studios is trying something new with its upcoming horror game, Daylight. Players awake inside an abandoned hospital, with only the light of their cellphone to guide them through the thick black. But unlike other horror games, Daylight changes every time you play.

To better understand Daylight, and the scares within, we asked Zombie Studios Creative Director Andre Maguire to explain how the game came together and why procedurally generated scares give the horror genre a shot in the arm. Maguire also tells us about developing on PS4, and what inspirations fueled the team members in their creative process.

Daylight is tentatively scheduled to launch in early 2014.

Daylight Art

PlayStation.Blog: What inspired the team at Zombie Studios to develop a hardcore horror title like Daylight, especially following successful first-person shooters such as Blacklight?

Andre Maguire: We love the horror genre, and we wanted to try and create a game that would be scary every time you played it. We knew that we had something special with Unreal Engine 4, and the ability to procedurally generate environments and scary content, so it just made sense. What scares people is the unknown, and with this game, you really never know what’s lurking around the next corner.

PSB: What’s it like developing for PS4? What opportunities does PS4 provide that you can’t get elsewhere?

Maguire: Developing for PS4 is amazing — combined with UE4, it’s the perfect match. The controller is incredibly high quality, which is great for a first-person game experience. We’re finding that players just feel that much more connected to the game world with it, which is great for horror.

The Share feature is fun, too. Players can capture their best scares in Daylight and share them out to their friends with a touch of a button. We’re excited by how it’s all coming together.

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PSB: What’s your take on the current state of horror games, and how do you see Daylight adding to the genre?

Maguire: The procedural creation of content in Daylight is where we’re trying something new for the genre. This approach allows for a massive amount of replayability, without feeling like you’re experiencing the same scary moments over and over. This is another reason why it’s so cool to develop for PS4. The additional horsepower has opened up quite a few opportunities for us!

PSB: Is it challenging to create procedurally generated worlds, especially in a genre where controlled scares are so critical? How does the team maintain control of the tension?

Maguire: The procedural environment actually helps us quite a bit in terms of tension. A core part of the gameplay will be to learn the layouts of the environments, which will be different every time. Combine that with the story and characters we’re developing, and the tension is going to shoot through the roof.

PSB: What did the team learn from past projects that applies to the development of Daylight?

Maguire: Zombie Studios has been developing games for nearly 20 years now. There’s a ton of experience to draw from and really, every project has been invaluable in terms of developing our process and making better and better games. Daylight is the culmination of all that experience.

PSB: How does the main character’s cell phone fit in during play? How does it influence the rest of Daylight’s design?

Maguire: Daylight is a modern-day game, so we thought the cell phone made sense. Initially, the cell phone functions like you’d expect, but, later, it becomes much more significant in terms of gameplay. It’ll be used as a light source, a way to map out the environments, and as a communications device. It’s going to fit nicely with the procedural environments in Daylight.

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PSB: What were the team’s experiences working alongside writer Jessica Chobot? How did Zombie Studios come into that collaboration?

Maguire: Jessica is awesome! The partnership started kind of by accident. We needed a writer, and she was interested in doing a next-gen horror. After a few discussions about tone and how we were going to go about the gameplay, it seemed like a great fit. We put together a prototype and she put together a story treatment, and it just worked.

PSB: Does the team have a “favorite” horror game that they look to for the best scares? How are they trying to match/overcome it?

Maguire: Certainly the Silent Hill games were awesome; the System Shock and BioShock games were amazing as well. Horror games that have great “world stories” in addition to the character stories are always a plus. It may be fair to say we skew a bit more toward the psychological horror side of things in terms of our preferences. We love so many horror games, though, it’s difficult to choose just one.

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  • An article on the PS Blog written by Clements that talks about Chobot. The IGN invasion in complete. BEYOND! :-)

  • I can’t wait to play this! I love psychological survival horror! I love this return of REAL survival HORROR games! ^_^

  • I agree with what Maguire said in this article, Jessica Chobot is awesome! ^_Q

  • This game does look awesome! Hope it’s exclusive to PS4 forever! Oh and paulogy, that would suck if IGN invaded this blog site. They’d make articles about how great the Xbox One is over the PS4 just to drive sales for Microsoft, just look at the daily fix for 10/9/13! They are blatantly trying to sell that blasted device!

  • Amazing, but scary.

    I ll not play this xD maybe my girlfriend will. She likes it xD

  • for some reason im not feeling attached to cross platform games (ps4/ps3) ill just buy those who are made from the ground up for ps4. so KZ SF will be the first game on my ps4.

  • I would love to play this with VR goggles/headset. Please Sony make this happen! Thanks.

  • One of my most anticipated PS4 games for sure. I frighten easily but I just can’t resist horror games!

  • I guess this is only first person… too bad. It sounds interesting, if only people would lose this first person obsession they seem to have lately. :(

  • I love how indie games have actual scary horror games, not just point n shoot action with monsters.

  • Does the battery in the cell phone run out during the game? Would make it more scary if it did

  • 37 Days till greatness arrives.

  • I love psychological horror and thriller films in the vein of Memento and Identity. Things where something is amiss, but you can’t quite put your finger on it and it just leaves a state of unease with you. So, I’m really looking forward to this and have high hopes for a cerebral experience and less of a “Boogie Woogie!” jump-fest.

  • I really waiting for this game! Jessica is awesome! =)

  • Didnt this game make pictures from the player @ the scary moments with the PSEye?
    This **** is gonna be amazing, especialy when my gf plays it. Would be fun to watch to see her freak out.

  • I am very excited for this game, along with Outlast. I don’t play on PC so I never got to play horror games like this. I badly want Amnesia to join the PS family. But Daylight should be enough to scare the hell out of me. Day one.

  • Will Daylight be available Day 1 on PS4?

  • It will be interesting to see if this can bring it like the Dead Space series.

  • Been following this game for a long time thank you Ryan for the info can’t wait for it to hit PS4

  • I Heard they will be having PS4 at home depot i was wondering if this was true? and if it was then were at?

  • Definitely have this on my list of games I want for PS4. This, The Witness, Contrast, Galak-Z, and Octodad are all games I won’t even wait for PS+. These are the games that will hopefully tide me over until the big AAA releases in the second half of 2014. Hopefully, none of them will be ‘break-the-bank’ in terms of cost, but they all look very high quality, and fun!

  • It would be *awesome* if the cel phone in-game was mapped to a “second screen” device like a Vita. Seeing the same display on my actual phone/Vita, and having the in-game phone map 1:1 with my device’s physical orientation would be mind-blowing.

    It might complicate the controls a little, but it would also be a great hook for co-op play: one person with the DS4, the other holding the second screen device.

    pllllease tell me you’ll be doing this!

    Have you guys mentioned the composer yet? will the music and ambient assets be HD audio? one of my biggest disappointments with Dead Space on PS3 was how muddy/crappy all the audio was. (Dead Space 2 was an improvement, but still lacked dynamic range and had distorted high-end.)

  • This is coming for PS3 as well…is that about right?….I remember an article saying this…well if yes then I’m very interested and I’ll buy for sure…the game looks scary enough to get my expectations high….hope it delivers some tension.But if its PS4 only them I’m out and so is my interest.

  • Wait, there was a small budget indie horror game called Vanquish that used a procedurally generated structure, and I believe it was created back in 2010. I don’t think you guys are really adding anything to the genre, no offense.

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