Atari has announced a new episodic-based structure for the latest instalment in its survival horror series Alone in the Dark, offering distinct chapters with cinematic cliff-hanger endings.
The announcement echoes Capcom's efforts to revitalise the survival horror genre by switching the focus towards more intense action-based gameplay, as seen in the hugely acclaimed Resident Evil 4.
Rather than forcing players to set out on lengthy explorations and implementing a level design which plays out more like a full length movie, Atari is aiming to offer distinct chapters more akin to television series like 24 or Lost, which are decidedly more focused in structure and always end on a tense cliff-hanger to keep the audience gripped.
According to Alone in the Dark's game director, David Nadal of Eden Games, the new structure will keep players "permanently hooked into the engrossing story surrounding the mysteries of Central Park and beyond".
The developer is anticipating that each distinctive chapter will contain approximately 30-40 minutes of gameplay, ending with a cinematic sequence and a "what's next" teaser. By loading a saved game, players will be treated to a brief cinematic summary of the events of the previous chapter, in a similar fashion to the current popular television shows that air on a weekly episodic basis.
Alone in the Dark is scheduled for release on next-gen platforms next year, and features Edward Carnby, star of the original game in the early 1990s. Given the original game was set in the late 1920s and the latest title is based some seventy-odd years later, one of the more intriguing mysteries is how Mr Carnby appears unaffected by the ravages of time.
The truth is something which is embroiled deeply within the central to the plot of the game, which explores various concepts and ideas about life after death, and Eden Games is refusing to disclose anything further at this stage - offering somewhat of a cliff-hanger before development of the newly stylised game is even complete.