The Oculus Rift’s ability to portray seamless 3D has given developers freedom they never had before. In the case of Edge of Nowhere, Insomniac is using that freedom to scare the hell out of you.
What is Edge of Nowhere?
Insomniac (Ratchet and Clank, Sunset Overdrive) is putting together the third-person platformer/exploration game specifically for the Oculus Rift. It plays a lot like Uncharted minus the gun slinging, but the story is what can only be described as Endurance meets At The Mountains of Madness… though admittedly it’s leaning a lot more toward the whole madness part.
What story was in the demo?
There was a lot more implied than explicitly stated, but you played as a man dressed ready to explore the arctic. The area is full of massive ice canyons which, thanks to the Oculus Rift, have a terrifying depth to them. Our explorer jumped and ran his way through collapsing ice and rickety wooden bridges until he reached a cave… also full of endless chasms.
Even in the dark cave, depth of image was conveyed brilliantly a number of ways: floating ice crystals surrounding the character, reflections of light from outside, and… endless chasms. As you walk, however, you get the feeling you’re being watched, which is probably because a silhouette darts behind your character.
You reach a rope and, in what is the most impressive part of the demo, you lower yourself down an icy sinkhole as dark creatures climb up from its depths. The 3D from the Oculus really makes the sinkhole an impressive sight that recalls the vertigo one can get from being on a highly-perched ride at an amusement park. Insomniac is using every tool the Rift provides to find new ways to scare players.
The creatures eventually chase you out of the cave as it crumbles… only for you to find a graveyard of ice breaker ships outside. And then, literally out of the blue, comes a giant walking —
If it wasn’t him, it sure was a close relation.
What happened next?
You walk into one of the ice breaker wrecks… only to find a beautiful study complete with lounge chairs, lamps, and book shelves. A creepy, disembodied female voice whispers “you shouldn’t be here” before tentacles engulf your character. Creeptastic.
So, how is this related to H.P. Lovecraft?
Well, in a nutshell At The Mountains of Madness follows an Antarctic expedition to find the remains of a lost civilization of “Old Ones.” However, like most Lovecraft stories, the expedition realizes the Old Ones were destroyed by something horribly sinister, the Shoggoth, that is now praying on the expedition and causing them to lose their sanity.
Are the creatures chasing you the Shoggoth?
The Shoggoth are described as black, bubbling masses. While the creatures chasing you had form, they were very black and seemed to be slightly shifting. They very well may be the Shoggoth. Judging from the hallucination your character has at the end of the demo, we’re willing to bet the madness will come into play as well. Perhaps we’ll get some callbacks to Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem?
Are you the initial expedition or something else?
We don’t know. It’s possible you’re a member of a second expedition, sent to rescue the first or discover their fate. We’ll have to wait to find out more.