Exploring strange happenings and enduring frightening circumstances are common activities for adventure gamers, but it's a bit of a rarity when a game's spine-tingling story is based on real-world events. Nevertheless, that's exactly what is promised by the upcoming first-person horror adventure Kholat, currently in production by Polish indie IMGN.PRO.
The game is based on an actual 1959 event known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which nine climbers died on Russia's Ural Mountains under mysterious circumstances. An investigation by Russian authorities at the time revealed puzzling clues, including high levels of radiation on some of the victims' clothing and skeletal trauma without external injury. Although various theories have been put forth to explain the deaths, the incident has never been fully explained, providing lush ground for speculation and conspiracy theories, including those involving the paranormal.
Kholat is set a number of years after the incident, thrusting players into the shoes of an explorer given the chance to discover exactly what happened in the icy Russian wilderness. Details about the exact nature of the gameplay are vague at the moment, but players can expect it to be heavily focused on narrative and exploration. There will be a few enemies along the way, but the developers indicate that the player’s only option in dealing with them will be to escape, leaving the focus on examining the real-time 3D environments (presented using the Unreal Engine 4) and interpreting the story as it unfolds, rather than on twitch-based gameplay or combat. Of course, players can expect their share of hair-raising moments, as evidenced by the inclusion of a “fear management system.”
Kholat is currently planned for release in the first quarter of 2015 on PC and Mac via Steam and other digital distribution platforms, although some as-yet-unannounced territories will also get a boxed retail release.