You wouldn't want to personally step foot within thirty kilometers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the contaminated "Exclusion Zone" any time soon, but thanks to Russian developer Drunkard Raccoons' upcoming Frequency: Chernobyl, you can do so virtually right from the comfort of your own home.
The game stars Val, a "radio enthusiast who has dedicated his life to unraveling the mysteries of radio transmissions." Specifically, he's investigating the "number stations" phenomenon of "enigmatic transmitters that only speak in riddles." His quest has led him deep into the Exclusion Zone to "the ruins of the Duga station" where the voices of people from the year 1986 continue to be broadcast to this day. Getting to the bottom of this temporal anomaly "will not be easy, but as long as you can still hear someone on the other side you will not have to go at it alone. And perhaps, by becoming a participant in the events that bridge the two eras separated by the Chernobyl disaster, you may end up learning something new about yourself as well."
Frequency is a first-person, free-roaming adventure that sits at "the junction of fiction and realism." This story of "mystery and loneliness" is set in the deserted city of Pripyat, whose terrain and "crumbling equipment, outdated radio codes and principles of operation" have been recreated in consultation with "radio experts and Chernobyl explorers" for greater authenticity. Not unlike Firewatch, remote communication is crucial here, and players will be required to "learn to operate old-school radio machinery" in order to stay in touch with their counterparts from decades past. If you're ever to escape, you'll also need to "unravel secret ciphers" as part of a "variety of riddles and non-standard problems that are bound to have most players scratching their heads."
There is no firm target release date just yet, but Frequency: Chernobyl is expected to launch on Steam in the second or third quarters of 2021. The good news is that we don't to wait that long before our Geiger counters start chirping a little, as a playable demo is expected sometime next month.