Normally the worst things you have to worry about on a camping trip are bugs and bad weather, but these are the least of the concerns for the protagonist of solo developer and composer Jeff Winner's Horror Story: Hallowseed, a psychological first-person thriller available now through Early Access.
Once devout and God-fearing, the good folk of Hallowseed were seduced by a mysterious occult power, with all residents now dead or vanished and their village cursed forever. Unaware of the danger lingering here, Michael is camping in the surrounding woods with two friends when (inevitably) the lurking demonic presence strikes and his friends disappear. Desperate to find them, Michael must brave this evil place to find answers and discover what role he plays in its tragic story.
Inspired by movies such as Insidious and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hallowseed is a free-roaming, disturbingly realistic first-person 3D adventure that appears to focus on a creepy house and the tunnels beneath. Alongside a "dense story" and a number of puzzles to solve, the game also promises randomly generated "micro-scares" that trigger as you explore and interact with the environment, to keep us not just on the edges of our seats but occasionally jumping out of them. The trailer hints at some of the eerie atmosphere and lashings of gore we can expect, with everything from flickering candles and ouija boards to bloody mass cemeteries with unburied bodies, all set to a pounding metal soundtrack.
In development since 2016 and planned as the debut installment in an ongoing series,
Horror Story: Hallowseed has crept onto Steam Early Access for PC. The current version features about ninety minutes of gameplay, with the full version to comprise a substantially expanded six-hour experience, provisionally scheduled for August 2021.