Hands-On: Past Cure

Hands-On: Past Cure

* PS Nation was invited to an interview and hands-on time with the game in Hoboken, NJ. Travel was paid for by the reviewer. The game was played using a PC.

The day before I headed out to PSX 2017 I had the chance to sit with Simon Gerdesmann, the Phantom 8 Studio managing director and executive producer for Past Cure. I was able to get some hands-on time with the game and find out a little bit more about the studio.

They started work on Past Cure in March 2016 with three people and eventually expanded to around seven or eight throughout the process. They looked at the market a saw a gap between AAA and Indie games and felt that something could be done so they put up their own money and got to work.

The idea was to make a game that had the look and polish of a Triple-A title in a third-person action game at that $30-40 price point. They looked at the technology available and saw with Unity and Unreal there wasn’t a big cost upfront. Motion capture has also become much more affordable and accessible which opened up a lot of possibilities.

Gerdesmann started the company with Roman Duda, who put together the story for the game. It’s an Inception inspired stealth-action game where you move between two worlds each with their own rules and mechanics. To help refine things, they brought in another writer for a two day workshop in order to get to the best story they could.

The team also put together an Advisory Board whose members have a combined seventy-five years worth of experience in the video game industry. To convince them to come on board, Phantom 8 had to put together a demo which was enough to show that they were on the right track with their approach.

This helped them build their network and get to GDC to meet with other developers and publishers which opened up so much for them as a new studio. They learned pretty quickly that only 50% of the work is actually making the game. The other 50% comes in networking, PR, and professionalism, which allows you to get recognized and build a brand.

As a new studio they faced some challenges along the way. They initially underestimated how long it would take to clean up the animation from the motion capture sessions. This ended up costing about three to four months and pushed things back but now that they have that experience, they’ll be able to avoid it in the future and use that extra time to make a bigger or even more polished game depending on the budget.

In Past Cure you play as an Elites-soldier named Ian who was taken and held for years in a black site prison and experimented on. His mind is constantly being pulled between the real world and a dream world as he tries to figure out what happened to him during those lost years.

The experiments gave Ian telekinetic and thought manipulation powers but using these drives him mad. You’ll need them to make your way through some of the levels, knocking out surveillance cameras and such with your telekinesis.

The hand to hand combat is especially impressive as it was motion captured using European MMA champions. It allows for a much more immersive and realistic fighting style that you don’t often see in more budget conscious titles.

The art style and sound design are real standouts as well. Putting it all together helps elevate the game above the typical indie fare. The level of detail in each of the areas I was allowed to see along with the lighting and design is all really impressive.

I had a chance to play action, puzzle, and stealth sequences and I came away wanting more. The full game will release on February 2, 2017 with around eight to ten hours of gameplay and I can’t wait to dive back into this shadowy world.

* All screens used in this preview were provided by the publisher.

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 26 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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