If Wales Interactive doesn’t tell you anything, be aware that this is a development studio, necessarily based in Wales, which specializes mainly in what is commonly called GMF. Be careful, we are not talking about the ridiculously enjoyable interactive films of 30 years ago, but real film productions which, if not all of equal quality, are all at least above average. Their latest one is none other than The Complex, which we tested in our columns earlier this month.
But beyond this category of niche games, Wales Interactive also offers some more classic horrific experiences and therefore much more video games. One thinks in particular of Don’t Knock Twice whose video game adaptation is even superior to the film which is bad enough for him. Except that as honorable as it may be, this game seemed more like a kind of essay than an entire work.
Partly because it was really short and ultimately offered very little gameplay interest. But the atmosphere was there, as well as the scenario rather good. So after this first (real) foray into horror, we were curious to find out what the studio had in store for us.
Maid of Sker intends to show you around the most haunted house in Great Britain.
And this horrific new project coming straight from Wales is none other than Maid of Sker, which fans of the genre on PC probably know, especially because the game sheet has been available for some time on Steam. We discover there an iconic place in the folklore of the Welsh region, the House of Sker, considered as one of the most haunted buildings in Great Britain, still attracting today lovers of paranormal phenomena and ghost hunters of all kinds.
The game is inspired by the events narrated in the series of three short stories of the same name written by R. D. Blackmore and published in 1872, as well as the tragic fate of Elisabeth Williams who mixes reality and fiction. It is above all a tragic love story, that of the young woman and her courting musician Thomas Evans who could not live their passion out in the open because of the father of the young lady. The latter, who could not accept the romance, locked up his daughter twice in Sker’s family home until he found her a man worthy of the high rank of his family. It is said in folklore, therefore, that Elizabeth died of a heartache that could not bear to be separated from her loved one.
Maid of Sker is therefore based on this romantic version of a real fact to allow us to embody Thomas Evans then going to the old building to release his dear and tender. However, he will have to do with a curse that seems to follow this rich family and haunt the place. With the gameplay presented as being fairly classic, between exploration, stealth and ingenuity to avoid entities that want to harm us, Maid of Sker is nonetheless attractive on paper. Already because the exploration of Welsh folklore is not commonplace in the industry, but also for some other particularities.
We are promised a very lugubrious Gothic atmosphere, which is reminiscent of a certain Amnesia from elsewhere, but also realistic photo graphics with an engine supporting 4K resolution. Also, a lot of work has been done on the spatialization of sound, since 3D sound technology will be at the heart of the experience, most entities being blind. You have to be silent as much as possible at the risk of being discovered and hunted down like defenseless prey by a malicious entity. Indeed, no defense will be offered, except that of hiding and deceiving or trapping creatures chasing us to give us a few minutes of respite.
In addition, the scenario is intended to be non-linear and players will have choices to make in real time that will influence their future discoveries. It will then be necessary to replay certain parts of the story to discover all its secrets. Note that the pen behind Don’t Knock Twice or SOMA is on the journey for writing. Also, we are promised an epic and scary soundtrack including Welsh hymns sung by none other than Tia Kalmaru.
Finally, Maid of Sker has been offered a new trailer visible below, as well as an exit window on the different supports on which it will appear. It will therefore be in June 2020 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions. The Nintendo Switch will host the game next October.