Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife got a creepy new trailer this week. We sat down with Fast Travel Games’ Erik Odeldahl to unearth the secrets that lie within.
Wraith is a VR horror game set in the World of Darkness universe. Players take control of a Wraith in the grim confines of Barclay Mansion and set about investigating a gruesome mystery. Odeldahl shared six crucial insights into the game to give you an idea of what to expect.
Powers Are Unlocked Through Progression
Yesterday’s trailer came with the reveal of some of the player’s powers, like the ability to walk through walls and manipulate objects from afar. But you won’t have access to all these powers when you first boot up Wraith.
“The powers are all unlocked through progression in the game,” Odeldahl revealed. “They are tied to our protagonist’s insights and growth, the gradual discovery of his role in the story and in the mansion. All powers open up new avenues for you to explore, both in terms of environments and systems. In the beginning, you will take your first steps as a Wraith after having died for a reason you will find out while playing the game, with almost no powers at all.
“Finding the right balance between giving the player more options, and not making them too powerful is… well, a balance. Besides the Wraith powers, there are also other things you find in the game that give you even more options, but we’re not talking about those just yet!”
Enemies Will Always Be Stronger Than You…
Like many great horror games, combat is not a focus in Wraith. Fast Travel wants you feeling vulnerable and in danger every time you dare to open a door in the mansion.
“The player will find ways to defend themselves in some ways, but this is not a game where you can “win” against your enemies,” Odeldahl revealed. “They are always stronger and more dangerous than you. Using caution and elements in the environment, and sometimes plain out hide, are all important actions to make sure the Spectres do not see you, and to be able to progress deeper into the mansion.”
…But You Have Some Tricks Up Your Sleeve
You’ll have to rely on your wits and powers if you want to survive, then. Wraith’s powers won’t just be for progression in puzzles and environments, but can also come in handy for survival.
“The enemies in the game are Spectres, spirits of the dead that have lost all touch with their humanity,” Odeldahl explained. “They do rely on vision, but also hearing, so making sure you don’t make too much noise is very important. But maybe you can use that against them somehow? Once you unlock the ability to make yourself insubstantial you can definitely use that to escape them. The problem is that they might also have that power…”
You’ll Have A Subconscious Companion
Yesterday’s trailer showed ghostly projects that help flesh out the events that piece together the game’s main story. It’s one of the main ways Wraith will reveal its plot, but not the only means. You won’t be entirely alone in this horror experience – you’ll have a voice to help guide you along the way.
“The other main element that helps deliver the plot, is the protagonist’s own dark subconscious called the Shadow. The Shadow functions as the companion throughout the experience, it will talk to you and sometimes help push you towards different objectives or understand certain circumstances. But that’s not saying the Shadow should be trusted all the time…”
Barclay Mansion Isn’t Your Usual Horror Setting
When you hear a game is set in a mansion, you immediately think back to classics like Resident Evil and assume you’ll know what to expect. But leave your preconceptions at the door of Barclay Mansion as there is far more than meets the eye.
“First I want to say that the Barclay Mansion is far from the classical gothic mansion that we often see in horror games!” Odeldahl reasoned. “Instead, it is a modern building filled with Hollywood decadence and occult research… As for the size, it’s pretty big! Exploring its many different rooms and floors is an integral part of the main experience so we do not want to give too much away, but there is indeed a light Metroidvania element in the game that lets the player access areas previously inaccessible, once certain Wraith powers have been acquired. We are also adding quite a lot of background story to the different characters and the Spectres, that might not be required to unravel in order to just complete the game… but that will give the player a better understanding of the story and the mystery.”
The Horror Won’t Just Be Cheap Jump Scares
Odeldahl makes clear that the scares will dig in deep under your skin – no cheap thrills here.
“Well, I want to make one thing clear: Afterlife will be scary. Very scary. We even have trouble finishing our own playtest sessions sometimes! That said, we are not going for an experience filled with cheap jump scares – instead, we are aiming more towards tension and
suspense, the “under-your-skin” kind of horror, which is what Wraith: The Oblivion is all about. The player WILL, of course, be shocked at times, but the horror elements really go into all parts of the game.
“Being a Wraith does not mean you have the advantage against the threats inside the mansion however. On the contrary – you need to use both stealth and elements in the environment to proceed in the game. Of course, this is a game primarily made for horror game fans but there is also a heavy focus on making the gameplay fun and the narrative interesting, so I think Afterlife will feel extremely rewarding also for players who simply enjoy a strong story with interesting characters and who love to explore an interconnected and unique mansion.”
There Will Be World Of Darkness Easter Eggs
Wraith, if you didn’t know, is set in the World of Darkness universe, first envisioned for tabletop gaming. But the series has crossed over with videogame before, including the Vampire: Masquerade series. Die-hard World of Darkness fans can expect some nods to the wider lore here.
Says Odeldahl: “This is something we are not quite ready to talk about just yet, but let’s put it like this: If you intend to fully explore every nook and cranny of the Barclay Mansion, there might just be an easter egg or two that fans of World of Darkness find interesting…”
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife hits Quest, PC VR and PSVR in early 2021.