Layers of Fear Goes Beyond Just a Simple Remake

Layers of Fear is a brand new remake of both of Bloober Team's psychological horror games, serving as a bit of a collection while also including new content. The original games wowed players and critics alike for its trippy, mind-bending story that saw environments changing around you on a whim. There weren't really any enemies or things to fight, one could possibly classify these games as "walking simulators" even, but they still left a huge imprint on players. It's one of those horror experiences that is only possible in gaming due to how it manages to creep under your skin with its haunting atmosphere that is constantly shifting based on your actions as a player.

This remake, or as Bloober Team prefers to call it a "reimagining", aims to gloss up the original stories, but also greatly expand by adding a new story. The story that Bloober Team focused on during the hands-off preview that ComicBook attended centers around a writer staying in a lighthouse and of course, things start to get spooky. Bloober Team noted this story will connect all of the stories from the Layers of Fear saga, though it's still a bit fuzzy on how or why they'll link together. Of course, there's an ongoing theme of creating horror around art and artists, which naturally connects the stories on a subtext level, but it seems like it will be a bit more direct once we play it.

When asked if Bloober Team was interested in exploring other art forms in Layers of Fear, such as game development, the developer joked that while game development is a nightmare in of itself, it has chosen to focus on "classic" art forms. Literature, paintings, and even movies to an extent, but largely older films as opposed to big modern productions have been and will continue to be the focus in this remake.

In the new story, we see a female writer wandering about this seemingly normal, albeit creepy lighthouse as it slowly devolves into a place of madness and fear. There's a high degree of uneasiness present in this remake and part of that stems from the lighting. Bloober Team has made a lot of technical leaps since the 2016 version of Layers of Fear, allowing it to emphasize its atmospheric strengths with lights that shine brightly on one particular area, but create deep, dark shadows outside of the light's boundaries. It helps create that feeling that there's something in those shadows, just out of your depth of view, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up.

You will be able to combat that darkness and the fear it places on both the character and yourself with a lantern, however it appears to have a meter of some kind that prevents you from always keeping it on so you'll have to be strategic with it. This seems to be the primary gameplay mechanic of the new Layers of Fear story, so don't expect to be swinging any punches or firing guns. It's almost like a more immersive and psychological version of Alan Wake, a game that utilized flashlights to defeat your foes.

(Photo: Bloober Team)

We only got a small taste of what's in store for Layers of Fear, but whether you're a new player or a returning one, it seems like a game that's worth keeping an eye on. For new players, it's a really marvelous technical achievement for a horror game that is driven almost purely by its eerie ambience. It helps ground you in that world further and send chills down your spine, giving you all the more reason to play an already good game.

If you're a longtime fan, the new content is an even bigger motivator to return. With a new character in play, you're basically getting a brand new game mixed in with the ones you're fairly familiar with, which the developer believes will be enough to lure in returning players. However, Bloober Team has noted that some things have been changed from the original games. For starters, it will not feature the doll that can repeatedly slam its head into the side of a table in a comedic fashion any longer. The developer noted that it listened to what fans enjoyed about the game, but took it on a case by case basis when thinking of what it should add, change, or remove from this remake. 

Layers of Fear will release in June 2023 for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC. What do you think of the upcoming Layers of Fear remake? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder.