You’ll need a set of wheels to get from one end of the park to the other. Given the expertise they showed in Test Drive Unlimited, it’s safe to assume Eden will face few problems getting this area of the game right, but we’d expect Parks Board electrocars and motorbikes rather than an endless selection of mega-engined Ferraris as a means of getting around.
In terms of missions, Eden are once again keeping things sealed tight when it comes to exact details, but producer Nour Polloni assures us, in an exclusive chinwag, that they’ll deliver here too: “Central Park is almost a city within a city with its own wildlife sanctuary, police precinct, museum, boating lake and castle, so it’s definitely a challenge filling it with exciting things to do. But, actually, the environment has been a dream for the level designers, giving them lots of inspiration and variety to work with – there’ll be no shortage of things to do. And, because the park is so big, we’ve spread the action over pretty much the whole area, making vehicles absolutely essential for getting around. At the moment, we’re at a stage where we can see how the game plays, and we’re making sure we never lose sight of the ultimate goal – to entertain.”
One thing that’s definitely on the agenda is fire. Lots of it. One of Alone in the Dark’s key innovations is its lighting system: flashlights, penlights and headlights will all be useful ways to cut through the vast swathes of darkness in the game, but the most effective – especially if your exploration happens to coincide with some monster-mashing – is fire.
“Fire is a very prominent feature in the gameplay,” says Nour, “and can be a useful ally or a deadly enemy depending on the situation. Sometimes it’s under control, other times you’ll need to get out of a situation fast before you’re completely engulfed in flames.” And it’ll be part of the game’s puzzling too.
“You’ll sometimes come to dark places where you need to light your way,” continues Nour. “One way to do this is to break a piece of furniture and set fire to a chair leg, creating a makeshift torch.” Seems simple, but all artificial light in Alone in the Dark, like the glowstick we saw Carnby wandering around with, runs on batteries – and batteries run out.