The Inner Friend's creepy hair salon level is based on a traumatic childhood experience, because of course it is

There's a good chance you were scared of getting a haircut as a kid, which probably seems incredibly silly now. Leave it to upcoming horror game The Inner Friend to remind you of why you dreaded the thought of sitting in a too-tall chair as some stranger snips big, sharp scissors right next to your ears and eyes and oh god now I remember why it seemed so terrifying.

Most of The Inner Friend's levels are based on more typical childhood horror material, like hospitals. But the "Hair Salon" level marketing manager Médéric Ellul walked us through during one of our Gamescom After Dark hands-on segments was inspired by something specific.

"It's actually based on a fear that our narrative writer had as a child," Ellul explained. "It's the fear of scissors and hairdressers. She had a kind of traumatizing experience when she was very little. She went to the hairdresser, she messed up the haircut because she was scared of the scissors, and when she went to school she was made fun of. So that's the inspiration for this one."

Sounds innocuous enough, but watch the preview above, see how that fear takes the form of a nude, popcorn-headed hairstylist who chases you around the level, and you'll get an idea for why that particular childhood fear merited inclusion. It isn't all horror of course; Ellul also explained that the way you play each level is inspired by a different kind of childhood game: hide and seek, Marco Polo, the floor is lava, and so on. In this case the childhood game is tag, and the person who is "It" is trying to tag you with a pair of scissors so… maybe it is all horror.

The Inner Friend will hit PC via Steam, Humble, and more digital distribution platforms on September 6. If you're overdue for a haircut, maybe get it out of the way before then?

Check out what else we saw at Gamescom, including a breakdown of Anthem's different Javelin suits from the game director, the many winged mechanical wonders of Starlink, and a highly sought after llama selfie. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.