Nighttime in Grave is terrifying and tough to survive

The darkness is your enemy in Broken Windows Studios' Grave, and you'll need to think on your feet if you want to survive the night in this PC and Xbox One title. We played the open-world survival horror title at Microsoft's E3 2014 booth, and came away feeling very lucky that we were at E3 and could bask in the fluorescent glow of the show floor's lights.

Grave is set in the desert, and your only objectives are to stay alive and find out why you're there. You'll spend the daytime gathering supplies, such as gasoline, a flashlight and batteries. As the sun sets, you'll have to choose an approach: Perhaps you'll look for a building to hide inside and attempt to fortify it, or maybe you'll go on the attack.

What are you running from? Strange, scary, screeching silvery creatures will approach you from all sides once it gets dark. You can outrun them, but they're pretty fast; you can try to keep them out of a structure, but they're pretty good at finding ways in. Light is your friend in Grave: Your weapons are all light-based, and the creatures vanish at sunrise.

It's not as simple as shining a flashlight beam on them, however; we had to deal with two different kinds of enemies. One was, indeed, sensitive to the flashlight. But it ran through a wall of flames we had created by setting gasoline alight. The other creature could be kept at bay only by fire. In the early demo we played, the player character could only take one hit. According to Abigail Moore, lead artist on Grave at Broken Window, the plan in the final game is for your stamina to gradually drain away as you take damage. This will alter your vision and hinder your ability to run from enemies.

Grave's world is procedurally generated in chunks, and Broken Window is trying to tell a story with those locations. As you make it through some nights, your resources will run low, so you'll want to head toward other buildings and points of interest in the distance. Exploring these new places will continue to advance the story.

Broken Window is developing Grave on Linux, Mac and Windows PC, along with Xbox One. The studio reached out to Microsoft during the 2014 Game Developers Conference, and according to Moore, Microsoft has been "really accommodating." She added, "They're really going out of their way" to support indie games. Broken Window's contract with Microsoft isn't exclusive; the studio is also "in talks" with Sony, although there's nothing to announce on that front yet.

Grave is set for release in 2015, with an early access version scheduled to be available this October.

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