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The Guest turns your charming hotel stay into a creepy prison escape

Hotels can't match the satisfaction of sleeping in your own bed, but they offer a certain level of comfort — unless you've stumbled into the hotel in The Guest, a new title from indie studio Team Gotham.

The Guest, which began as a student project, is a first-person exploration game following a pill-popping Russian doctor. Upon discovering the room's door has no knob — the player is trapped — the game spins into a series of hunt-and-seek puzzles.

During a hands-on demo of the game, I shuffled through papers for clues and dug through drawers for anything that could help me. Eventually, after piecing together a combination code for a locked box and fixing the door in question, I stumbled into a bathroom with even more difficult mysteries to solve. It's a classic escape-the-room scenario in which your wits are your best weapon.

Lead artist and game designer Juan de la Torre told Polygon that Team Gotham aims to make the comforts of a hotel room unsettling; they take safety and subvert it to something menacing.

"There's an interesting thing with familiar places," he said. "For me, a familiar place can be creepier, because it's normal. It's like the image of a baby — you have a baby and you twist the image, it can be scary. I think it's the same with rooms and homes. You're used to it, but when things go wrong in a familiar place, it can be creepy."

The Guest is currently coming to Mac and Windows PC on Steam via Greenlight in early 2016. The entire game will take place in a single hotel.

"We couldn't do something super big," de la Torre said, "and we don't want to do something super big, because we want to control what we were doing perfectly and focus on game design. Let's take it easy and build a tiny room — and then we can scale the game to bigger rooms, or open spaces. One step at a time."

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