In the Unity booth at this year's Game Developers Conference, Toronto-based NVYVE Studios is showing off Pamela, a first-person survival horror game set on a futuristic island colony called Eden. People in the colony have been infected with a disease and are experiencing rapid bone growth, and as they transform the player's goal is to stay alive as long as possible.
Lead developer Christian McDonald says the art style was inspired by games like Mass Effect and Mirror's Edge, and you can see the similarities in the debut trailer below — the game's use of bright colors in particular makes it stand out amongst traditional survival games.
As you start a game, you spawn a randomly generated character with a bionic right arm featuring randomly generated attachments, which you can tweak as you play. The arm is also your tie to Pamela the character, a Cortana-like AI that shows up as a hologram linked to all the people inhabiting the game's world.
"She's actually connected to each and every person on the Eden through the arm, so it's her kind of link to people," says McDonald. "You know the saying that you only use 10 percent of your brain? She uses the other 90% of your processing power of your brain ...
"She will also change depending on how the character plays. So if you go through and you mercilessly slaughter everybody that you see, she's going to actually feel some of that pain. And because they act as servers, if you kill say five, six people in an area, for a temporary while maybe the power might flicker and certain vending machines might go out."
Managing the power in environments will play out in multiple ways — if it's cloudy outside, an area might not have enough solar energy for the player to keep all the lights on. And players will have to find resources to build barricades and tweak their arm attachments.
Players will also have a choice of playing with a permadeath option turned on or off. If they choose the latter, each time they die they will come out of cryogenic sleep as a new character with the same progress.
Pamela is currently four months into development, with a planned release of 2016, so the team at NVYVE Studios still has plenty of details to figure out. McDonald wants a co-op mode, for instance, but isn't sure if that will make it in. And he says the team is experimenting with ways for the game's story to have an ending, despite having a somewhat open-ended design.
For now, it's a beautiful trailer and a prototype, with more on the way.