The comparison isn't unfounded; Allison Road does owe some of its DNA to the acclaimed teaser. Where P.T. stalked the halls of a mysterious home, Allison Road presents itself as a horror game taking place in your very own British townhouse. Both feature a hostile, otherworldly female figure and a strikingly similar visual style. Lilith Ltd. founder Chris Kesler, who started Allison Road as a one-man hobby project, refers to P.T. itself as being "an eye-opener."
"It was so small, yet so effective," he told Polygon. "The graphics were amazing, the whole vibe was super eerie. I realized that I could take my ideas and stage them in a house instead ... create an intimate and tight experience."
However, Kesler considers Allison Road more of a tribute to old-school horror games and movies. It's an homage to "slow-burning" horror found in films such as the first Alien movie, where the scary stuff "doesn't really happen on screen," he said. "It's just happening in your head."
"P.T. was the jumping off point [for Allison Road]," Kesler said. " And that's all it ever was I have to say ... We never claimed we are 'the new Playable Teaser' or anything like that; that just sort of happened by itself."
In other words, if you've come to Allison Road expecting P.T. Part Two, you may find yourself disappointed.
Lilith Ltd. previously released 13 minutes of gameplay footage for Allison Road, but Kesler has hinted that there's far more to the horror title than the house we've seen. Kesler won't go into details about the other locations players will explore ("It would give away too much, I think."), but he said it's all heavily connected.
"The main concepts we want to play with are family, intimacy and safety of your home," he said. "There are a lot of things one can do with that."
Kesler added that the team is still experimenting with the concept of combat in-game. If it makes the final cut, it'll be more for self-defense, rather than hunting down enemies.
"The question we are asking ourselves right now is: Does this actually enhance the experience, or is it just a somewhat meaningless add-on to give the thing more (fake) value?" he said. "If it turns out to be the latter we will most likely scrap it.
"You wouldn't take a knife and go after him"
"The game is really more about making sure you don't get caught. Imagine you'd have a real intruder in your house (which will hopefully never happen). You wouldn't take a knife and go after him, I would strongly assume. Probably you'd just try to avoid him at all cost; we're trying to make it as grounded in reality as possible."
Kesler said he finds the psychological aspects of terror more interesting than the action of horror games today. In video games, players can try — and fail — to avoid death, but even failure accomplishes something special.
"Your body is OK, but maybe you can never go back to being the person you used to be ... before you had this certain experience," he said. "It's a bit of an abstract concept, but I find it super interesting. I wish games and movies would go back to a deeper narrative, really."
Despite a spike in Allison Road interest following the cancelation of Silent Hills, Kesler said that feedback tells the dev that fans care about the game for what it is; it's not just about its similarities to Kojima's lost project.
"I neither encourage or discourage [comparisons to P.T.], because in the end I think true horror game fans couldn't care less about P.T. as a product," he said. "I think what they are really passionate about is the type of horror and feeling this game gave you while playing it.
"... And admittedly, P.T. definitely did a fantastic job with that. It's fantastic looking (helps a lot with immersion), it's eerie, kinda twisted, really scary; sound design is great, atmosphere is amazing, it takes its time to build-up the atmosphere. It's just as much a benchmark as Alien is; or The Exorcist; or Dead Space 1; or Silent Hill 1 and 2 or Gone Home."
Kesler is confident that Allison Road will distinguish itself in good time.
"I think the separation will happen naturally when people get their hands on the game," he said. "They'll see that it's totally its own thing."