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[UPDATE]:The developer reached out to me to indicate that Asylum is definitely alive and kicking. Though the development has seen some difficult times, Agustín Cordes said to me in an email that they think fans will absolutely love some of the things they are planning for Asylum. So don't lose hope yet, kiddies; years of development may have done this game good, like a finely aged wine.
Back in 2013, Senscape, including Agustín Cordes who helped design Scratches, unleashed a new project on Kickstarter called Asylum. The virality and the hype surrounding the title was insane. The genius marketing campaign consisted of a fake “Hanwell Mental Institute” website and uploaded YouTube videos that supposedly came from an escaped patient named Leonard Huntings. And since the game was greenlit on Steam in 2013, there’s almost been no word of when we could expect the game in its full capacity. So the real question is, what happened to it?
There was a recent post on Steam from the developer, dated October 21 of last year, and it stated,
Surprise! For the first time ever, we’re making publicly available the full 2-minute long introduction to Asylum...We hope you enjoy this preliminary look into our ambitious project that may earn a permanent place in your nightmares.
The preview is just a video of the main character driving up to the asylum and, honestly, the scariest part of the preview is the creepy woman in your passenger seat who is there and then isn’t. It’s all a little hard to understand and you don’t get much about the story or the asylum itself. But that’s the last thing we’ve seen of Asylum.
The old trailer gives just a little more insight into what kind of game Asylum was looking to become. You can view it below.
While the design of the asylum itself is creepy, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before in asylum-related games like Outlast and Daylight. If Asylum wants to stand out, it’s going to need to bring some more heat, but even then I think the brief “insane asylum” trend has passed. Hopefully, the three years of development have given Senscape time to really carve out what makes Asylum scarier than the others. The game itself was supposedly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, so hopefully it would have a strong emphasis on the presence of narrative. We’ve seen hauntings and deranged patients, but I want to see something new. Something more terrifying. Unfortunately, the game seems to have really lost steam and trust with its fan base after a number of delays and empty promises.
It’s hard to really predict where Asylum is going to go, if anywhere. This is the worst thing a video game can do, go silent and lose touch with the fans, because in the case of Asylum it was the fans who made the dream of the game come true. Or maybe it’s just been lost in the shuffle of indie horror games. Hopefully it can resurface and wow us with a unique tale of horror in a well-known setting of terror.