Agony, from Polish developer playway, will put players into the shoes of a nameless soul on a harrowing journey through Hell in an upcoming survival-horror game currently on Kickstarter.
The game will utilise a first-person viewpoint for an experience that seems to draw from the minimalist qualities of older genre stalwarts, rather than featuring action elements as a drawcard. Agony will, however, feature obstacles, enemies, and puzzles that must be either overcome or avoided, and the player’s unique ability to possess the other denizens of Hell, both fellow souls and demons alike, will often be key to progression.
Escape is the goal of the player’s journey and, to that end, Agony follows a long tradition of tales focussed on escape from the afterlife, from the Ancient Greeks, through Dante Aligheri, to contemporary fiction. Where playway’s title differs from most other media is in the featureless protagonist, who bears no memory of his past life or personality, and the development team’s unique vision of the afterlife. The game’s Kickstarter page emphasises that the team aims to offer an interpretation of Hell that eschews much traditional imagery and draws, instead, from more primal fears.
To that end, some of the artwork on display is delightfully twisted, with the grotesqueries of biology appearing as a touchstone for much of the environmental and enemy design, with the perversion of bodies enough to disturb and disgust in equal measure. The same desire to begin from scratch in creating a world to horrify appears to permeate every aspect of the game’s design, and the ambition of that is not to be undersold. Some of these details can be witnessed in the gameplay trailer embedded below.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Agony, however, is that is avoids using Hell as a site of action, as in DOOM, Dante’s Inferno, and Shadows of the Damned, to name but a few, and focuses instead on the psychological horror and sense of the dread the setting so easily taps into.
Agony smashed through its initial funding goal of CA$66,666 and is now well on its way to CA$150,000 upon reaching which the team will also release a VR version of the game. Despite being playway’s first truly notable title, the development team has a considerable pedigree of experience, having worked on the likes of The Witcher 3, The Division, and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 in the past.