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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
When a game franchise goes on hiatus for several years and then a continuation is announced, a funny thing happens. No matter how established the gameplay or plot canon were, suddenly everything is new again. This is something we see fairly often in today’s gaming world but it’s not a new phenomenon. Today’s game was the first game in its well-loved series after eight years. Today’s game is Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, developed by Darkworks and released for the Playstation and Dreamcast in 2001.
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare is a bit ambiguous in terms of its canon to the rest of the franchise. Unlike the first three games in the series, The New Nightmare moves from the 1920’s to the year 2001, although the protagonist is still a young adult version of series protagonist Edward Carnby who is implied to have worked cases before. Whatever the case may be, Edward is notified that his best friend Charles Fiske has been found dead on Shadow Island, an island off the coast of Massachusetts in the United States. Fiske had been searching for three ancient tablets that were supposed to unlock an incredible power. Edward, along with Aline Cedrac, a University professor who believes Fiske may have been her father, decide to go investigate what caused Fiske’s death.
The New Nightmare lets you choose whether to play through the game as Edward Carnby or the newcomer Aline Cedrac. Each has their own adventure through the various areas of Shadow Island but they follow the same overall plotline, similar to the early Resident Evil games. Edward’s game is more focused on combat while Aline’s is more focused on solving puzzles. Both characters will have to contend with various creatures of darkness which appear as shadows. They must use light to defeat these creatures and continue on their journey.
The New Nightmare brought about many changes from the original games. It was the first in the Alone in the Dark franchise to be developed by a new team, although Infogrames was still involved as the game’s publisher. The New Nightmare also abandoned the now significantly aged engine that ran the previous three games and decided to focus on the console market rather than PC. Thus, along with the main Playstation and Dreamcast consoles, other studios, Spiral House and Pocket Studios developed versions of The New Nightmare for Windows, Playstation 2 and the Game Boy Color, all of which also came out in 2001 and were quite faithful to the core platforms. While The New Nightmare was planned to release in Japan by Capcom, this release never happened so all versions remain exclusive to North America and Europe.
The New Nightmare was modestly received upon release. While the puzzles and combat were seen as passable by most reviewers, the biggest criticism had more to do with the circumstances with its release. By 2001, the Playstation 2 and Dreamcast had both been fairly well established but Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, appears to have been primarily focused on the aging Sony Playstation, as the FMV sequences look rough on the more modern consoles. Also, with the influx of survival horror games prior to release, not to mention the highly praised Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, there was significant bloat in the genre and The New Nightmare just wasn’t able to compete. Alone in the Dark would go back into hiatus for another 7 years after The New Nightmare.
Thank you so much for listening! Archives and transcripts for every episode are available on videogameoftheday.com. If you’d like to learn more about Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, follow me on Twitter @vg_oftheday for more trivia that didn’t make it into today’s episode. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!
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