Horror games have taken on all shapes and sizes over the various console generations. From jump scares, to psychological horror, to gore-infused nightmare romps through quiet towns, there are many ways to invoke the thrill of fear in a gamer’s heart. But one yet-to-be-explored facet of the genre is biofeedback; using responsive tools to track and react to the player’s emotional state. However, if the upcoming project titled Nevermind has anything to say about it, that’s all about to change.
Nevermind is described by the team as a “biofeedback horror adventure game”. The basic idea is that the game can track your Heart Rate Variability, which determines your stress level based on a few factors, obviously including heart rate. When asked about what makes the game unique, Creative Director Erin Reynolds stated that, “Nevermind is integrating new technology into the gaming experience in a new way with the use of biofeedback technology. Our game is accessible, as a horror adventure game, but players will be challenged to respond to stressful situations.” According to a recent Reddit AMA hosted by Reynolds, “the current version of Nevermind uses a Garmin Heart Rate strap with an ANT+ USB stick”. The purpose of tracking a player’s stress level is two fold: To introduce a game mechanic wherein the game becomes both more challenging and frightening as players become more afraid, and to ultimately be used as a teaching tool to help manage stress and anxiety levels.
In Nevermind, players assume the role of a Neuroprober, a physician with access to high-tech equipment that allows them to journey through the minds of trauma victims. Their goal is to help these patients deal with whatever horrible tragedy has caused said trauma. Levels are then broken up by various patients, with each experience tasking the Neuroprober to venture into the subconscious of a different person. Turns out, the subconscious mind doesn’t take kindly to strangers, and will concoct some rather terrifying scenarios to deter any intruders.
The team is hard at work developing the project while simultaneously managing a Kickstarter campaign, one with just ten days left to try and attain the proposed goal of $250,000. “The response to our Kickstarter campaign has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re doing everything we can so we can make the best game possible for our supporters”, Reynolds mentioned. It should be noted that the game CAN be played without the additional biofeedback sensor, in which case the developers are still confident players will enjoy it as a “surreal, mysterious, atmospheric adventure game”. Nevermind is currently in development for PC and Mac, with a release on Xbox One possible if a stretch goal of $275,000 is met. Additional information can be found on the official website.