After a full four month’s hiatus that saw them retreat into the shadows with no public exposition or update to the progress of Insane Decay of Mind: The Sound of Silence, the young Italian team of GoManga Interactive resurfaced earlier this month with news that their first-person indie horror escapade had ventured into Virtual Reality by means of a spin-off.
Called simply Insane Decay of Mind, this VR outing hurls players into a labyrinth of twisted, psychologically trying happenings that occur within protagonist Katherine Watson’s mind in between the events of Acts I and II of the main game’s saga.
As minds turned warped over three progressively difficult, procedurally generated stages, one must make use of interactive items, solve puzzles and avoid the Shadows — manifestations of the leading lady’s darkest nightmares — all in search of an escape route.
What’s more, besides having to be powered by the Oculus Rift DK2, Oculus Rift CV1, HTC Vive Pre or the HTC Vive alone, the spin-off is also playable as a standard Windows powered game making it an interesting means for followers to get their first full-fledged taste of the original tale in development.
Conceived late into 2014, Insane Decay of Mind: The Sound of Silence’s primary lore narrates the challengingly disturbing events that unfold after one Katherine Watson finds herself trapped within an old World War II era manor; A manor she soon begins to perceive as her School before a deranged assortment of forces haunt her through its nightmare ridden corridors.
Divided into three Acts, the game’s playable portion began to take form over the course of 2015 wherein it witnessed its First develop through a series of refinements and playable teasers. Post bringing this work-in-progress adventure to Higher Eclectic Ground in the month of October the same year, GoManga interactive had then proceeded to announce plans of a crowd-funding campaign that was to follow the Act’s completion.
In keeping with the same, the game received its first full-fledged trailer with the onset of the New Year. Soon after though, all updates ceased as the team stated behind-the-scenes that they’d come in contact with Italian independent game production company IV Productions and its founder Ivan Ventauri.
Over the following weeks Ventauri pushed to have Merge Games Ltd. take notice of The Sound of Silence’s quirks, which eventually resulted in the British indie game publisher proposing to help release a VR based spin-off of the game.
‘We immediately accepted for the very reason that’s obvious for an independent team such as ours: it would be the best way of getting Insane Decay of Mind noticed,’ explains Lead Programmer Francesco Pio Squillante. ‘Furthermore, the way the game’s been programmed is just perfect for VR; it’s dark and creepy atmosphere, unpredictable events and deafening sounds, all combined with virtual reality would only help players better identify with Katherine’s plight much before the full game’s release.
Naturally, the work on Act II that was to ensue over the first quarter of this year was put on hold to focus on the VR game. Building upon what the team had already constructed over the past year, development proceeded behind closed doors to only make an alpha appearance during the course of the Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco, before the venture was finally made public by IV Productions on the 21st of April, 2016.
As it stands now, the Insane Decay of Mind VR game omits all aspects of a narrative. Its game play seems to fully base itself on the mechanics we tried and tested in our play-through of The Sound of Silence’s Act I back in December last year, and the most noticeable change lies in its upgraded visuals. There is however plenty more than simply finding one’s way through this visually upgraded, non-verbal construct of insanity as Squillante reveals —
‘Besides the Shadows, players will encounter several character from Katherine’s past who will in turn influence game play; side objectives of sorts. There are then over 50 hidden achievements, each of which uncover a variety of her secrets that are in effect spread out over the three Acts of the main game. And so while Insane Decay of Mind contains no particular narrative, one can unravel the entire saga’s story anywhere from a few to 30 hours with a little bit of patience and persistence.’
Acting on the complaints and mixed response that stemmed out from the multitude of bugs that supplemented the game on release day, the team released an update to counteract the same on the 18th of May last week. As for the main story’s future, Squillante suggests that while Merge’s involvement in the full game is as of now uncertain, development of the same will proceed regardless.
‘We will of course go back and redefine the First Act of The Sound of Silence’, he reveals. ‘before we finally move to designing the Second. The vision is to release each of the three Acts separately over a span of several months, but that’s a topic for the future.’
Insane Decay of Mind is now available on Steam for 3 USD. While one might catch some of the Network’s own Writers and Video Artists dabble in the spin-off over the forthcoming weeks, be sure to visit Insane Decay of Mind: The Sounds of Silence’s Higher Eclectic Space wherein its progress continues to be recorded for a better perspective of its bizarre nuances.