After 15 years, Fear Effect has a chance to return to the gaming world, but not in the way some fans might expect.
From developer Kronos Digital Entertainment, Fear Effect released exclusively for the original PlayStation in 2000. An action-adventure game revolving around three mercenaries attempting to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Triad boss, Fear Effect leans on its title by using an EKG meter as the player’s health bar; whenever characters Hana, Deke and Glas encounter a stressful or horrific situation, the EKG meter spikes and changes to either yellow or red. In this state, the player is more susceptible to death, however the EKG can be stabilized by performing stealth kills, solving puzzles, or killing demons and other supernatural forces. Strewn across four discs, Fear Effect was one of the first video games to actively utilize cel-shading, and favor streaming and/or looping video for background elements over pre-rendered 2D visuals found in the likes of Resident Evil and other early 3D PlayStation titles.
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix released for the PlayStation the following year in 2001. A prequel to the first game, Retro Helix introduced players to Hana’s partner and presumed love-interest Rain Qin, and the existence of EINDS- the “Environmentally Induced Nucleotides Degeneration Syndrome” pandemic sweeping across the globe. Set in 2048 Hong Kong, the sequel favors stealth and puzzle-solving over combat, and primarily serves as an introduction to the three original mercenaries. A third game, Fear Effect: Inferno was in development for the PS2 by Kronos Digital Entertainment, but was suspended due to budget restraints from publisher Eidos. The studio approached other publishers, but were unable to seal a funding contract. Fear Effect: Inferno was officially cancelled, with Kronos Digital Entertainment disbanding shortly thereafter. Inferno lives on through an archived debut E3 trailer, and numerous leaked assets and in-progress cutscenes available to watch on YouTube.
Both Fear Effect and Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix have since released digitally through PSN in Europe. The series developed a cult following for its supernatural-future setting, intimidating puzzles, visual aesthetic, mature sexual and social themes and imaginative death animations.
As part of the Square Enix Collective program, developer Sushee announced yesterday morning that Fear Effect would return courtesy of an upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Titled “Fear Effect: Sedna”, the crowdfunding campaign will begin on April 12. The title will take place after Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix and the unreleased Fear Effect: Inferno, though not as a 3rd-person 3D action-adventure game; according to Sushee- and as seen in the screenshot below- Fear Effect: Sedna will be an isometric tactical strategy game heavily inspired by the gameplay found in XCOM and Shadowrun. Players will control Hana, Rain, Deke and Glas through “a brand new adventure, from the streets of Hong Kong to the cold world of Greenland”, as they fight “through futuristic underground stations, underwater research facilities, icy caves and Inuit spiritual realms”.
Again, the Fear Effect: Sedna Kickstarter campaign will go live on 4/12.