John Carpenter and game producer Rob Loftus uncover the nature of F.E.A.R. - Mania.com



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John Carpenter and game producer Rob Loftus uncover the nature of F.E.A.R.

By ANTHONY C. FERRANTE     October 31, 2005


Screenshot from F.E.A.R.
© Vivendi Universal
It's a sad time in horror movie history when the gaming industry has a better idea how to scare the crap out of its target audience, while big studio horror flounders with incomprehensible dreck like BOOGEYMAN, VENOM and HIDE AND SEEK.

And with the release of the new first-person shooter game F.E.A.R. (aka First Encounter Assault Recon) this month, the gaming creators have once again put Hollywood to shame. Entering a military compound, the Special Forces team in F.E.A.R. slowly discovers the dark secrets lurking behind every corner resulting in a frighteningly horrific effort that pushes the boundaries of gaming horror to the next level.

Did we mention there's a creepy girl in it too?

"This is really interactive storytelling," says Rob Loftus who produced the F.E.A.R. game. "You don't know where the player is going to be looking, but you guide them and let them explore the game interactively. That's when we give a scare moment or you might see something out of the corner of your eye. The question is 'did they see that' and what you don't see is sometimes scarier than what you do see."

For Loftus, the game really delves into psychological horror noting it's "horror like it is in the movies" or in other words the way they used to make horror movies.

"The player can really become numb to a gaming experience," he says. "And we took a very psychological approach to the horror. We wanted the player not to go around the corner. For a first person game, you are the player and the camera essentially. You're the first person narrative and you get invested in that experience and in that world and at makes it all the more terrifying."

It's not surprising that master of suspense director John Carpenter was also brought in by the F.E.A.R. team to lend his name as a consultant to hype and help the game set it apart from other titles of its ilk.

"There's a quality to the visual cinematics," explains Carpenter. "It's an amazing game. I'm a video game fan from the old days, and I love first person shooter games. I'm a big fan of DOOM, but this is a big step forward. This is a leap forward in terms of graphics which is the first thing you look at as a director. How does it look and how does it play and how does it feel?"

Ultimately, the key to a successful suspense sequence, according to Carpenter, is the same for a game or for a movie.

"There are no rules but one of the things is investment of character," says Carpenter. "The audience, whether it's for a game or for a movie, invests in the characters on screen and psychologically bonds with them. What happens to them is what emotionally happens to you. In F.E.A.R., you are the character, so you already step into it, assuming, that things will jump out and they will be frightening. I have to tell you, this is the scariest game I've played ... ever."

F.E.A.R. is currently available in stores for the PC platform only from Vivendi Universal for a retail price of $49.99. For ten dollars more, you can get a special edition Director's Edition DVD-ROM that allows you to watch the prequel movie that leads into the game among other extra goodies. For more information go to: www.whatisfear.com

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