Friday, August 29, 2014

Whatever Happened With Sadness

Now that survival horror games are back in style, let's talk about one of them that was aiming to be something revolutionary in the previous generation, but ended in development hell long before it could become a complete product. Back when the Nintendo Wii was soon to launch (and still labeled as "Nintendo Revolution"), there were a lot of promises that were never fulfilled. For example, there was supposed to be a beat them up game called Project Hammer which would had the player using the Wii remote to make the robotic hero swing his giant hammer and smash enemies and objects alike, but it never happened. The one we are going to talk today was supposed to be a survival horror game that would fully use the Wii motion control features in order to give the player a really immersive horror experience. That horror game that never came was called Sadness.

Sadness game
Using a female aristocrat as the main character in an horror game was an interesting approach
as it mixes the life of the rich and powerful with the sensible approach of a woman, this time a sister.
Sadness was going to be a survival horror game developed for the Wii by a Polish company called Nibris. The first thing everybody noticed was that game's graphics were going to be entirely in black and white, sort of like one of those really old horror movies, but without the cheesy parts or silent dialogues. The main character in the game was going to be a woman called Maria Lengyel who was an aristocrat from the Victorian times. The woman finds herself in a pinch after the train he was travelling in is derailed and now she has to protect her now blinded brother and press on as they go deeper into the darkness that fills the place while her brother begins to exhibit some strange and creepy behavior.

Sadness Torch Concept
This live action concept looked very promising at the time.
In this game, the level of interaction was going to be its main focus with the player having to use full motion controls (not waggles) in order to protect Maria and her brother from harm. Examples of this were shown in live action concept videos where a woman was shown scaring off a pack of rats with a torch and protecting herself from the rain by using an umbrella. This was part of the promise of giving the player the freedom of using any object in the game to attack, defend or interact with the environment. Another part of the whole premise of Sadness was that there was going to be no HUD. The developers were aiming on giving the game a more cinematic feeling without HUD items or menus reminding you that it was just a game so, everything was supposed to feel as if it were a movie. To top things off, the game was going to feature a storyline with different branching points which would surely had led to different endings. All of this points out that as far as features go, Sadness would had been revolutionary if it were delivered as promised.

Sadness Werewolf
At first the game was been nicely treated with development updates coming at a monthly basis. A few concept art pictures and sketches were shown while the game was still in development and based on how they looked we can say that this game was going to have an environment a little similar to the one featured in The Order 1886 because of its old school European style. Enemies in this game had a mix of common and uncommon influences that could be seen in the few concepts that were shown. Some of them consisted of werewolves and even Slavic mythology creatures like Likho.

Sadness was starting to look like a game with a lot of promise, until they fell silent about it. Months went by and the Nibris website had the same pictures and videos with no updates whatsoever. Some years passed after their sudden silence and by 2010 Nibris ceased to exist as its parent company turned them into a coordinator, a decision that stopped all the projects they had been working with including Sadness. This was quite a disappointment to everybody who owned a Wii and was expecting to try this game as this was one of the very first concepts that promised to deliver the motion control revolution that Nintendo had promised.

A woman and her little brother, looking at this picture gives some sort of "The Last of Us" feeling.
I think these people were ahead of their time and could had made it big with this game.
Wrapping it up

Sadness is still nowhere to be found, but while it seems that the game is still in development hell, there are some articles like this one on Nintendo Life, that state that the game may be developed after all and released for the Wii U, so if you are still curious about how this game would had turned out, there is still hope. I personally expect it to be some kind of cross between The Last of Us, The Order 1886 and Clock Tower.

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