Syren is a VR survival horror game which takes place in an underwater facility, which sits above of ruins of the ancient lost civilization of the Syrens, mermaid-like creatures. The scientists who worked in the lab wanted to recreate those lost species that once existed in that place. However, things went terribly wrong. You wake up in a ruined facility where the station reactor becomes critical, you found out that you are not alone and something is hunting you down. You must discover a way to stay alive and escape the facility. You have limited time, and a danger can come from any direction.
When I first saw the Syren trailer it immediately brought up some memories from movies like Aliens and The Abyss. It's the moody and horrific atmosphere, the music and the contrast of the silence, that makes you feel claustrophobic and knowing you are facing the unknown.
The game takes place in a deep underwater facility, and the developers wanted to give you that sense of isolation. To do so, the facility has transparent windows that give you a chance to get a glimpse of the outside underwater are sorrounding the facility, so you can get a better sense of isolation being locked in a place underwater. You can see a screenshot on their website at hammerheadvr.com, the lighting and reflections play a significant role to make that place much more believable. This helps to further enhance the immersion of the player in this science fiction world. If you are scared of closed underwater places, the developer seemed to have made sure that this fear will be experienced in this game.
Judging by the trailer and the game's screenshots, it definitely feels like you are in some type of a top-secret high-tech research facility. The game was developed using Unreal Engine 4, and you can clearly see how good the rendering is, especially the lighting. A proper use of lighting is very important in horror games. The lighting is what helps to create a dramatic scene, and what helps to trigger feelings of fear and uncertainty. This mechanical lab design does feel 'cold' and knowing that you are probably the sole survivor and where there is no one to interact with, further increase the feeling of isolation.
Syren mixes both stealth and survival game elements. Also like escape the room games, there are puzzles which you need to solve in order to progress through. The game is made using a series of room-scale scenes, each one poses its own challenges and risks.
The developer Hammerhead have an experience in developing great VR games and experiences. You might probably have heard about their previous projects like Abduction and Abe VR. According to the company, SYREN is their first game in a new series of sci-fi and fantasy titles.
In order to develop a horror game, you also have to understand the key concepts of what makes people scared and how to create jump scares and an environment that really produce an emotional response from the player. It's like directing a movie in a way, and judging by screenshots and the trailer, it seems that Hammerhead might nail it just right.
The game's release date is teased as coming soon to PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. I'm really impressed with what I've seen so far and I'm looking forward to seeing more of what the developer planned for us in this what seems like an amazing virtual reality horror survival game.