Known for fan-favorite horror film anthologies such as Tales Of Halloween, Epic Pictures will debut its first video game release when Dread X Collection arrives later this month. A compilation of ten playable teasers, the studio, which handled the international distribution of V/H/S and owns popular horror site Dread Central and its gaming offshoot DreadXP, will donate a portion of each sale to Doctors Without Borders to help during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The Dread X Collection began as a way to provide a distribution platform for independent game developers, notably those financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis” says Epic Pictures CEO, Patrick Ewald. “In addition, we wanted to make sure that we’re including a way to generate funds for this global health crisis, so a significant portion of all sales will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.”
DreadXP’s Editor-In-Chief Ted Hentschke conceptualized the creation of Dread X Collection as an elevated version of a “game jam” in which a collection of aspiring developers are given a certain assignment and time frame to come up with a game. Hentschke tapped into his network of seasoned independent game developers including David Szymanski (DUSK), Airdorf (FAITH), Snowrunner Games (Soda Drinker Pro), Kyle Frost, a.k.a Mahelyk (SCP: Blackout), and more. All were given a week to create their own version of the subversive and influential release, P.T., for this forthcoming playable teaser collection.
“I found that P.T. consistently popped up in various conversations I’ve had with developers, with many wanting to create their own versions of the game,” Hentschke explains. “Not a remake, but instead their own playable teasers of their dream game that still has that same level of suspense and terror.”
The participating Dread X Collection developers include:
- Airdorf – His first major release was FAITH in 2017, a pixel horror game inspired by the era of 8-bit classic gaming and the “Satanic Scare” of the 1980s. He is known for making unique, retro-styled horror titles such as THE WIND, EXTRA ORDINARY, and EARL’S DAY OFF.
- Lovely Hellplace – An indie game studio founded by James Wragg in 2018 and based in Brighton, UK. With a mission to create unique worlds, rich with enticing narratives and innovative mechanics, the studio is currently developing the unusual open-world RPG, Dread Delusion.
- Mahelyk – Kyle Frost, a.k.a Mahelyk, has been developing games for over six years and is based in Dallas, Texas. His most recent work includes the virtual reality/desktop game SCP: Blackout, jam packed with horror, action, and SCP anomalies.
- oddbreeze – Founded in 2016 by Jonathan Chouinard, the Montreal-based studio recently wrapped up production on its first title, Crew 167 The Grand Block Odyssey. The vision for the studio is to develop great experiences, with a strong focus on compelling story-telling and amazing soundtracks.
- Scythe Dev Team – Originally starting as a music label before crossing into game development, their catalogue includes Northbury Grove, Northbury Grove: King’s Comfort, Senile Showdown, Walls Closing In, Entity, and Happy’s Humble Burger Barn, all of which take place in the Scythe Saga Universe.
- SecretCowLevel – A Los Angeles-based gaming studio founded by Justin Reynard, who has worked on Fallout: New Vegas, Alpha Protocol, and Dungeon Siege III. Their latest release is a reimagining of a digital collectible card game set in the world of mutant chronicles called Doomtrooper is currently in beta and set to release in spring 2020.
- Snowrunner Games – The brainchild of marketing, public relations and video game design guru, Will Brierly, the indie studio is responsible for the world’s only first-person soda drinking simulation, 2016’s Soda Drinker Pro.
- Strange Scaffold – The indie studio from award-winning Hypnospace Outlaw narrative designer Xalavier Nelson Jr. is currently developing An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs, a first-person open-world comedy adventure game about stock photo dogs.
- David Szymanski – American developer David Szymanski is the mind behind THE MOON SLIVER, FINGERBONES, and the retro-styled first-person shooter, DUSK, which challenges players to battle through an onslaught of mystical backwater cultists, possessed militants and even darker forces as they attempt to discover just what lurks beneath the Earth.
- Torple Dook – Influenced by obscure metal genres, wizards and demons, and forgotten folklore and mythology, the Texas-based game designer has been in the industry since 2015, and released his first foray into the world of indie game dev with the horror fishing game EARL’S DAY OFF.
Featuring a variety of game styles and set-ups the developers began to create their playable teasers on Monday. Images of the games in progress are already being posted on the developers’ social channels, and interested fans are encouraged to follow along to see how the collection is taking form in real-time.
Epic Pictures is planning on making Dread X Collection available for $7 later this month via itch.io, Steam and Humble Bundle, with $2 from each sale going to Doctors Without Borders (pending any discount promotions).