Game developer Lexis Numérique is crafting a unique survival horror experience for the PlayStation 3. AMY is a survival horror game headed to the PlayStation Network soon (estimated September 2011). What is unique about AMY is the unusual pairing and interaction of Lana, the protagonist, and Amy, an eight-year-old autistic girl. AMY is set in the year 2034 and takes place in a midwestern town. A virus is unleashed when a comet crashes and infects just about everyone. Lead character Lana is infected, but can sustain the infection when Amy is near or within sight. Why Amy isn’t infected is a mystery.
Djamil Kemal from Lexis Numérique walked me through a gameplay preview demo of AMY on the PS3. AMY is a steadily paced third-person game, more like Silent Hill and Alan Wake games than the heavy combat action of the latest Resident Evil 5. A feeling of trepidation is what the developers are looking for gamers to connect with the characters in AMY. You could see the hesitation in Amy from her movement and facial expressions. Amy never speaks throughout the game, so her feelings are carefully crafted for visual interpretation. The tension and cautiousness from Lana is also expressed by her head movements and eyes constantly scanning the area. Lana isn’t the stiff-necked heroine as seen in many games nowadays. Another method that expresses the tension from Lana is from the PS3 rumble feedback, when holding hands with Amy. I briefly controlled Lana when following a trail of blood, which led to an ever increasing heartlike thump on the PS3 controller. As I approached the door, Djamil quickly interrupted “no, don’t!” because clearly I was too curious to see what was behind the door (which could have brought the demo to an abrupt end). These kind of encounters need to be gauged with care. Players will need to decide when its right to fight or flight from the infected horde.
Care must be taken, as the lives of both Lana and Amy are at stake and represented as being frail. If Lana strays too far from Amy, you can see the virus overtaking Lana by the appearance of darkening veins. Being infected for a bit does confuse the monstrous horde that you are one of them. Amy’s size helps in navigating stealthily through some environments. As Lana, players can also direct Amy to open doors or fetch things.
The environments of AMY are dark and mysterious. Horde creatures are pretty creepy in of themselves. The details in AMY make this look like a retail game release, but it will be available for download from the PSN. Lexis Numérique wants to make the game accessible at a low price point, something Djamil expressed to me as part of their decision to releasing on the PlayStation Network. The pacing, unique characters and freaky environments had me sold on AMY. It is a PSN game you will want to lookout for, especially for those who enjoy well paced survival horror games. AMY was originally estimated for a June 2011 release, but is currently estimated for a September 2011 for some fine tuning before its release.