Bloody Hell Hotel — horror from the first person… It is also a Stardew Valley style control simulator

0

IGN can exclusively reveal Bloody Hell Hotel, a game that sees you playing a vampire setting up a hotel business, then feasting on the guests (not to mention farming, dungeon crawling, and more).

Led by Wlad Marhulets (creator of indie horror Darq) and backed by talent with experience on the likes of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Baldur’s Gate 3 and Disney movies, the team is aiming to make “the most ambitious first-person simulation game in existence.” Think of it as a first-person Stardew Valley… except you can eat all the villagers.

It’s certainly a unique pitch. The game casts you as a vampire who has awoken from a centuries-long coma, finding their once-grand estate in ruins. You’re then tasked with rebuilding it as a hotel, with full control over room placement, decor, and upgrades (with many choices affecting gameplay). That rebuild is helped along in a number of ways, including farming, dungeon crawling and, of course, earning money from guests.

The extra twist is that you can also automate parts of the hotel management by using vampiric powers, gained by consuming blood – meaning your guests are a resource in more ways than one. As your hotel grows you can also hire other vampires as staff. In return for money and blood, they can work on reception, as cooks, cleaners, and more.

Farming takes place under the hotel, and utilises crops and zombie animals. “As with every system in the game,” explains Marhulets, “tasks can be performed manually or be semi-automated with the use of vampiric powers that the player unlocks as they level up.”

If you run out of meat for your menu, guests can be an unwitting source…“

You can use farmed goods in recipes, which can range from wild mushrooms you find in the hotel, to zombie meat meals farmed from dungeons. And if you do run out of meat for your menu, guests can also be an unwitting source…

Speaking of dungeons, these are procedurally generated areas found in the hotel’s crypt. “That’s where the player will find the resources required for hotel upgrades,” says Marhulets. “Resources are guarded by monsters that the player will have to face.” To take down those monsters, you’ll be crafting weaponry in the hotel blacksmith:

“The player can forge their own weapons from scratch, choose materials, customize design, shape, etc.,” says Marhulets. “It’s these choices, combined with the unlockable combat skills and the use of vampiric powers, that will play a major role in melee combat. I’d like to add that combat isn’t meant to be an adrenaline-filled experience – it’s more casual in nature, so it fits well within the simulation genre. Think of it as exploring caves in Stardew Valley, but in a twisted Tim Burton-like 3D world.”

Marhulets makes clear that this isn’t a story-driven game, although elements of lore will appear as you progress. “The gameplay is non-linear and gives the player a lot of freedom to do what they want,” he says. “That’s why the story doesn’t have an important role to play and is there mostly to enhance the experience.”

That non-linearity means you can try to roleplay the game to an extent – we made sure to ask whether it was possible to play the game as a ‘nice’ vampire who doesn’t murder their guests. Marhulets says that’s totally possible – and that it can even have its own benefits:

“Killing guests is also not that simple and there are choices to be made when doing so. Guests only pay for their stay if they leave the hotel alive, so the hotel cannot grow if the player simply kills all guests. In addition, guests have various traits that affect their behavior.

“For example, guests with the “Insomniac” trait don’t go to sleep and wander around the hotel at night, which makes it harder to sneak into the guest rooms undetected. The disappearance of Royalty will be noticed and investigated. There are various types of guests and their traits affect not only their behavior in the hotel but also the consequences of killing them.”

Even at this early stage, it’s clear that Bloody Hell Hotel has huge possibilites for systems to interact and affect one another, and it’s designed to be a technically endless experience. However, Marhulest expects players “to do multiple long runs trying out various game styles rather than sticking to one for hundreds of hours. From the game design standpoint, Bloody Hell Hotel is meant to have a high replayability value.”

Bloody Hell Hotel’s key art shows off its distinctive art style.

Despite its dark trappings, Marhulets explains that this isn’t meant as a straight horror game, and is more inspired by his love of Tim Burton movies as a child. While that’s clear enough in the art style (directed by Kelsey Haley, an artist with experience at Dreamworks, Disney, Universal Studios, and South Park), it goes deeper into the intent of the game as a whole:

“My passion for gothic horror and dark comedy started in early childhood, he explains. “Combining the two seemed like a perfect fit and made me feel super excited. Speaking of horror, Bloody Hell Hotel is more of a dark comedy. As the title suggests, expect some blood, but the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t meant to be scary.”

The game will be coming to PC (via Steam, Epic and GOG), and will also arrive on consoles (although which ones haven’t yet been specified). The one question the director seems unable to answer is when we might see the game arrive, simply because he doesn’t want to have to delay the game if things change.

“Bloody Hell Hotel is more of a dark comedy. As the title suggests, expect some blood, but the game doesn’t take itself too seriously.”“

“Given the crazy mission behind this project (creating the most ambitious game in this genre), it’s hard to predict the release window at this point. While I have a milestone schedule in mind, I’d rather keep it private until the game is finished and polished. I want to be able to experiment, try new things, revise, and change various aspects of the game if needed without having to go back on my word.”

Unlike many of its peers in the management genre, plan is release the game as a full experience from the off, without using an Early Access period. But that isn’t to say Marhulets doesn’t want community input – and even promises credits and copies of the game who make “significant contributions” to development through Discord:

“I encourage people to wishlist the game on the platform of their choice and keep an eye on regular development updates. All feedback & ideas contributed by the community will be appreciated and carefully considered.

“For example: please help us name the cow. I’ve been trying to come up with a name for months!”

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here