Fairly early on in the last console generation, Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly was hard at work on a supernatural thriller called Come Midnight for the Xbox 360 and PS3. The game was to be a fusion of several different themes and genres, including noire, survival-horror, adventure, thriller, and a bit of romance. That sounds like a winning formula to me, but it would seem that someone at the now defunct THQ saw things differently.
In a chat with Eurogamer, former studio head Adrian Chmielarz expounded on the promising game, its extremely sudden cancellation, and why THQ was crazy to can it.
“You are a private eye and you start a normal investigation, but it turns out that there are some otherworldly powers at work, and you can communicate with the dead.” Chmielarz explained.
At one point the game’s lead, a detective, is killed. While he’s in a state of limbo, he gleans the ability to see into the afterlife. In terms of gameplay, this would translate to a power that lets him touch a corpse to see the final thirty seconds of their life.
“It was moody as f***,” Chmielarz said, “an incredibly moody game. Great narration, third-person perspective like Resident Evil mixed with LA Noire, and full of surprises.”
According to Chmielarz, Come Midnight had two things that were actively working against it, and that was how difficult it was to explain and the fact that they were still very early on in its development when THQ started to withdraw from Europe in the wake of their growing financial troubles.
“THQ seriously f***ed us over at this point,” he added. “They just cancelled. ‘OK we’re just cancelling the game – see ya.’ It’s all corporate bulls***; three weeks before, they cancelled all communication – no phone calls, stopped answering emails. Absolute a**holes.”
It’s not all bad. After that unfortunate situation, People Can Fly teamed up with Epic for Bulletstorm, an over-the-top and unapologetically juvenile shooter with tons of personality and a fantastic sense of humor. As for Chmielarz, he went on to found The Astronauts, an indie developer whose debut project looks pretty incredibly promising.
Below you’ll find some concept art from Come Midnight.
If you’ve been looking for closure on any long-cancelled horror games, this is shaping up to be a great week. First, we got news that the Wii horror game Sadness will be returning, and now this.
Dear wise and powerful Gaming Gods, please continue your generosity and bestow upon us some much-needed closure on Guillermo Del Toro’s InSANE.