Bloober Team's silver-screen-themed follow-up to 2016's wonderful haunted house horror, Layers of Fear 2, is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam on May 28th.
While the original Layers of Fear charted the mental disintegration of a successful painter, locked away in the ever-changing corridors of his sprawling gothic mansion, its sequel takes aim at a different kind of art form. This time around, players take on the role of a fading Hollywood actor, summoned aboard a glorious Art Deco ocean liner by an enigmatic movie director who seems to know a little too much.
"Your past has helped to mold you into what you are, forced upon you the skills required to hone your craft," explains Bloober Team, "That same past has scraped deep furrowing scars into you, not on the outside where the world can see, but in a place buried so deep within that it has become shapeless. You push those memories down but let the experiences drive you into who, or what, you must play."
Although disorientating, ever-shifting geography appears to once again be the order of the day in Layers of Fear 2 (which is absolutely fine by me, given the strength of the first game's strikingly inventive, spatially impossible set-pieces), the atmosphere of its ocean liner setting should help conjure a different sort of seeping terror, as should the sequel's surreal, classic-cinema-inspired sequences, drawing on the likes of Georges Méliès and Alfred Hitchcock.
Layers of Fear 2 stars horror maestro Tony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination), and features an original score by Arkadiusz Reikowski - who did some memorable work on Layers of Fear 1 and Bloober's arresting sci-fi scare-'em-up Observer.
As someone who's thoroughly enjoyed Bloober Team's previous, frequently breathtaking forays into distinctive, hallucinatory horror - despite the occasional rough spots - I've high hopes for Layers of Fear 2. We'll know how things turned out when the house lights dim and the curtain rises on May 28th. And if you don't mind a few spoilers, you can watch 13 minutes here.