Tarsier Studios, originally named Team Tarsier, was founded fifteen years ago by a group of seven students in Sweden. In the time since, it gained lucrative first party support from Sony and its ranks have swelled to around 45 people, but much of the work the studio has done over the years has been attributed to other developers entirely. Tarsier was a contributor on the original LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 for PlayStation 3, and was responsible for LittleBigPlanet's port on the PS Vita. It also worked with Media Molecule on Tearaway Unfolded, the expanded PS4 remake of PS Vita exclusive Tearaway.
Before all that, though, the team had dreams of making a creepy third person adventure game called City of Metronome - the trailer even made it to E3 way back in 2005. It was never released, partly due to the developers being so new to the industry, but many of its themes and visual cues can still be seen alive and well in Little Nightmares, Tarsier's upcoming title that was renamed and re-announced last week. Previously called Hunger, Little Nightmares follows a little girl as she tries to escape a hellish vessel called The Maw, dodging all manner of horrors that mean to eat her, or worse.
The game blends a sort of child-like world-view with genuinely unsettling monsters, as the little girl clambers through and flees from situations that are all too big and scary for her. I got to have a hands-on with Little Nightmares while at Gamescom last week, and was impressed with how well it works to make you feel quite vulnerable. Armed only with a lighter and sneaking through several claustrophobic rooms, I was reminded of that feeling as a child of creeping yourself out by letting your imagination run away with the shadows a fairly innocent coat was casting on the back of your bedroom door. It'll have been a long time coming for Tarsier when the game launches early next year, but hopefully it'll have been worth the wait.
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