is a puzzle-platformer adventure video game developed and published by independent studio Playdead. In the game the player controls a young boy in a monochromatic... read more
is a puzzle-platformer adventure video game developed and published by independent studio Playdead. In the game the player controls a young boy in a monochromatic landscape, solving environmental puzzles while avoiding death in a 3D sidescrolling fashion, thematically and visually similar to Limbo.
Playdead started working on Inside shortly after the release of Limbo. Initially, the company used a custom game engine for Limbo, but used Unityto simplify development, with partial funding from the Danish Film Institute. It premiered at Microsoft's E3 2014 conference, and was originally to be developed for platforms, such as OS X and Linux. Afterwards, it was delayed from release in 2015 to mid-2016 and was to be released for the Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. A demo was released at Microsoft's PAX Prime event in August 2015, and was revealed at the Xbox E3 2016 conference.
Inside was released for Xbox One on 29 June 2016, Microsoft Windows on 7 July, and PlayStation 4 slated for 23 August. The game received near-unanimous acclaim upon release, with some critics and reviewers calling it a worthy successor to Limbo.
Inside is a puzzle platformer in which the player character is a young red-shirt boy who explores a surreal environment presented as a primarily monochromatic 2.5D game, using color only to highlight parts of the environment. The game is very dark in nature and mostly silent, with only occasional musical cues. The player controls an unnamed red-shirted boy who walks, runs, swims, climbs, and uses objects to overcome obstacles and progress in the game. Later the boy gains the ability to control bodies to complete certain puzzles, a mechanic that IGN's Marty Sliva compared to a similar mechanic in The Swapper. At various points in the game, the player may discover hidden rooms containing glowing orbs. If all the orbs are deactivated during a playthrough, the player can unlock the game's alternate ending.
The boy character can die in various ways, such as being shot with a tranquilizer dart, mutilated by dogs, ensnared by security machines, partially blown apart by shockwaves, or drowning. As in the predecessor game Limbo, these deaths are presented realistically and often graphically. The game continues from the most recent checkpoint.
A nameless red-shirted boy slides down a rocky incline. While running through a forest, he encounters masked guards with flashlights, as well as vehicles with mounted spotlights. If these lights fall on the boy, the guards will pursue him or set vicious dogs to chase him. He must escape these guards, then cross a road (where a block has been set up with more vehicles and guards) to a farm where parasitic worms cause pigs to run rampant. The boy must use the animals and farm equipment to escape to the city where lines of zombie-like people are moved through mind control. Beyond the city is a large factory of flooded rooms, a shock-wave atrium, and a laboratory environment where scientists are performing underwater experiments on bodies.
While traversing these areas, the boy uses a mind-control helmet to solve puzzles by controlling lifeless grey bodies. The boy eventually comes across an underwater siren-like creature that attaches a device onto him. This allows the boy not only to utilize mind control without a helmet, but also to breathe underwater.
Continuing through the office/laboratories, the boy eventually sees many of the scientists running toward a large spherical container. There the boy sees a large blob-like creature resembling the mind-control helmets but made up of humanoid arms, legs, and heads connected to four rods in the container. After disconnecting them, the boy is pulled into the creature.
The creature escapes confinement, crashing through various offices and work areas, killing some of the scientists in its path. Some scientists make attempts to capture or hinder the creature to no avail, while others attempt to direct it into a dark room where the creature is trapped in another tank. Escaping again, the creature breaks through a wooden wall, rolls down a thick forest hill, and rests at a grassy coastline in a sunbeam. The game ends with the creature silently and motionlessly bathing in the sunlight. Some theories speculate that the creature is still inside the facility, and that the sunlit ending is an illusion or an hallucination meant to prevent further escape attempts.
If the player deactivated the hidden light orbs, an alternate ending is unlocked. Underneath a cornfield at the farm, an underground bunker will be revealed. Opening a large door will show the player a room where a mind control helmet is connected to various computers. If the boy unplugs a socket on a wall, the room darkens and the boy will go limp like the walking bodies, implying that he is now one of them.
Playdead released the monochromatic Limbo in July 2010, which was critically praised and sold over one million units. Within a few months of its release, Playdead began development on their second game under the working title "Project 2". As a spiritual successor to Limbo, Inside reclaimed assets from Limbo's development. Playdead said that the two games were similar, though Inside is more "crazy", "weird", and 3D. The Danish Film Institute provided part of the game's funding.
While Playdead had built a custom game engine for Limbo, they chose Unity to reduce their workload. The developers created a temporal anti-aliasing filter for the engine, entitled "temporal reprojection", to create a signature look for Inside. In March 2016, Playdead released the source code under open source license.
Microsoft announced Inside during its E3 2014 press conference. Prior, the game had been planned for release on non-Microsoft platforms, including the PlayStation 3 and OS X. Playdead had purposely waited four years so as to give little time between the announce event and the launch. IGN's Ryan McCaffrey wrote that the announcement was a sign of Microsoft's commitment to indie game development and said it was his biggest surprise of the year. The developer later delayed the game from its expected early 2015 release for further refinement of the game, but provided no expected launch window. A playable demo was prepared for an August 2015 Microsoft event before PAX Prime. With the delay, Playdead only planned for initial release on the Xbox One and Windows, but has expressed interest in other consoles in the future.
Playdead announced Inside's release dates during E3 2016, and as a limited-time promotion, let players download Limbo for free in advance of the title's release. Inside was released for Xbox One on 29 June 2016, and for Windows via Steam on 7 July. A PlayStation 4 version is to be release on 23 August.
Martin Stig Andersen composed and designed Inside's soundtrack, returning from Limbo. Andersen was inspired by 1980's B horror films, often using synthesizers, but did not want to compose actual soundtrack. Instead, he created the music by routing sound through a human skull and recording the result, a "bone-conducting sound" that created a "sombre, chill quality" that often contrasted to Inside's visuals.
Inside has tighter integration of the gameplay and audio, with some puzzles set directly to visual-musical cues. This required Andersen to work more closely with the gameplay developers than he had in Limbo. This also enabled additional visual elements tied to the audio; Andersen noted that the boy's chest movements related to breathing are tied to the sound effects he created for his breathing, which themselves are influenced by where the character is in the game, with differences being calm and panicked emotions depending on location. Andersen also suggested the design team on the game's overall structure and pacing to provide scenes where the music builds up atmospheric tension.