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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: The New Sound

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  • Vladimir Villanueva, Artist, The Dreaded Raven Song

    'You don't belong here,' the foster witch coughed to her apprentice, Kataline. The girl had lived with the witch as far as she could remember, but not without trouble, not without the undying. 'Remember the Dreaded Raven Song,' the witch's final instructions had commanded, 'or you will stay in this silent city for more than your mortal years.'

    Thus begins the lyrical horror adventure set for any current generation game console. Armed with a thumping locket, players must direct Kataline's usage of the soul-inspiring Dreaded Raven Song to escape the subterranean domain.

    Players guide Kataline through the muted city with the left analog stick while all the face buttons are mapped to a verse from the Dreaded Raven Song, a chant that is not a single song but a set of lyrics used to create enchanted arias. Pressing or holding any face button down will cause Kataline to tunelessly hum a simple lyric, enhancing her physical capabilities from jumping high by tapping the bottom face button to quickly running so long as the left face button is pressed.

    Unique challenges will require specific verses that the apprentice must sing in time with the heartbeat of her target. Assisting Kataline to stay in tune is the thumping locket, a jeweled heart which is represented at the upper left corner of the screen next to her health. By holding the left shoulder button down, the audibility of Kataline's own heartbeat will heighten as the locket blinks in rhythm. By continuously pressing specific face button combinations in time with her heartbeat, players may string lyrics to perform and maintain unique personal empowerments, from seeing in pitch darkness to lifting heavy rubble.

    While set in a hushed and seemingly empty city, Kataline rarely travels alone. Haunting her surroundings are the ghostly undying, incessantly whispering their intent to make her their own. The apparitions will harass and interrupt Kataline at every chance, suddenly smashing windows, hurriedly locking doors, to materializing into teething, rabid fiends. Often inaudible and invisible, only the locket can give forewarning of their presence, brightly reddening the closer an undying draws near.

    Kataline's only defense against the undying is by appealing to their sanity with the Dreaded Raven Song. By holding the right shoulder button down, Kataline will focus on the faint heartbeat of the nearest apparition: the apprentice must tread closer to better hear the heartbeat of the undying. In growing silence, the undying will give away three heartbeats at best. Successfully pressing any face button in tune to the undying's heartbeat will slowly urge their sanity to take control while rhythmically chanting certain lyrics together by pressing specific face button combinations will imbue various effects, from instilling temporary silence to freezing the victim in place. However, if Kataline fails to consistently sing in tune, there will be screams and pain.

    Singing the Dreaded Raven Song at every step, Kataline might yet escape by harmonizing with the hearts of the undying, inadvertently making a place for herself in their found soul.


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