THE CARETAKER Dares You to Explore a Haunted Hotel in VR

Posted on by HB Duran

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The Caretaker demo is available now for Oculus Rift and it has gamers screaming, “He’s got the SHINNIN’!”

If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Shining, you’re not alone. UK-based game developer, Fran Boot has created a frightening VR game that allows you to explore the Overlook, err, Overview Hotel in all its stylish and yet nightmarish glory.

This beautiful demo was crafted using Unreal Engine 4, and I heard about it when the Epic Games team showed us the trailer on a live stream. Developer, Franbo, makes no attempt to hide the source material. “The Caretaker takes a lot of inspiration from The Shining,” Franbo told me, “and this has been an attempt to emulate in a small way some of its atmosphere. I hope that for as many people as possible, it goes some way to doing that! I hope that it works as an example of how to build horror experiences for VR without relying heavily on jump-scares – but most of all I hope that it encourages people to take another look at the great film that it pays homage to!”

The Caretaker leaves you alone to face the horrors of The Overview in this spooky trailer:

When asked about inspiration for the game, Franbo replied, “Firstly, I absolutely love The Shining, and have thought for some time that VR would be a fantastic way in which to explore a location inspired by it. VR has the power to make people feel vulnerable in a way that traditional screen-based games can’t – so it felt like a perfect medium to try to pay homage to the atmosphere of the film.”

“If you’re making horror for VR, the temptation is to pack it full of jump-scares. That’s a sure-fire way to get screams from the player, but I wanted to build as much tension as possible without resorting to them, just as the film I took inspiration from did.”

“I made an attempt at this through use of unsettling audio and visuals, but through the level design too. I tried to build lots of faces into my hotel’s architecture, so that it felt on some level that you’re being watched by the building itself. There are several big examples of this throughout the level; I wonder if people can spot them?”

Don’t have an Oculus Rift? Watch a hands-on playthrough of The Caretaker demo, hilariously scaring the pants off of Game Hard 4.0:

VGNS: I love the music we hear in the bar – what is it?

Franbo: That’s a loop taken from a free track on Kevin McCleod’s fantastic website, Incompetech – it’s called “In Your Arms”. The other synthesizer washes throughout, I made myself in FL Studio.

If you DO have an Oculus Rift, check out The Caretaker for yourself. The demo is available now for download through Oculus Share, WEARVR, or the official Franbo website. Do you have the guts to be The Caretaker? Leave your comments below!

HB Duran
VGNS Founder, HB Duran is a gamer, artist, musician and occasional game dev. From early forays into all-night NES sessions, her career has blossomed into working as a game industry journalist, artist, QA tester and consultant. “HB” plays a variety of game genres and platforms, but is best known for her love of Silent Hill.

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