Interview: Death Knell Games on Thanatophobia

Last week I got to speak with Death Knell Games, the indie dev team behind Thanatophobia. Thanatophobia (which is the fear of death/dying) is a survival-horror title set to release towards the end of this year that will be in the same vein as the classic puzzle-based gameplay that the survival horror genre has since moved away from.

When Project Lead and Lead Artist John Pearce left university, he joined forces with Programmer Danny Goodayle to make a game that they themselves would love to play; “an old school survival horror, trying to have a bit of a resurgence of less shoot-y, headshot-y action and more psychological atmosphere, puzzles, that kind of thing.”


Andreas, Death Knell Games’ writer, gave a brief teaser on the game’s plotline:

“We can’t really speak too much about the story, but what we can do is give you a small taste. Your character is an ex-cop who’s chasing this renowned horrible serial killer and he’s just recently been tipped off to a hot location, which leads him to a place that will play an important role in Thanatophobia.”

They’re not giving much away at the moment, but it should certainly rouse an interest as it’s already looking like it will be  geared towards intelligent detective work and puzzle-solving, rather than the trigger happy horrors of modern gaming. That’s not to say there won’t be any combat, however, just that it won’t be the focus of the game.

[drop]Being a retired officer of the law, your character has a good amount of experience with firearms and the already announced Remington 12-Gauge (a shotgun to you and me) will surely come in handy, but you’ll have to choose when to pull the trigger carefully as the ammo is going to be scarce. You don’t want to use all your ammunition only to stumble upon some kind of monster whose features are only a lead-filled hole away from perfection.

It’s not just that ammo will be scarce, you won’t be able to carry too much of it (or anything else for that matter). Death Knell have likened the game’s inventory system to the one used in Resident Evil and, more recently, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. You will have only a limited space to carry items, and you’ll have to arrange them to fit. Ran out of space? You’ll need to sacrifice some items if you want to pick up more, then.

Thanatophobia is looking to be a very interesting game indeed. I know there are many who miss the fixed cameras, limited inventories and puzzle-based gameplay in the wake of the more action-oriented direction that Resident Evil, for example, has taken more recently. Bringing that style of gameplay back for a more modern audience is sure to get Death Knell Games some fans.

For now we’re going to have to wait until release, somewhere towards the end of the year. To keep you going, however, you can watch the short teaser trailer below, and listen to the full interview for tons more info right here.



  1. Nothing like some inventory tetris.

  2. Sounds interesting, the shift from survival horror to action horror leaves a perfect gap for indie devs such as Death Knell and Frictional Games with Amnesia: Dark Decent.

  3. Sounds interesting as I did like the earlier Resi games, so this should be right up my street.

  4. Sounds interesting.
    Bet my PC won’t be able to run it though.
    I really do need a new laptop…

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