'Scanner Sombre' is Introversion's take on the pretty walking simulator

Introversion, the developer behind such classics as Uplink and Darwinia and more recently the hit Prison Architect, has debuted a new game: Scanner Sombre. First seen in an update video as a prototype back in April 2016, the game is now complete and will be available to buy on Steam in just two days’ time.

Said to be inspired by games like Gone Home and Dear Esther, Scanner Sombre is an experience of exploration through points of light. Using a handheld LIDAR scanner and an in-game headset that paints the world in points that the user highlights, players gradually build up the physical make-up of the world, with color coding used to designate distance in a subterranean system.

Introversion describes the game as having a “terrifying theme,” so it seems likely to go beyond awe-inspiring visuals as it proceeds. The figures that seem frozen in place suggest something has gone awry, though it is clear from the trailer and screenshots that Scanner Sombre will be a game that awes the audience with its aesthetics.

The creators have in the past said that they hope it will be an experience that people feel something with, which certainly puts it in the same category as games like Firewatch and Gone Home, despite those titles being derided as ‘walking simulators’ by some.

It isn’t likely to be the longest of games, but its sub-$15 price tag keeps it far from the AAA expectations many gamers may have had otherwise.

One of the more surprising features of the game though has been the lack of fanfare attending its launch. Apart from the original prototype gameplay shown in April last year, Introversion hasn’t said much about it. Most contemporary games are teased for months or even years before release, with much discussion between fans and the developers. Not so with Scanner Sombre, which has remained under the LIDAR, so to speak, until now.

Scanner Sombre is currently up on Steam, but interested potential buyers will need to wait until Wednesday, April 26 for it to go on sale. However, it can be pre-ordered on GoG for $9.50 and if you do so now, you’ll receive several previous Introversion games for free, including Uplink, Darwinia and Defcon.

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