Based in San Francisco, CA
August 2nd, 2016
After your plane crash-lands in Antarctica, you find yourself stranded and alone at an abandoned research facility in the midst of a deadly blizzard. Plunged into utter darkness, temperatures 100 degrees below zero, and conditions far too harsh to allow for rescue, you must explore Sutro Station and and use the tools at your disposal in hopes of escaping and finding your way home. Not a survival game, but instead a game about surviving, Near Death pits you against an incredibly cruel opponent: Antarctica. Never more than a few minutes from freezing to death in the darkness of polar night, you must reclaim the station from the elements and fight for your life in a terrifying environment that’s more like another planet than the world you know.
Originally started as another mostly-solo project after The Novelist, the idea for Near Death grew from a lifelong fascination with extreme environments and Antarctica in particular. After doing extensive research, including interviews with actual Antarctic scientists and travelers, Kent Hudson created a deeply simulated prototype of Antarctic exploration and base management, rooted in the survival game genre. Realizing that the traditional mechanics of survival games didn't capture the visceral, moment-to-moment terror of Antarctica's overwhelming storms and extreme weather, he abandoned the survival genre and refocused the game on the intense, immersive experience of fighting to live in a world that does nothing but try to kill you. At this point, Ryan Mattson left his job in AAA and joined the team to bring his expertise in level design, and game design in general, to the project. Alex Munn joined as a part time artist shortly thereafter, and the three embarked on creating this new vision for the game. An intense eight months later, Near Death was announced for its 2016 launch.
- A fully explorable Antarctic research station with seamless open world navigation over an unforgiving landscape.
- Unique gameplay and innovative player tools suited to the harsh realities of a frigid, dark continent. Mark your way with light trails in zero-visibility storms, melt frozen obstacles to explore the base in search of much-needed supplies, create pockets of warmth with a personal heater, and more.
- A dynamic weather system that utilizes snow, wind, temperature, and lighting to create a multitude of Antarctic conditions ranging from blinding whiteouts to brief moments of calm.
- A real-time temperature simulation that freezes and thaws the environment room by room based on exposure to the elements, building layouts, the base’s power system, and your own ability to establish safe areas with makeshift repairs.
- Discoverable blueprints and upgrades that enhance your capabilities and increase your ability to withstand the cold.
- An original score of haunting ambient music that amplifies the isolation of Sutro Station.
Launch Trailer YouTube
Announcement Trailer YouTube
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- "It’s a tense, lean, and tightly paced exercise in endurance, and one of my favorite games of the year."
- Adi Robertson, The Verge
- "The mechanics are spot-on, and the game ramps up its difficulty in a ladder that scales with the growing intensity of the snowstorm outside, slowly allowing you to accumulate various skills, upgrades, and tactics in the process. Near Death succeeds at creating a taut and fulfilling experience."
- Katherine Cross, Gamasutra
- "Other “lonely games” can feel like delivery mechanisms for nonlinear narrative, games in which the point of moving from place to place is to experience a new drop of story. Near Death is more consistently focused on the interactivity of doing things. In that way, it is more akin to dialogue-light survival movies like the desperate one-man high seas sailboat disaster movie All Is Lost or the one-challenge-after-another problem-solving depicted in The Martian. The story is less about what anyone says but about what happens to you and what you do about it.
The narrow focus of Near Death is appealing. Its designers succeed in presenting a refreshingly simple game about a straightforward struggle to live. They simply pit you against the cold, and they have erected an arduous and interesting interactive obstacle course you must overcome to survive."
- Stephen Totilo, Kotaku
- "In this ZAM exclusive, Near Death's Kent Hudson (Bioshock 2, The Novelist) shares why Antarctica is the closest thing we have to a hostile alien world on our own planet."
- Kris Ligman, Zam
- "Near Death is about being alone and scared. The drama presented here isn’t a story of group dynamics, but of individual fortitude. Near Death foregoes the terror of others to focus on the terror of the self. A lonely mind stranded in a wintry desert is plenty capable of paranoia on its own."
- Michelle Ehrhardt, Kill Screen
- "Set in an Antarctic research station, you play as a shipwrecked pilot trying to survive the very hostile climate of -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Given the dreadful weather, you'll have to contend with the cold and low visibility as you make your way through the research station and the snowy plains nearby in hopes of finding help."
- Jeffrey Matulef, Eurogamer
- "The Novelist was a thoughtful hands-off Poltergeist-meets-Gone Home-type endeavor, and Near Death marks a distinct change in direction for developers Orthogonal Games. Announced yesterday, the Californian outfit’s upcoming survival-a-thon pits you against the elements and is the result of the developer’s lifelong fascination with Antarctica."
- Joe Donnelly, Rock Paper Shotgun
About Orthogonal Games
Orthogonal Games is an independent, self-funded game studio founded by Kent Hudson in San Francisco. Its latest project is Near Death. Its first project was The Novelist.
More information on Orthogonal Games, our logo & relevant media are available here.
Near Death Credits