If you were gaming in the PS1 days, you’ll remember how exciting it was to encounter a rare retail double jewel case. They were usually reserved for big RPGs with even bigger instruction booklets and impressive full motion video, usually from Squaresoft, but not always.
Final Fantasy VII was notably shipped on three discs, while point-and-click classic Riven arrived on a whopping five pieces of physical media. Resident Evil 2 was a two-disc game, as was Parasite Eve. Then there was the Eidos-published cel-shaded Fear Effect, sitting pretty in the middle somewhere with a respectable four discs, and that was because this futuristic Blade Runner-esque dystopian horror adventure featured awesome looping FMV backgrounds.
For the Zoomers reading this, it was practically a Sony contractual obligation to include some kind of full motion video in every PlayStation game, even if it didn’t make artistic or practical sense. Still, the FMVs in Fear Effect were my absolute favorite part of the experience.
Sure, the of-their-time tank controls weren’t great, and the difficulty was a bit uneven, but I have very fond memories of the game and its sequel, Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix. Both titles were rather controversial for the time, including some boundary-pushing violence and sexual theming. Tame by today’s standards, of course. However, the entire setting of 2050 Hong Kong was divine and dripped with gritty neon style.
I thought this coveted 32-bit software was lost to the sands of PlayStation time, but much to my surprise and delight, a teaser trailer for a remake of the first game — Fear Effect Reinvented — was published earlier today:
The gameplay footage showcases a significantly changed Fear Effect, which is now a completely third-person affair, stocked with improved controls, cover mechanics and fast-paced action. Gone are the charming pre-rendered CG backgrounds, the fixed camera angles and signature FMV looping, omissions that I take certain nostalgic issue with. I mean, I totally get why they were cut out in order to implement necessary improvements, but is this really Fear Effect without them?
Early press info states that the remake, which is being developed by Megapixel Studio and published by Forever Entertainment (House of the Dead: Remake), will feature the “original story [which has been] expanded to three separate campaigns”.
It’s a shame that Kronos Digital Entertainment, the original Fear Effect developer, disbanded before the third game for PS2, Fear Effect Inferno, could be finished. Publisher Eidos apparently cancelled it for budget reasons, and finally in 2018, a Kickstarted third game was released called Fear Effect Sedna, which I need to get around to playing.
With a cryptic release date of “coming sooner than you think” and no official platforms announced just yet, Fear Effect Reinvented definitely has my attention, but I’m fully aware that this won’t be the quirky Fear Effect I grew up with. And truthfully, if the new developers can pull off a decent modern transition for the franchise, the changes could be welcome, and may end up ushering in an accompanying remake for Retro Helix.
I’ll always proudly remain a pre-rendered background FMV curmudgeon, though. Comes with the territory.