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‘Abandoned’ creator Hasan Kahraman: “It’s not really a horror game – it’s not what people think”

Blue Box Game Studios head Hasan Kahraman takes us inside the mysterious PS5 shooter

Abandoned. Credit: Blue Box Game Studios/Hasan Kahraman.
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The conspiracies surrounding Abandoned are truly spectacular. We’ve seen Hideo Kojima linked to the game while fans speculate that it could be the next Silent Hill or even a new Metal Gear. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Abandoned creator Hasan Kahraman struggles to deal with this on a daily basis. Now, he wants to set the record straight.

Abandoned definitely isn’t a Silent Hill game… and NME has the proof.

Abandoned is a shooter/survival game,” he told NME. “It has some horror elements in it but it’s not really a horror game. It’s not what people think – that it’s Silent Hill.”

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In fact, we know exactly what it is. Hasan gave us an exclusive rundown of Abandoned including plot details, how it plays – just about everything we could ever want to know.

We can finally debunk those rumours – it’s not a Silent Hill game. It’s not Metal Gear.

After giving us a lengthy breakdown of the game’s plot, Hasan asked us to keep it to ourselves. But one thing we can say is that Abandoned is absolutely not what you think it is. Not even close.

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“At first, we said it was going to be an open world game,” he explained. “But with the high-quality graphics we have now, we had to sacrifice that. It’s not really open world anymore – it’s a linear story.”

Abandoned follows the story of Jason Longfield after he awakes in a strange forest – that much was revealed already in a PlayStation blog when the game was first announced. Sinister overtones and some creepy-looking trees instantly suggest that Abandoned is some sort of survival horror. But after discussing Jason’s backstory at length, it’s clear that this isn’t a horror game at all. It’s something else entirely.

“The special thing about Abandoned is that it has a new game mechanic.”

Kahraman has touched on this before. Everything you do in the game has an effect on the player character. If you sprint, Jason gets out of breath and that, in turn, affects his aim. If he’s afraid, he’ll become nervous… and this will all affect how you’re able to play.

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“The way you explore, the way you receive damage, the way you just play the game is in a whole different way,” he explained. “That is achieved by high-end motion capture. We do motion capture ourselves, and we create systems for the game based on animation data.”

Survival will be a big part of Abandoned. That much is clear. But as for the horror – there’s not much of that to be seen. Certainly not to the same degree as Silent Hill or Alan Wake.

“I think this mechanic is something really awesome. What we have so far, it’s not ready for the public to see, but once it’s polished we’ll definitely show some footage. That’s why I’m so hyped about Abandoned because it’s new.”

It’s not just Kahraman who has been hyped about Abandoned. Subreddits swirl with conspiracy theories and snippets of info about the game everyone thinks is a Hideo Kojima project.

Kahraman insists that Hideo Kojima is not involved with Abandoned. “No,” he said when asked directly. “No, absolutely not.”

But Koj himself hasn’t exactly helped matters.

“A few days ago, Hideo Kojima posted on Twitter a doll of himself where he was standing with a zipped shut mouth on a blue box and he was really vague with it,” said Kahraman. “Because of that, a lot of people assumed that he was working on our Realtime Experience. This was after the delay, and he said ‘I wanted to change a few frames on the trailer, but everyone stay calm’. I think it was his way of trying to manage the craziness, to keep everyone calm, but other than that, we don’t really work with Kojima.”

The Realtime Experience has been a real pain point for Kahraman. Originally touted as a ‘trailer app’, it’s designed to allow users to experience Abandoned footage in-engine using PS5 hardware.

The idea is that it’s better than just a video clip. “What you see is what you play”. But after a string of delays the app has received a lot of criticism – largely because it didn’t really reveal much.

“It’s been a really big disaster,” admits Kahraman. “People are really disappointed.”

That disappointment comes largely from the fact that the newly-unveiled footage was already unveiled before the Realtime Experience app launch as a four-second video on Twitter.

But Kahraman explained that this was all done with the best of intentions:

“Basically, we had to cut out some footage from the opening teaser and I knew that it wasn’t a good idea to use the same footage that we had on Twitter and put in there, because it’s literally just four seconds of footage and it doesn’t give much. But we needed to do this because people wanted to have a patch, right? That was our first priority – just get the patch out there because we will be adding more content later.”

It seems the trouble began with some technical issues… and that left Kahraman with the heart-breaking decision to get whatever they could online.

“It started with engine issues when we had the patch delay and we couldn’t really resolve that,” he said. “We weren’t alone – we had some other teams working with that so, it got really out of hand. Maybe it’s because we use Unreal Engine 5, which is in early access, which is not really recommended for a project like this. But we did it anyway because we needed the features that it had.”

“The launch didn’t go well,” he admitted. “But definitely in due time, we’ll add more content to it and people will get to see that.”

As for this new content, users will notice a number of additional sections in the Realtime Experience app – namely a Cinematic Trailer and Playable Prologue. And it seems both of those will be coming soon.

“The Cinematic Trailer will be very soon… like, really soon,” Kahraman revealed. “At first, we wanted to launch it at GamesCom but we just have to see if we can reach that. GamesCom is like, a week from now? We don’t want the same mistakes – we don’t want to announce a date and then make it really tight again for us. Because if we screw it up, then I think that it will be screwed up forever. We want to make sure that we don’t announce a date yet but it’s just really soon that the Cinematic Trailer will be up.”

“The Playable Prologue will be a short time after the Cinematic reveal,” he added. “But again – we don’t want to announce a date. The one thing I’ve learned is don’t announce something too soon, you don’t want to make it too tight for yourself. But it will be soon, yeah.”

Both of these experiences will likely help Blue Box Game Studios ease the tension surrounding this project – allowing gamers to get a better idea of what Abandoned is really all about. As of right now, the gaming community only has their own ideas. And none of them are even close to the mark.

“The eyepatch,” said Kahraman, shaking his head. “The eyepatch. Everyone immediately linked it to Solid Snake. But I was like, ‘People think it’s Silent Hill so it wouldn’t make sense if people linked it with Snake’.”

The now-infamous image was revealed on Twitter – depicting a blurred shot of a man wearing an eyepatch. Unfortunately, fans jumped to some very wrong conclusions.

“I do have to admit that was a big mistake,” he said. “But there’s no changing it now because it’s too late. Once it’s up, it’s up.”

Although we can’t say too much, NME can confirm that this is absolutely not an image of Solid Snake. In fact, it depicts the game’s villain. It’s also not a stock image, as many fans believed.

“People were like, ‘No, that’s a stock image, it was ripped from this website, I can tell’. The thing is, it’s actually a MetaHuman-powered character. He looks bald, but he actually has facial hair, and he has some hair as well. But it’s so blurred that you don’t see that. The reason it’s blurred is because we want to surprise people – we didn’t want to give it away, But people misunderstood that, so from now on we’re not going to blur anything anymore.”

In fact, misunderstandings seem to plague Blue Box. The studio has received a lot of flak in recent weeks, being labelled as “scammers” due to a string of failed game launches.

“Team members of Blue Box, and also freelancers we work with, they don’t feel comfortable to show their faces right now,” he revealed. “It’s not fun being labelled as a scammer, right? So, yeah, that’s the reason why people don’t feel comfortable right now showing their faces or even publicly announcing that they’re involved with Abandoned.”

“I’m really depressed right now,” added Kahraman. “I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. The biggest thing that’s bugging me is just that people are labelling us as scammers. That is the big thing that really, really hurts me. Because that is not my intention at all, you know?”

Abandoned is set to launch on PS5 sometime in 2022.

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