Open-world game design has been a subject of debate over the recent years. Some, who remember the halcyon days, have grown tired of seeing game UI drenched in waypoint markers and icons. Others, I’m sure, would get forever lost without them. For the fans of the former, who enjoyed the open nature of games like Elden Ring and Breath of the Wild, there’s another game on the horizon that might suit your tastes. Nacon and Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, who worked on games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, has revealed Hell is Us, a semi-open world game that eschews those tedious markers.
The game is coming from Jacques-Belletête, now a part of developer Rogue Factor, as the project’s creative director. Under publisher Nacon, the team is crafting Hell is Us as a game that seeks to set the player in the world before patting their butt and sending them meandering on.
Hell is Us is an action-adventure game that sets you in the middle of a civil war-torn country. There are mysteries to unravel, such as the origin of supernatural beings that resemble “ancient headstones and monuments in the region.” Naturally, it’s your job to gear up with equipment and weapons to beat these things back into the dirt.
Where do I go now?
The selling point of Hell is Us is that the game urges exploration by removing clear, omnipresent direction. There’s no quest log, nor are there “precise” waypoints to find. The game invites players to move at their own pace and wander about, looking for the next point of progress.
“Our goal with Hell is Us is to bring back true adventure and exploration,” said Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, Creative Director on the project. “There’s no need for a detailed quest log or precise waypoint on the map: we want players to feel the thrill of adventure, guided by their feelings and instincts.”
Hell is Us is powered by Unreal Engine 5, and will launch for PC in 2023.