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Heather Quinn is trapped inside a universe of gaming nostalgia – can you help her escape?

 
 
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Bedlam

  • PS4
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Genre: First Person Shooter / Action
  • Publisher: Vision Games Publishing Ltd.
  • Developer: Redbedlam

    An iconic era…

    Frag through the years

    Game characters

    An iconic era…

    Frag through the years

    Take on the role of bored research scientist Heather Quinn, who finds herself accidentally trapped inside the video game universe of her youth. Hop from one genre-defining experience to the next and rediscover the iconic gaming era which gave birth to the modern first-person shooter.

    Based on a novel from the award-winning author Christopher Brookmyre, Bedlam transports you back to the video game scene of the 1990s, affectionately recreating the most influential titles of the decade with comic charm and a dry wit. 

    Guide Heather on her journey through this vast interconnected game world and get lost in a shifting sea of gaming nostalgia. Bedlam invites you to relive those great moments of misspent youth and remind yourself why you fell in love with games in the first place.    

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    Behind the scenes with writer Christopher Brookmyre

    Everything you need to know about Bedlam

    Read the book? Now play the game

    Based off Chris’ novel of the same name, Bedlam on PS4 thrusts a new character – Heather Quinn/Athena – into a deadly video game universe. But don’t worry if you’ve finished the book – there’s plenty here to keep you engaged.

    “There is the same humour, the same philosophical underpinning and an overarching mystery,” says Chris. “However, the game offers a visceral, first-hand experience of battling through these worlds, rather than an account of someone else doing it.

    “It’s one of the reasons we decided to have Heather rather than Ross, the hero of the novel. We didn’t want anyone who had read it to feel they were playing out a story that had already been told. So as Heather you’re trying to track down Bedlam, but to do that you have to fight through the same worlds as he did.”

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    Bedlam is a love letter to first person shooters

    “Bedlam is about how the FPS has evolved,” says Chris. In the book, Ross explores a futuristic sandbox driving game, and he is able to journey between game worlds via a form of outer space. We decided early on in the game that we would concentrate on the first person shooter genre as our framework, partly as we didn’t want the player to have to keep learning new rules and controls, and partly because we thought it would be fun for the player to visit RPG fantasy worlds and play 2D arcade games, all from a first person perspective.

    “Our principal worry was that, as the first few levels had a deliberate 1990s aesthetic, players might think it was just some kind of retro-fest and assume that’s all there is to it. That’s why we designed it so that you encounter the first of the mysterious ‘glitches’ early on. This is to reassure the players that the visuals are going to get a lot shinier elsewhere, and to hint to them that there is something deeper going on in the story than what is apparent on the surface.”

    Equip your laughing gear

    Satire and humour are hugely important in Bedlam, as Chris explains: “We all loved the self-aware humour that ran through games like Serious Sam, Duke Nukem and Sin, and we want people to have a laugh playing this game. We want to convey that first person shooters should be fun and a playground for the imagination.”

    And, of course, with the many homages Bedlam pays to other games, you can expect a few familiar dialogue quips as well. “Calastria, our fantasy RPG realm, was largely inspired by Skyrim,” smiles Chris. “So we have an ‘arrow to the knee’ gag in there. You have to. It’s the law.”

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    A full clip of talent

    While Bedlam is an indie game, it’s still punching well above its modest budgetary weight. “Our budget was considerably lower than the average FPS, but fortunately we got a lot of talent from people who loved the idea and appreciated what we were trying to do,” explains Chris. “Consequently it looks, feels and sounds like it cost ten times what it actually did.

    “The music and sound design was all composed and recorded by Harvey Summers, whose CV includes music and sound design for Doctor Who. We’ve also got the fantastic voice talents of Robert Florence [Chewin’ the Fat; Consolevania] and Kirsty Strain [Taggart; River City].”

    Want to get ahead? Get these tips

    Chris has a few handy pointers to make sure you’re prepared for the mad world of Bedlam:

    “1. Think according to the gaming era in which you find yourself. You’ll make slow progress using cover tactics in a world evoking a '90s run-and-gun ethos, and similarly you’ll be ripped up if you try to run-and-gun in modern-day style cover-shooter levels.

    “2. Look out for the Diasporadoes decal in the shape of a Mobius Strip. The Diasporadoes are the resistance fighting to save the Gameverse. If you see their logo sprayed on a wall, it’s a clue there is something helpful nearby.

    “3. If your screen goes weird, don’t panic. Glitches are to be explored.

    “4. If it looks like something is erasing the map, do panic. That’s the Corruption. Run away.

    “5. Listen carefully to the dialogue you hear over comms channels or from inside buildings. One, because it may give you helpful hints; and two, because you will hear the many dodgy jokes that I toiled over.”

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    Chris’ game of life

    With Chris writing about characters trapped in a video game, has he ever wondered what his life would be if it became a PlayStation game? “It wouldn’t be an FPS because I get that in real life, plus they tend to take place in hellish locations, such as war zones, ravaged space stations or, in the case of DOOM III, literally in Hell,” he explains.

    “I’d like an open world where it was warm and sunny and lush, like Just Cause 2. As for the difficulty level, it would have to be God mode, because writers are used to playing God, with absolute control of the worlds we dream up.

    “I’d also have a train running through it, with a ‘quiet carriage’ and Gordon Freeman from Half Life, Chell from Portal and the various protagonists from DOOM and Quake, because none of them ever say a word…”

    Buy Bedlam for PS4

    Buy Bedlam for PS4