Solo horror hit Slender gets Source-y

A co-op version of Slender you say? Tell me more! Actually...it's probably safer if you don't.

Everyone and their dog (currently missing, last seen near the spooky woods at the edge of town) has been raving about zero-budget indie horor sensation Slender, and for good reason. In spite of its quirks, modest graphics, and being essentially 3D Monster Maze set in a forest with the T Rex replaced by a teleporting Slender Man, it’s still one of the most effective horror games I’ve had the dubious pleasure to experience. Though ultimately a one-trick pony it performs that one trick very, very capably indeed, resulting in a deliciously spooky solo experience far greater than the sum of its simple parts.

A group of enterprising modders over at moddb.com believe this same simple, scary concept can still work even if you throw three other people into the mix. Unafiliated with Slender creator Mark J. Hadley, Slender: Source is a fan project that aims to recreate Slender’s solo gun-free scaryness in Valve’s eponymous engine with co-op multiplayer and a variety of environments. As one of four meddling kids sent out on a dare to learn the truth about Slenderman you have to explore spooky woods, an abandoned hospital and other ruin-porn to find 15 creepy dolls that may or may not be vessels for the souls of dead children, all while avoiding Old Slendy himself, naturellement.

I don’t usually bother with mods that don’t even have a trailer yet. Words are cheap and anyone with half a brain can pitch a concept for a mod that sounds great on paper. I mean how long have we all been waiting for the Black Mesa: Source team to put out something you can actually play, rather than just gawp at like a slack-jawed yokel? The handful of awesome actually-playable mods like Natural Selection or Day Z out there pales in comparison to the thousands upon thousands that died in the womb, leaving behind little more than a few crude concept sketches on a beermat down the back of someone’s sofa. Promising “to really frighten players” means nothing if you never deliver the goods.

What persuaded me to write about Slender: Source is that it isn’t unrealistically ambitious. As concepts go “nightmarish scavenger hunt” is a lot more achievable than something like “recreate the entirety of Half Life 1 in Source with squillions of bells and whistles”, and the simplest ideas can be some of the most effective. The team are aiming for an initial release in November or December this year with two maps included for people to run around screaming in: an abandoned hospital and a spooky forest similar to the one in Slender. A full release with more maps is intended for sometime around March next year, which is more than reasonable when you consider Team Fortress Classic for Half Life only took about five months to make.

Can a co-op multiplayer mod be as scary as a single player experience though? Mods like Day Z and Ghoul’s Forest III have already proven it can be and Slender: Source has the same potential. Assuming it doesn’t go the way of countless mods before it of course. A truly terrifying co-op multiplayer mod, where everyone runs around gibbering like they’re playing Amnesia on their own in the dark, would be a thing of hilarious beauty.

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.