- CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 or AMD FX-8120
- CPU SPEED: Info
- RAM: 8 GB
- VIDEO CARD: GeForce GTX 460 2GB, Radeon HD 7770
- DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 2 GB
- FREE DISK SPACE: 20 GB
- CPU: Intel Core i5-8600K or AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
- CPU SPEED: Info
- RAM: 12 GB
- VIDEO CARD: GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB, Radeon RX 580 8GB
- DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 8 GB
- FREE DISK SPACE: 20 GB
Layers of Fear is a psychological horror adventure game developed by Bloober Team and published by Aspyr. It was released on Linux, Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One worldwide in February 2016.
In Layers of Fear, the player controls a psychologically disturbed painter who is trying to complete his magnum opus as he navigates a Victorian mansion revealing secrets about his past. The gameplay, presented in first-person perspective, is story-driven and revolves around puzzle-solving and exploration. Layers of Fear: Inheritance was released on 2 August 2016 as a direct follow up add-on to the first game. This time the player controls the painter’s daughter with the downloadable content focusing on her apparent relapse into trauma after returning to her old house.
A definitive port for the Nintendo Switch, entitled Layers of Fear: Legacy, was released on 21 February 2018 and it features, in addition to the Inheritance DLC, Joy-Con, touchscreen, and HD Rumble support. A limited physical retail release for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, published by Limited Run Games in North America, would be available starting October 2018. A sequel titled Layers of Fear 2 was announced in October 2018 and was released on May 29, 2019. A second sequel, also titled Layers of Fear, launched on June 15, 2023.
The player takes control of an artist who has returned to his studio. His initial goal is to complete his masterpiece, and the player’s role is to figure out how this task should be accomplished. The challenge comes from puzzles which require the player to search the environment for visual clues. The house appears straightforward at first, but it changes around the player as they explore it in first person. These changes in the environment provide scaffolding for the puzzles and provide regular jump scares common to games of this genre.
The game is divided into six chapters with various items for the player to find in order to complete his work. The game is heavily dimmed, and there are objects that uncover certain aspects of the painter’s history. While completing the painting, there is a letter that is slowly pieced together, which shows the origin of his masterpiece, and objects which explain the secret of the painter through dialogue flashbacks.
Set in the 1920s United States, the unnamed protagonist, a talented artist, returns home from a court hearing. After briefly exploring his empty house, he goes to his workshop to start working on his “magnum opus”. After he adds the first layer, he starts having hallucinations about his past encounters as he works, and the full degradation of his mental state becomes increasingly clear as the game progresses and his past is explored.
An ambitious young painter, the artist used his pianist wife as a model and muse. Soon his wife became pregnant and she bore a daughter. After she gave birth, he decided to spend more time working on his paintings, leaving his wife to care for their daughter. After buying a dog for his family, the Protagonist develops a drinking problem due to constant stress and noise outside his workshop. Eventually, he muzzles the dog, but was soon plagued by rats, most likely an auditory hallucination. It is implied the dog may have been killed by him.
The Protagonist’s talent starts to slowly decay, with the vision for his paintings becoming twisted, driving his friends away by painting disturbing works for even simple jobs, including a set of illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood. After a long period of neglect, his wife decides to burn his paintings, including his most cherished work, “The Lady In Black”. This provokes the artist to beat her in a drunken rage, which in turn causes his wife to leave with their child. Despite multiple attempts to reconcile, his wife rejects him. Later, he receives a phone call explaining that his wife was a victim of a fire, and was horribly scarred, though their daughter survived unharmed.
The artist brings his wife and child home to care for them, but his alcoholic tendencies continue to develop, which he blames on the ‘distraction’ of his family. Even after regaining her mobility, the wife continues to be neglected by the artist, as her scars had marred her beauty. Another drunken outburst causes his wife to commit suicide in the bathroom, by slitting her wrists. In the present day, it is revealed the artist has fully lost his sanity, and may be using parts of his wife’s body in his painting: her skin as the canvas, her blood as the overlay, her bone marrow as the undercoating, a brush made from her hair, her finger for the smearing and her eye as the spectator. The character is shown using these items, but considering the cyclical nature of one of the endings and the general ambiguous nature of what is shown throughout the story, it is possible that this is not meant to be taken literally.
Depending on player actions in the game, three endings are possible. These consist of either avoiding the monstrous figure representing his wife or not, likely symbolizing his rejection or acceptance.
The “Loop” ending (done by avoiding and approaching) reveals that the artist’s magnum opus is a portrait of his wife. He completes the painting at last, only to see it devolve into a mutilated version that taunts him. The artist takes the painting and throws it into a room filled with identical portraits, which begin to laugh at him. It becomes clear the artist has spent years attempting to finally complete his painting as intended, even as his mental faculties began to degrade. If the room of paintings is entered, the portraits are revealed to be proper representations of his wife, though he is unable to see this. The artist returns to the studio and begins to work on his next painting on a blank canvas, as the scene fades to black.
In the “Selfish” ending (in which he avoids her completely), the artists painting is a portrait of himself. Finally satisfied, he hangs it in the room upstairs. The next shot shows his painting on display among other famous works in a museum.
In the “Family” ending (where he allows her to approach all times), his completed painting includes his daughter as well as his wife. The artist realizes at last his terrible behavior and mistakes, and that it is impossible to bring them back. He retreats to the room of his paintings and sets them alight, along with his newest work, then lies down to allow the flames to consume him as well.
Layers of Fear was heavily inspired by P.T., a teaser game for the cancelled video game Silent Hills The plot, in particular the ending with the blank canvas, closely parallels Anthony M. Rud’s short story “A Square of Blank Canvas” from the April 1924 issue of Weird Tales. The game uses the Unity game engine.
June 15, 2023
- fg-01.bin (10.6 GB)
- fg-02.bin (1.4 GB)
- fg-03.bin (106.8 MB)
- fg-optional-bonus-content.bin (239.6 MB)
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