Among the Sleep
|Among the Sleep|
Cover artwork for Among the Sleep
|Producer(s)||Ole Andreas Jordet|
|Release date(s)||29 May 2014|
|Genre(s)||Survival horror, adventure|
Among the Sleep is a first-person survival horror adventure video game developed by Krillbite Studios for Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 4 and Linux. Among the Sleep was released on 29 May 2014 in North America and Europe.
The story begins as a two-year-old toddler is having his birthday celebration at home with his mother (voiced by Cia Court). The celebration is interrupted by a visitor at the front door who is hidden from the player, but the story suggests it is the player's father, with whom the mother has separated. The conversation is muffled and, partly, kept from the player as the mother raises her voice, refusing the father's request to see his son. The mother's angry tone frightens the toddler, whose fear is presented as blurred vision. Quickly, the mother returns with a gift. It is suggested to be from the father, but the mother doesn't tell who the gift is from. Instead, she carries the child and gift upstairs to the two-year-old's bedroom, a place of bright, warm colours and streaming sunlight. Before the present is opened, the telephone rings, and the mother leaves her son in his bedroom to play alone. The gift is revealed to be a hand-me-down teddy bear, which appears to be alive in the two-year-old's eyes. The bear (voiced by Roger L. Jackson) introduces himself as Teddy and has a friendly, curious nature. After a few minutes playing together, they go into the closet, where the toddler's imagination translates the closet into a much larger, dark room filled with long, black coats. Teddy explains that if the child gets scared in the dark, he can hug Teddy to feel more safe. The small adventure is ended by the mother finding them; she tells the child, gently, to 'stop hiding from mummy' and puts the two-year-old to bed. The toddler wakes in the night to find Teddy being taken by an invisible entity, and the cot is overturned, again by an unseen hand. The player leaves the bedroom, and rescues Teddy from drowning in a washing machine. The bear says that 'something is not right', and that they need to find mother, who is somehow missing.
The search translates into a journey through environments created by the child's imagination. The landscapes' eerie design and monstrous threats suggest a psychological insight into the child's coping with his parents' break up, as well as the mother's abusive treatment. Teddy instructs the player to find four memories the child had of happier times with his mother, that will lead them to her. The memories take the forms of four objects the child associates with his mother: Her pendant from her necklace shown at the start of the game, the music box she plays to put him to sleep at night, a story book, and the boy's toy pink elephant.
Recurring themes found in the imaginary places include the child's toys, items from the family home, places the child has presumably visited, bottles of alcohol implicitly telling that the mother has a drinking problem, drawings made by the child (some showing the parents fighting over custody of their son, and others of the mother scaring the toddler), and a shadow-like monster that torments the player. The troll-like monster is an echo of lullaby "Trollmors vaggsång", hummed by the mother to lull the child to sleep.
After the last memory is found, the child and Teddy are captured by a coated monster and in the ensuing struggle, Teddy's arm is torn off. With all of the memories found, the child exits the closet and is back in his own room. He heads downstairs to find his mother crying in the kitchen, a damaged Teddy in one hand, a wine bottle in the other, revealing that the "monster" during the game was the mother losing her temper during her drunken moments. When the player attempts to retrieve the bear, the mother knocks her child over and shouts at the player to 'get away' before showing signs of remorse. The mother apologizes and tells the toddler she 'didn't mean to', and that 'it's all too much', implying that she was struggling as a single mother.
There is a knock at the front door that the mother doesn't react to; instead, she continues crying. When the toddler goes to the door, it opens and reveals a glowing white light. The player's father is heard talking to the child, and then remarks upon Teddy's broken arm, stating that he can fix him. The game then ends, with father, child and beloved toy reunited.
Development of Among the Sleep began in 2011, and attracted 225,000 NOK (€28,000) on 27 May and 200,000 NOK (€25,000) on 28 October in 2011 in funding from the Norsk Film Institutt (Norwegian Film Institute)  The NFI awarded the company a supplementary 400,000 NOK (€50,000) on 1 March and another 820,000 NOK (€102,700) on 1 November in 2012.
Krillbite Studio also gained subsidies by launching a Kickstarter campaign at 18 April 2013, where they managed to pledge $248,358 of a $200,000 target. Achieved stretch goals included a commentary track, downloadable content developed in collaboration with backers, and support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
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