Among the Sleep
|Among the Sleep|
Cover artwork for Among the Sleep
|Publisher(s)||Krillbite Studio (PC)
Sony Computer Entertainment (PS4)
Microsoft Studios (XBO)
|Producer(s)||Ole Andreas Jordet|
|Release date(s)||29 May 2014|
|Genre(s)||Survival horror, adventure|
Among the Sleep is a first-person horror adventure video game developed by Norwegian developer Krillbite Studio for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It was released on 29 May 2014 in North America and Europe for the PC. The PlayStation 4 version's release date was announced to be 10 December 2015.
Among the Sleep is a first-person exploration game seen from the view of a toddler. The player can move the cursor to walk or crawl around, the latter of which is faster and is required to slide through obstacles blocking the way. Running is also an available option, though the player will stop to catch breath if it is done for too long. The player can interact and push objects and open doors and windows. Sometimes, the handle to open doors is too tall to reach for the player, in which case the player will have to push and climb chairs for additional height. Other than chairs, the player can climb boxes, tables, and various things to reach otherwise unreachable ledges and heights. Certain objects can also be held as well as thrown away. Others can be stored to the inventory and taken out again for later use.
For most of the game, the player is accompanied by a sentient teddy bear named Teddy, a birthday present from the toddler's father. The player can hug Teddy, who emits light that helps the player navigate through darker environments. The light will wear down after a while, but it can be activated infinitely. If the player let loose of Teddy, which always happens whenever they arrive from sliding through pipes to a new level or environment, they will have to pick it up first before advancing again.
Throughout the game, the player is followed by two monsters: a feminine figure that haunts the first three levels, and a trench coat-wearing figure that haunts the final level. The monsters' appearance is indicated by the blurring of the vision, grating sounds, and in the case of the feminine figure, a slow lullaby (Trollmors Vuggesang, "Trollmother's Lullaby") hummed about. There is no way to fend off the monsters; if they appear, the player will have to run away or hide under tables or chairs until they go away. If the player is not quick enough to evade the monsters, a short cinematic will show the monsters taking hold of the player that results in a game over, followed by a continue screen with a pacifier. Clicking the pacifier restarts the game from the last checkpoint. The player can also get a game over by other means, such as falling into water or chasms.
The game is largely linear and involves going from point A to B, though the expansive environment with multiple obstacles may induce the feeling of being lost. After some time exploring the player's house, the player is taken to a dreamlike location with a gingerbread house-like hut that serves as a sort of a hub level. The house contains a circular door that leads to a new level, surrounded by four containers where "memories" obtained from each level are stored. After the player find a memory and head to a tube at the end of the level, they will be returned to this hut. Once four memories are stored, the player can insert Teddy's right hand below the circular door to return to the player's house.
Some people believe that the two monsters are both the mother who is most likely abusive and/or drunk. The child gets scared when the mother is hurting the child which is why the vision tends to blur.
In the extra DLC level, instead of exploring dreamlike locations, the player is taken to another house with the objective of finding and thawing five frozen dolls through playing music or turning on the TV. The gameplay is still the same with the feminine figure haunting the player, but the player is also confronted by a fireplace monster in the underground section that advances and closes in through an aisle.
The story begins as a toddler is having his birthday celebration at his home with his mother. 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 divorced. The conversation is muffled and partly kept from the player as the mother raises her voice, refusing the father's request to see his child. The mother's angry tone frightens the toddler, whose fear is presented as blurred vision. Quickly, the mother returns with a gift, but the mother doesn't tell who the gift is from. Instead, she carries the child and gift upstairs to the child's room, a place of bright, warm colors and streaming sunlight. The mother briefly opens the gift, but looks at what is inside with a disdainful expression before quickly shutting the gift box. Before the present is given to the child, the telephone rings, and the mother leaves her baby in the bedroom to play alone. The gift is revealed to be a sentient teddy bear. The bear introduces himself as Teddy. Teddy has a friendly, curious nature. After a few minutes playing together, they go into the closet, which turns out to be a large, dark room filled with long, black coats. Teddy says that if the player gets scared in the dark, they can hug Teddy to feel more safe. Once the player holds teddy, he lights the way, acting like a flashlight. The small adventure is ended by the mother finding them; she tells the child, gently but ominously, to "stop hiding from mommy" and puts him to bed. The baby wakes in the night to find Teddy being taken by an unseen force. Their crib becomes overturned, and the player escapes. The child leaves the bedroom and rescues Teddy from a washing machine. The bear grunts that 'something is not right', and that they need to find mother.
The search translates into a journey through several surreal environments. Teddy instructs the player to find four memories the child shared with their mother that will lead them to her. The memories take the forms of four objects: 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 pink elephant. Throughout the search, the player is pursued by a large, shadowed monster.
After the last memory is found, the child and Teddy are captured by the monster and in the ensuing struggle, Teddy's arm is torn off as the child falls into a large, dark room lit by a series of floodlights. The child follows its mother's voice. The child sees its mother drinking from a bottle as she transforms into a large, black monster before disappearing. The child is left alone in the dark, with light coming from cracks in a nearby door. The child heads downstairs to find its mother crying in the kitchen, the damaged bear in one hand, an empty wine bottle in the other, which she drops. When the player attempts to retrieve the bear, the mother knocks the toddler over and shouts at the player to leave her alone. She apologizes and tells the toddler she "didn't mean to", and that "it's too much". The player has the option of briefly comforting mother should the player interact with her again.
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, remarking on Teddy's broken arm, stating that he can fix him.
An expansion level available through downloadable content is set before the events of the game, again told from the toddler's point of view. The player is wandering through a winter environment and finds several dolls surrounding a light that breaks, sending the player to a house different from the one shown in the main story. The player is required to locate and thaw five dolls that are frozen due to the freezing wind from outside coming through the open windows. Throughout the house, white figures of the toddler's parents are shown arguing due to the mother's alcohol abuse. Once the player finds all of the dolls, including the rabbit one found outside the house, the mother is seen taking the toddler before going away, implying that the house is the father's house and that the mother is taking her child to the house seen in the main story.
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.
|This section requires expansion. (February 2015)|
As of March 7, 2015, over 100K copies of the game had been sold.
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