It's hard to think of a genre that regularly provides more laughs than prop hunt games. There's the ridiculousness of playing a stealth game as a houseplant. There's the comedy of seeing a startled lamp or chair suddenly scurry out of a room. Most of all, just as in the games of hide-and-seek we played as kids, there's always comedic tension as another player runs into a room, stops, and suspiciously stares in your direction. Have they spotted you or will they move on? It never gets old.
But there's a couple of interesting twists in Midnight Ghost Hunt, a 4v4 prop hunt game where one team plays as ghosts disguised as props and the other team plays as ghost hunters. Here, the props can fight back. The ghosts can defend themselves by flinging furniture and other objects at their pursuers. And, at the end of the round, they can even become the hunters themselves. The developers from Vaulted Sky Games visited The PC Gaming Show to tell us all about it, and you can see the trailer above.
Below: Our backstage interview with creator Sam Malone at the PC Gaming Show.
In the first minute of a round of Midnight Ghost Hunt, the ghosts race through the map and find a place to hide, possessing common household items like lamps, chairs, vases, and so on. The ghost hunters, meanwhile, use that time to choose their ghost-hunting gear. They can each pick one weapon and one gadget: there are footprint-trackers to follow residue trails, traps to entangle the ghosts, night-vision goggles, and a ghost detector that works like a Geiger-counter. It'll register when you're near a ghost without actually pinpointing its location.
The ghosts are hiding but they aren't helpless. Think of them as poltergeists: they can throw furniture around and knock the hunters for a loop in comical ragdoll fashion. And while the hunters have weapons, the ghosts aren't a simple one-hit kill. If a ghost possesses a suit of armor, for example, the hunters will have to shoot several times to break through it.
"So the bigger they are, the more health they have and the more hits it'll take, basically" Samuel Malone, game director at Vaulted Sky Games, told me when we spoke last week. "If it's like a lamp or something, one hit might be enough."
When a ghost is defeated, it shatters into shards, but that's not the end of it. The ghost hunter has to vacuum up the glowing pieces of the ghost first. And they have to be quick about it.
"If you don't vacuum up the shards, which you have to lock in place and it takes a second to do, then their other ghost friends could resurrect them," Samuel said. Sort of like reviving a fallen teammate in a Battlefield-type game, in other words.
But even that isn't the end of it.
If even a single ghost remains uncaptured after four minutes, the clock strikes midnight, all the lights go out, and all the captured ghosts go free. The tables are now turned: the ghost hunters become the hunted ones, and they have to survive for four minutes in the darkness while the newly powerful ghosts chase them around.
And the same rules apply, Samuel said: "If even one hunter survives, the hunters win."
There are already three maps in Midnight Ghost Hunt, including a haunted mansion, a spooky asylum, and an abandoned warehouse. The developers plan to have around six maps in total when it launches.
A release date hasn't been determined yet, but you can sign up for alpha access at Midnight Ghost Hunt's official site. The next alpha is planned for sometime this summer. You can watch the entire segment from the PC Gaming Show below.