The Chant should remind you of everything from Outlast to Five Nights at Freddy’s while also giving you a bit of Outer Wilds, Slander The Arrival, Life is Strange, and The Walking Dead. We bring to you today, everything we know about this PS5-planned November 3 release of a psychedelic spiritual-horror game.

The era of hyper-springy over cliche satanic-cults ritualization of the second coming of Lord Satan, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, or some other third-rate Demon from hell is no way new to pop culture. We have had our fair share of terror from games that left our hair shrouded and shredded. How spooky will this game be?

Disclaimer: All images used in the article are snapped from The Chant Gameplay trailer on the official youtube channel of XBOX

What story/plot does The Chant tell?

The Chant
The Chant group that opens the gloom, as revealed in the gameplay trailer via XBOX

The Chant in its official descriptions tells of a remote island of spiritual retreat. Yet when a group of bizarre individuals named the chant (a cult, didn’t expect that, hah!) open an other-dimensional psychedelic world named The Gloom; things start falling out of place. Like literally things will go crazy as heck; with the environment probably going Dr. Strange’s Multiverse of Madness level of dimensional rifting going on.

The Chant gameplay
a gameplay snippet as revealed in the trailer

The island’s spiritual retreat advertises to hone spiritual extravaganzas, mindful meditations, and inward experiences. It is a remote island somewhere in the pacific southwest. Jess, the playable main character will seek the retreat to heal herself from her past traumas.

Branching storyline

Branching Storyline in The Chant
Two choices are presented to the players in The Chant, courtesy of the official gameplay trailer
  • The Chant will allow for a branching storyline, atypical of action-adventure games but not so much for the horror genre.
  • This will be made possible by relying on the tridimensional health system consisting of Mind, Body, and Spirit.
  • Depending upon how these health stats are maintained/exhausted and how the player combat/interacts with the story, the endings may differ.

We have seen such branching storylines depending upon our actions before. The most notable examples that come to mind at this point are the indie-games 12 Minutes and Outer Wilds by Annapurna Interactive. As for more mainstream examples, I’ll list Life is Strange and Telltale’s The Walking Dead. 

The Chant Gameplay

Jess gameplay of the chant
Jess interacting with the environment, a wooden barrier blocking the door

Now as I said before, we have had our fair share of first-person horrors. Honestly, my nerves could never bear the sight of a monster that would jerk straight into the screen outta the blue moon in Outlast. I left the game, not because I was terrorized by its story, but because I was daunted by its gameplay.

A Single-Player Third-Person Narrative

Albeit, unlike Slander The Arrival, Outlast, Amnesia, or any other typical cult-classic horror games, The Chant follows a single-player third-person narrative where the player will be dropped on an island.

Jess interacting with the items
Jess engaging with the items in the world consumed by The Gloom

The player, playing as Jess will then have to engage with the island’s contents.

Jess interacting with other cast
Jess interacting with another member of the group in the gameplay trailer

Jess will also interact with the other casts belonging to the retreat, and some to the cult named The Chant, and unfold the puzzles of the island’s history. As seen in the photo above, the interaction allows for multiple choices of conversation.

The Gloom

  • The Gloom is a psychedelic world called forth by the cultist group and feeds off of the negative energy that it finds in the real world.

The Retreat

The Chant story
The retreat’s initiation of Jess
  • The retreat is the entire spiritual program, the host of which is the remote island. The player will be a member of the retreat, hoping for an enlightening experience.
  • Of course, such expectations will be met with grotesque realizations. The players will also be able to engage with other retreaters with their own histories.

The tri-health system

MIND BODY AND SOUL as a gameplay
The player’s ‘mind’ is affected by the sudden jump-scare of a monster in the trailer
  • The Chant will feature a three-dimensional health system. The system will consist of the following – Mind, Body, and Spirit.
  • Each of these will be affected by the actions the players take during the unfolding of the game’s plot.

The Chant’s combat gameplay

This action-horror-adventure game will feature something called spiritual weapons.

Crafting in the game
The engagement also allows for crafting items
  • This now reminds me of Valheim, as The Chant will allow players to collect and craft. Resource management gameplay will also be part of the game.

The Mob 

Monsters in the gameplay of the chant
A plant and a beast-like primal monster shown in the Chant gameplay
  • The mob will probably be an array of primal and beast-like mythical beings of the psychedelic world. When the Gloom unleashes, expect headless creatures that look like a mix of human-animal-plant hybrid running towards with. (Serious Sam much?).
  • The enemy mob will also consist of the cultists who will come from the interdimensional rift in space-time.

Stealth or Combat

The Chant gameplay
Jess sneaking past the enemy mobs in The Chant gameplay trailer

The Chant’s combat style will be the usual two – Stealth or direct attack. If you decide to attack the enemy ahead of you directly, you’ll have to make use of the resources found in the environment and craft a spiritual arsenal out of it.

Special Ability

jess in the chant gameplay using special abilities
The player playing as Jess using her special spiritual powers

The gameplay reveals trailer also reveals that Jess will eventually be able to harness the power of the Gloom as well and unleash certain special moves. One such move was releasing a mass of energy that dispersed a monster crowd. Expect such abilities to surface in the later parts of the gameplay.

The cast in The Chant

It isn’t unusual for games like these to feature real-life actors and actresses. Again, the finest example is of William Defoe and James McAvoy who voiced the primary characters in the game 12 Minutes. The Chant will feature Canadian actress Siobhan Williams as Jess, and Kira Clavell (Rogue 2013) as Kim. The rest of the cast is as follows –

  • Nicole Anthony, starring as Maya
  • Praneet Akilla, starring as Sonny
  • Emily Tennant, starring as Hannah
  • Adam Millard starring as Tyler

Conclusion

The developers officially have described the game as following –

Inspired by the psychedelic horror of the 1970s, experience a landscape of colored lighting and an electronic rock soundtrack, composed by the award-winning Paul Ruskay.

As such it looks nothing short of amazing. Sure, the gameplay reveal doesn’t make it seem to contend with the AAA titles of the gaming industry, but it falls just somewhere below it. Things don’t always have to be AAA, to be honest. The Chant definitely gives off a lot of feelings. Expect bizarre world-twisting environments like “Control” while puzzle solving similar to Alan Wake. The game also seems promising enough to simultaneously maintain The Walking Dead level of interaction and branching storylines. Yet how the game actually does will be told only in its exclusive review, given its release on November 3.


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Rhytham is a Philosophy graduate who founded a state-level organization that promotes anime and Japanese culture in his home state of Assam India. The org is named Assam Senpai Society. He is also an ardent writer, poet, musician, vocalist, graphic designer, and photoshop artist. He has worked on multiple state and national level conventions. Other than anime, catch him watching western series that really have in themselves the solidity to catch his attention.