In Splatterhouse, players take control of an average guy named Rick Taylor. While going to college at Miskatonic University, his girlfriend Jennifer is kidnapped by monsters that leave Rick brutally ravaged and dying. While struggling to stay alive, he picks up a mask that gives him amazing power but drives him into a mentally unstable and murderous rage. Rick must hunt down Dr. West, his professor at the university, and stop his madness before the world becomes overrun by these monsters and turns into a real "splatterhouse."
Gordan Rennie, known for his work with the magazine 2,000AD, worked on the script for the game.
The gameplay of Splatterhouse revolves around a mixture of three focal points: Necrotic Energy, Splatter Kills, and Jump Nodes.
Rick has a necrotic energy bar that, once full, allows him to use a handful of special abilities. This includes being able to raise the dead to do his killing for him and a Berserker mode that sends him into an uncontrollable rampage.
After grabbing an enemy, Rick will have the option of performing a gory "splatter kill" that will cause body parts to fly off enemies, which he can then use against other enemies. He can also use the enemies at this point to take out objects in the environments surrounding him.
Similar to Peter Jackson's King Kong and Devil May Cry 4, Splatterhouse will use a "jump node" system that will allow Rick to follow a preset platforming section without the "random fall" problems found in most platforming games.
2D Platforming and Combat
Portions of the game will shift the camera perspective from 3D to 2D side-scrolling in an homage to the older games in the series.
Developer BottleRocket Entertainment previously worked on The Mark of Kri (as in-house developers for Sony San Diego) and its sequel The Rise of the Kasai, which both featured brutal executions and bloody gameplay. Moving away from the animation-styled look of those games, BottleRocket decided to use the Gamebryo engine (made popular with Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning) in order to create their world. Rick appears bulkier than in any of the previous Splatterhouse games, while wearing a more skull-like mask draws attention away from looking like Friday the 13th horror icon Jason Voorhees as he did in the first three games. Any damage that Rick takes will show up physically on his character model, and the engine being used offers real-time health regeneration to be shown as muscles, veins, and limbs growing back onto Rick. Splatterhouse also takes advantage of the Havok physics engine, allowing for destructible environments and enemies.
Concept art, promotional art, and advertising art have been handled by Simon Bisley, who is known for his work with the magazine 2,000AD.
Nods to Franchise History
Certain elements, characters, enemies, and more have been included in Splatterhouse to pay tribute to the original games. A small list of these include:
- Robo-Ape, Dr. West's robotic simian bodyguard (boss character)
- Biggy Man (boss character known for having two chainsaws in place of his hands)
- Clawface (boss character known for the huge pus sacks on his face)
- 2x4s, shotguns, and cleavers (weapons in the original games)
- Dr. West's estate (level)
On February 9th, 2009, Namco Bandai announced that Splatterhouse will have a new developer. BottleRocket will no longer be involved in the project. Initial rumors speculated that Namco Bandai Games themselves had taken over the development after finishing work on Afro Samurai, but the official statement issued by Namco Bandai on February 9th said:
"We have decided to part ways with BottleRocket Entertainment but we are committed to bringing Splatterhouse to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year. At this time, we are not ready to discuss specific development details about the game and wish BottleRocket the best of luck in their future endeavors."
On February 12th, 2009, popular website Kotaku.com reported that Namco Bandai Games, the in-house developers behind Afro Samurai, would in fact be taking over the reins of the Splatterhouse project. Namco Bandai also stated:
"BottleRocket wishes Namco the best in completing their project. The BottleRocket development team is looking forward to turning their attention to a new project soon to be announced."
Shortly after this announcement, it was revealed that Namco Bandai hired on several members from the original BottleRocket development team after BottleRocket shut its doors.
Due to the shift in development teams, however, the original April 28th, 2009 release date has been pushed back into 2010. After many delays, the game has finally settled on an October 26th, 2010 release date, one week before Halloween.
Shortly after BottleRocket closed its doors, a user by the name of "dulledblade" started advertising that he was selling pre-release beta versions of Splatterhouse for $675 a copy. It has never been confirmed who the individual is or whether he worked for BottleRocket.
On April 9th, it was announced that Namco Bandai would be offering the original trilogy of Splatterhouse games as unlockables in the new Splatterhouse. There is no confirmation on how those will be unlocked.
At E3 2010, a trailer was shown off giving a "Fall 2010" release date at the end. It showed some of the story portions, as well as a lot of gameplay. 2D side-scrolling was shown in the trailer, as well as more of the combat and gore that the franchise is known for. The graphics have been enhanced slightly, adding a bold outline to the outer edges of character models and the likes to make them stand out more.
At PAX 2010, it was announced that a firm release date of November 23th, 2010 had been set.
Popular prog-metal band Mastodon was confirmed as performing the entire soundtrack for the demo shown at the 2009 New York Comic Convention. Reporters were told that lead character Rick Taylor would wear a Mastodon t-shirt before he wears the Terror Mask and becomes the "monster" that he is throughout the game. With the shift in developers, this idea was thrown out and a new soundtrack.
The official Splatterhouse website has confirmed that the game's soundtrack will include several thrash, death and grindcore bands, as well as original music from songwriter/composer Howard Drossin. Confirmed bands for the licensed soundtrack are:
- Five Finger Death Punch
- The Haunted
- The Accused
- Municipal Waste
- Lamb of God
- The Cavalera Conspiracy
- Mutant Supremacy