Ghost in the Brain – a Japanese nightmare-exploration horror game inspired by Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Hell Screen

Japanese indie developer Simizu announced their upcoming title Ghost in the Brain/孵る明晰夢 for the PC (Steam). The game is scheduled for release in February 2024. 

Ghost in the Brain is a first-person horror game that follows the story of the painter Yoshihide Mizuno, who experienced discovering the body of his drowned baby sister. By depicting the sight of his drowned sister in his paintings, Mizuno rose to fame as a painter. However, one day, he suddenly starts to doubt his memory, and whether his paintings are really faithful to what he saw that day. In an attempt to restore his memory, Mizuno decides to undergo deep hypnotherapy and re-experience the events of the past through dreams. 

In Ghost in the Brain, the player searches through the dreamlike stages, collecting the required number of “memory fragments” while encountering creatures such as a monster with large, creepy eyeballs, a moving drowned body and a giant Arowana fish flying in the sky. You must search for the pieces hidden throughout the stages while escaping from these dangers. The stages are designed to be inconsistent and represent a dream world made up of disparate memories. 

The game also adopts a “Keyhole Peek” system, which allows you to peek through keyholes to check for enemies in the room beyond before entering. Though this sounds quite reassuring at first, the developer says they can’t guarantee you won’t be attacked from behind while looking through the keyhole, and there’s also the horrifying possibility of an enemy crashing through the door to attack you.

Ghost in the Brain is indie developer Simizu’s debut title, and its story seems to have been inspired by Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short story Hell Screen, owing to the developer’s education in literature. A demo version of the game is planned for November this year, and the full game will integrate user feedback. 

Ghost in the Brain/孵る明晰夢 is scheduled for release for the PC (Steam) in February 2024. 

Written by. Amber V based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-09-21 15:03 JST)


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