It was 2019 when Swery and SUDA51, two of the Japanese video game authors most important and well-known announced the collaboration with Devolver Digital for Hotel Barcelona, a horror-style game with various influences, such as that of David Lynch’s films (such as Twin Peaks, expressly cited by the authors) and games such as Forbidden Siren. It seems like a lifetime ago and it probably is: COURT51 has worked on other projects, Devolver Digital has reconfirmed itself as a publisher slightly outside the traditional canons and Swery.. well, Swery did his thing, releasing a game that didn’t captivate audiences like his previous works. In the midst of all these events, COVID, a war and also the end of Google Stadia, a Mountain View project on which this latest game was supposed to land. Life has passed, but at last Hotel Barcelona is alive and well and preparing for arrival.
The official presentation, almost five years after its announcement, took place during the Tokyo Game Show 2023, during the Xbox conference. The trailer quickly and concisely explained all the elements that make up the heart and essence of Hotel Barcelona and we are ready to see them (at least the most important ones) and obviously to tell them.
Hotel Barcelona: a stay that will not be to your taste
Initially, many thought that Hotel Barcelona was nothing more than a cryptic game, perhaps with a complex plot and many touches of genius, mainly due to the collaboration between the two game designers. In reality the new game is (by the authors’ own definition) a tribute and a parody to horror films produced in the United States of America. The game is set right at the Hotel Barcelona ed it’s a 2.5D metroidvania. Players take on the role of a serial killer killer, featuring all the most famous serial killers in the USA trapped inside this hotel. The objective is therefore to advance gradually in what the authors define as a semi-open world to be able to conclude the hunt and kill the boss at the end of the level.
From the trailer it became clear how the two developers have opted for a vast choice of decidedly plentiful weapons. As confirmed by Swery in a long interview with Microsoft (remember that the game is exclusive to Xbox Series S and Xbox Series chests scattered around the map. An arsenal of death, therefore, available to players who will also have the opportunity to get lost inside the gigantic hotel. The Hotel Barcelona hotel is a building of significant dimensions. In addition to the rooms, there are also other rooms such as the casino and a small campsite. There are a total of 7 micro game environments, which form a single, gigantic world.
The loop cannot be broken
Unlike other games, although Hotel Barcelona will still exploit the loop mechanic (which we have already seen in many other games), it will do so in a different way. Chiamata Slasher Phantom, every time a player dies the ghost’s spirit will remain imprinted, as happened in driving games. You can have up to three ghosts, whose aim is to help, but also to push players to perhaps take different paths compared to the first attempt.
In this case, Hotel Barcelona will not offer the classic loop experience, but it is still a decidedly curious game mechanic, obviously the result of the nature of the game. In a metroidvania there is never a safe and simple path, but pushing players to make different choices could really be a little touch of class to introduce some newbies to the genrebut obviously without helping them too much.
Exquisite graphics, for a ruthless horror
On a technical level it is obviously still too early to judge the game of Swery and Suda51. The graphic aspect, however, impressed us decidedly positive manner. Hotel Barcelona is clean, with the splendid technical execution you would expect from a production of this genre. And that’s certainly good news, especially considering that Devolver Digital no longer appears to be involved in the project.
On a technical level it will certainly be important to be able to eliminate the input lag. The frame rate appeared decidedly solid, never dropping below 60 frames per second, which is necessary for a game like this. As for the platforms, at the moment the title is an Xbox Series S and Xbox Series However, the release on PC has been confirmed.
Piattaforme: PC, Xbox Series X|S
Release date: 2024
Hotel Barcelona seems to have all it takes to be an auteur metroidvania. Of course, it is still too early to comment but the material shown during the Japanese fair left us decidedly satisfied. Now it’s all in the hands of White Owls, the Swery development team, which will have to prove that it is up to an important production both for players and for Xbox, which is aiming to carve out an important space for itself in the Sol territory Levant.