Towards the end of 2014, we were teased with news about an indie horror game in development that aims to shamelessly rip off ’80s slasher flicks. Appropriately named Last Year, the game was envisioned as an asymmetrical multiplayer experience that would cast five players in the role of a group of hapless teens as they try to outwit another player starring as a maniac out for their blood. It would be to games what The Cabin in the Woods is to horror flicks; highly meta, very self-aware and completely devoted to exploiting clichés. It was kind of like what Evolve would be like if it were meshed with Friday the 13th. Shucks, even one of the revealed designs of the killer strongly resembled Jason Voorhees, right down to the mask and machete.
And there’s where the problems started.
Crystal Lake Entertainment, current holders of the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise, found the similarities and gameplay description hit a little too close to home – particularly since they intend on releasing their own Jason-centered game in October of this year – and have since entered into a dispute with the developers of Last Year. Despite the fact that the game’s Kickstarter pitch managed to far exceed their intended goal, it’s now stuck in development hell indefinitely.
It’s easy to feel sympathy for the indie underdogs in this case, particularly since the only other time we officially had a Friday the 13th-themed game was back in the days of the NES, and the game in question was panned by both fans and critics alike. Perhaps an agreement can be reached, and it may involve something as simple as a name change, redesigning the characters or, more drastically, absorbing the team of Last Year into the new Crystal Lake game. Whatever the outcome, let’s hope it’s not the game’s backers who end up getting screwed.
Check out the trailer for Last Year below. Hopefully, these ideas may yet see the light of day.