Revealed last night at Gamescom 2023’s Opening Night Live, we now know that Little Nightmares 3 is indeed a thing, coming in 2024. It’s being made by Supermassive Games, who specialise in horror games (although not quite the same as the nitty-gritty childhood terrors style of Little Nightmares). Following the trajectory of the previous two games, Little Nightmares the third has two controllable protagonists, so you can play in co-op. It also has a tie-in podcast, to build out some of the Little Nightmares lore, a thing you might not have known existed.
I saw a little hands off demo, and spoke to producer Coralie Feniello, who told me that co-op was the most demanded feature from their community of players (though you can also play Little Nightmares 3 in single player, with an AI). “We already asked ourselves the question for Little Nightmares II, but it wasn’t the right time for it,” she said. “And now, working with Supermassive Games who had an extended knowledge of multiplayer, it really was the right moment to do it.”
2021 saw original devs Tarsier moving on to new projects, perhaps with a gentle shove in the small of the back from new owners Embracer Group. Bandai Namco retained Little Nightmares, though, and have regurgitated it like a big mummy bird right into the open mouth of Supermassive, what do all those slasher-movie style games like The Dark Pictures Anthology and The Quarry. The Little Nightmares 3 co-op is online only with your friends, so only players on your friends list, but you also get a friend’s pass, so you can still play with a pal if they don’t have their own copy of Little Nightmares 3.
The characters you play as, Low and Alone, are once again a couple of little children, and the co-opery comes from Low having a bow and Alone carrying a wrench. Puzzles will require them to use their different tools – Alone might have to smash a wall, for example – as well as operating levers or giving each other a leg up. Feniello says balancing this required a lot of iteration, testing whether you should be able to run if Low has the bow readied, and that kind of thing. The footage shared showed a mixture of using these new items, but also some puzzles fans will recognise, like sneaking past a giant eye looking for you by hiding in shadows, or synchronised jumping on a stuck trap door to get through it.
It also just kinda looks like Little Nightmares, right? Which is a good thing. I don’t think Supermassive are trying to reinvent the wheel here, and Feniello said that Supermassive are “checking each detail from the previous ones to make sure that we have the same kind of vibe.” It does look, like most sequels, a bit expanded. Little Nightmares 3 is set in a place called The Spiral, a “cluster of dystopian lands built upon disturbed delusions”. The segment of gameplay shown took place in the Necropolis, a dusty stone ruin stalked by a giant infant called Monster Baby. “For us, the important thing is to find what are people’s internal childhood fears,” said Feniello, and explained that because everyone, even on the team, has their own fears, there’s still things left to explore.
The playtime is not, Feniello told me, actually fixed right now, but she said that she feels this time they’re pushing more into showing exteriors and wider locations. “Each place is very different in the game. We have several locations which have several enemies, several stories, several secrets,” she said.
Finiello mentioned the lore of the world of Little Nightmares. In game nothing gets much exposition, and you can go the whole way just thinking “welp, this is all a bit odd, isn’t it?” – but the concepts and locations are concrete, the characters have clearly been designed with a purpose. For Little Nightmares 3 things are going multi-media – something Bamco have experimented with before with Unknown 9, a game that was announced in 2021 with a comic, a book trilogy and a podcast, and which I’ve not heard hide nor hair of since.
Little Nightmares’ podcast, The Sounds Of Nightmares, is a six parter fictional series telling the story of a girl named Noone, living in a psychiatric unit in the real world of Little Nightmares (the games take place in the nightmarish Nowhere). Each episode will feature a discussion of a childhood fear framed as a session with a counsellor, written by a different writer. One idea was even contributed by a member of the community.
Despite all this, Feniello confirmed that Little Nightmares 3, like the previous two games, is basically standalone in that you don’t have to play the others to understand it. I would though, because they’re very good, and I hope this one is too. Feniello, who worked on the second game, told me it’s important to them to keep the Little Nightmares DNA very present. We will find out if they’re right when the game comes out in 2024 – although the first two episodes of the podcast are out right now, if you want an earlier taste.
Gamescom 2023 has arrived, and you can find all the latest news and previews from the show floor in our Gamescom 2023 hub.
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