This upcoming "hardcore detective horror" game sounds like Alan Wake 2 meets LA Noire, but with vengeful Norse gods to contend with

Nowhere game promo image of a wooden cabin in a foggy forest with tall trees dotted all around
(Image credit: Midnight Forge Ltd)

A broken cellphone. An abandoned log cabin. Trees reaching for a sunless sky. Nowhere has all the visual markers of an eerie horror video game, but the devil is in the narrative detail. 

"The interesting thing about Nowhere is that it features a unique spin on what happened to the Norse gods after Ragnarok, the doom of their mythology," teases Midnight Forge game director Luke Dodds on his upcoming horror game, "as well as the rise of Christianity in Norway and the conflicts that came from that." His elevator pitch grabs my attention instantly. 

"The survivors of Ragnarok awaken from their slumber inside Nowhere, the nightmare space that exists beside our world, with vengeance on their minds after being cast aside and long forgotten," adds Dodds. "The bleeding of the Nowhere realm into ours is what brings these nightmares to life and twists the environment." 

A modern world influenced by the echoes of the Old Gods. It might be a familiar concept among many of the best horror games of recent years – or even the likes of Assassin's Creed Valhalla – but Nowhere's quest to blend adapted mythology with "classic survival horror elements" has me curious already.

Parallel worlds


(Image credit: Midnight Forge Ltd)

Saga Anderson's godlike relatives in Alan Wake 2. The rich cultural backdrop of Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. These are just two horror games with Nordic themes or settings that were released in the last year alone, and they chart the pervasive presence of Scandinavian horror in modern gaming. 

A sense of divine dread comes with the territory, especially when we're talking about the wrath of Thor and Loki, but for Dodds, the draw was more than an aesthetic one. "Originally the game did have a more generalized medieval style," Dodds says of Nowhere's initial time period, "but something about the Nordic setting just spoke to me. There's lots of stories to be told from that background and culture and I can't wait to tell this one."

In faithfully representing and playing up to these themes, Dodds stresses three things: "symbolism, music and atmosphere." Dodds describes it as an open-world game, meaning a consistent world feel is paramount across all exploration zones, here described as areas. "When the player is exploring these areas, we want them to be fully immersed in the culture and how these people lived, so environmental storytelling will play a big part in Nowhere. We're drawing on several inspirations for the [feel of] Nowhere as a location, but one of them is definitely Hel: the Norse underworld."

Examining this open world will be a major gameplay hook in Nowhere. Judging from Steam, Nowhere will see players picking through what looks like a dense woodland, eerily rune-marked cabins, and derelict ruins as part of an ongoing investigation. What happened in this land caught between realms? That's for the players to uncover. "The gameplay style can be broken down as hardcore detective horror," says Dodds. "I give the player all the tools they need to make their investigations, but it's up to them to complete the cases with their own conclusions. The game will not hold your hand on the correct answers, so your consequences are your own, but it also won't block you from continuing the story in case you get stuck on a case."

Fight or fright 


(Image credit: Midnight Forge Ltd)

You never know what bit of information you can learn that will help you find a weakness or place of safety.

Luke Dodds

But Nowhere is about more than jabbing a button to denote Doubt, Lie, or Truth. Dodds initially describes Nowhere to me as a "blend of Nordic Silent Hill and hardcore detective elements". From the thick fog we see in promotional images to the presence of creepy skeletal enemies dashing forth from the forest, I'm keen to know how investigative horror and FPS elements will overlap.

I start my inquiry at the meat of the best Silent Hill games: monster design. "The main physical threat you will be facing in Nowhere is the draugr," explains Dods, describing these zombie-like eldritch horrors as cursed spirits controlled by the Norse god of vengeance, Vidar. They have but once purpose: "to serve him, seeking out and tormenting others, especially the guilty. 

"From a distance they may pass as a regular person lost in the woods," says Dodds. "But when you get closer, you notice a slight imperfection or glint in their eye that betrays their true malicious nature. Some of these creatures also have a face protruding from their torso – a soul caught, tormented and consumed by the draugr." Dodds supplies some images of the draugr character model in grave, impish detail, hollow white eyes crowding a snub nose as sinuous ropes of flesh make its body resemble something closer to a flayed corpse than living being. I have just one word to describe it: gnarly.


(Image credit: Midnight Forge Ltd)

When you get closer, you notice a slight imperfection that betrays the draugr's true malicious nature.

Luke Dodds

Thankfully, it sounds like Nowhere will be giving players a way to fight back against the draugr instead of going the defenseless Amnesia route. "As well as creating creepy atmospheres I'm also bringing some classic survival horror elements to the game," according to Dodds. 

"You will be able to run, hide, and try to fight back against the horrors you encounter," adds Dodds. "This goes hand in hand with the detective aspects of the game, as the more you uncover and learn about the story and what you face, the better your chances for survival. You never know what bit of information you can learn that will help you find a weakness or place of safety." These hints indicate the constant need for exploration that will underpin Nowhere in classic survival horror fashion, though whether we can expect to crack codes and break into sealed lockboxes to acquire a shotgun is yet to be revealed.

For Dodds and Midnight Forge, Nowhere represents a monumental first. "I've been very fortunate to work with studios on other amazing games [in a support capacity], and it's only inspired me more to make Nowhere the best it can be," says Dodds. "Focusing more on Nowhere will allow Midnight Forge to become more independent, creating more games with our own IPs and building a name for ourselves as a narrative-driven horror studio in our own right."

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Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.