The Dark Shift

“The Dark Shift” is a first person narrative thriller currently in development.

A single mother, Sophie, stays for a late shift in the New York diner she works in. As she’s cleaning
up and getting ready to head home to her daughter, she hears about an accident on the
highway that leads to the alleged serial killer “The Suburban Slayer” escape. Soon after, she
finds herself alone and locked inside the diner with strange occurrences happening. She
may not be alone there after all and for her the night becomes a desperate struggle to

I’ve started working on the project in mid 2021 with a small team that focuses on the development in UE5.

The game’s gameplay hook is insight. A mechanic that allows the player to see things through the killer’s eyes for a short amount of time. However the usage of the ability leaves the player vulnerable for attack.

Check out the game design document from early 2022.

Genre: First Person Narrative Adventure
Engine: Unreal Engine 5
Team Size: 3
Duration: May 2021 – Present
Platform: PC / Next Gen Consoles
Current Stage: Vertical Slice – Playable Demo

Below you can see the opening and the first five minutes of the latest build, followed by an overview of existing features.

Current Team Composition:

Lead Design & Development: Mehmet Ekmekci
Sound Design & Original Music: Ian Macbeth
Producer / AI Development: Petr Macha  

Feature Overview:

Basic Movement & Interaction
  • Object inspection, physics movement and pick up
  • Interactive inanimate objects
  • Subtitles & sound cues before/after interaction
  • Tracking objectives with interactions and triggers

Dialog Trees
  • Using data tables and percolation, set up of automated dialog trees
  • Different choices bear different results and are saved to the character state
  • After the dialog is exhausted for the first time a new dialog tree opens
  • Sound cues, animations, object spawns or triggers can be bound to a dialog choice
  • Fully translatable and can work both with objects & characters

Insight Mechanic
  • Pressing the key for an x amount of seconds moves the player view to the killer’s viewport
  • Player is locked and uncontrollable during this time
  • Cooldown & UI indicator
  • Visual and sound effects attached to the usage of the mechanic

Basic Inventory System
  • Picked up items go to the inventory
  • Objects of same type can get stacked
  • Items can be used to unlock doors, boxes, safes or activate triggers and/or animations

Lighter Mechanic
  • Player can equip/unequip the lighter
  • Key press down tries to ignite the lighter
  • There is a 60% chance of succesful ignition
  • Key release or running extinguishes the fire