While We Wait Here Preview – a germaphobes nightmare

While We Wait Here Preview

In While We Wait Here, you play for a restaurant owner who tends to diners in the final moments preceding the coming of a disaster. Public service announcements have warned people to seek shelter, and yet the restaurant keeps running.

What disaster is it that’s coming? It isn’t specified directly, but from watching the game in action, it looks like some sort of tornado or other dangerous storm.

Whether the storm is just affecting this one town or if it’s more widespread is unknown, nor is it known if the storm is supernatural or otherworldly. Thinking of stories like Stephen King’s Mist and knowing this is a horror game, it’s possible the storm could be carrying monsters from outer space.

Whatever the nature of the storm is, the people dining in your restaurant are the ones who’ve decided not to seek shelter at this time. Their reasons are probably as varied as they are. Maybe some of them plan to seek shelter later shortly after this final meal. Others might be refusing to seek shelter because they’re in denial.

Who knows, maybe they are conspiracy theorists who think this is all some government plot to control them. Still others no doubt realize the true nature of the threat and have chosen to die regardless.

As the player character, you’ll be able to engage all of them in conversation as you fulfil their orders. You’ll have a chance to try and save their lives, convincing them to seek shelter, and getting to know them on a personal basis.

The developers have clarified one of the questions I had in my preview – you’ll get to play for multiple characters, though the diner owner is the one you’ll play for the most.

This raises interesting questions on what the gameplay mechanics will be like for when you’re playing for a diner instead of the owner.

Still, I do have to wonder where the horror is in While We Wait Here. If the gameplay is just trying to convince people who are depressed to seek shelter, then I don’t think this can really be called horror.

Sure, knowing your loved one is going to die if they don’t seek shelter is horrific and tragic, but no one is calling the Twisters movies horror films. And games like Life Is Strange also feature a storm that causes mass death, but it never marketed itself as a horror game.

In Happy’s Humble Burger Barn (the other cooking simulator horror game I’ve played), a lot of the gameplay revolves around you preparing meals for the customers, making sure you cook the meat just the right amount, put the right topping on, and do other restaurant duties under a certain amount of time.

If you get three infractions, a terrifying cow monster comes out to kill you. Plus, there are other monstrosities hiding within the world, and a big reveal later on exposing an evil corporation that seeks to enslave humanity. You are one of their many pawns. The monsters and chase sequences in Happy’s Humble Burger Barn qualify it as horror.

Perhaps there will also be monsters in While We Wait Here, but so far, they haven’t been featured or even alluded to in any of the marketing. Just judging from what has been seen, it does not seem like While We Wait Here will have that style of gameplay. If there are monsters or serial killers or nightmarish hallucinations, then hopefully this will be alluded to as the game gets closer to its release date.

I wonder if the surplus of horror games we have on the market right now has led people to slap the term on things that are dark, but true horror. If Bioshock was released today, I guarantee there would be people calling it a horror game because of the spooky zombies, rather than as a first-person shooter game, which was what it was marketed as when it released in 2007.

None of this is to say that While We Wait Here won’t be a good game. If it comes to PS5, I will probably buy it, even if only for the cooking simulation segments. Happy’s Humble Burger Barn was one of my favorite games in awhile, after all. I just hope that if this isn’t truly a horror game the developers will re-label it before it actually is available to buy.

Before I end this article, I just have to point out one other detail that people have noticed about this game. The diner owner is shown making food for the public…without wearing gloves. This is a germaphobe nightmare come true and a violation of American health rules pertaining to public food preparation.

Several top commenters on the YouTube trailer pointed out that they would never eat at a restaurant that didn’t follow such basic health protocols, and I have to agree with them.

It’s going to be kind of hypocritical if you play for a diner owner trying to take care of their health, while serving them food in a way likely to spread disease. To paraphrase one commenter, “The scariest thing in this trailer is the fact you’re serving people food without wearing gloves.” Indeed.

While We Wait Here is slated to come out sometime later this year for Windows PC (via Steam).

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Participation Goblin is six feet tall, but only managed to win participation trophies in sports. He was always a much better gamer than a jock.


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