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Layers of Fear receives a brand-new chapter today as "a thank you" to fans

Free DLC 'The Final Prologue' stars the second game's villainous movie director.

A mannequin covered in blood sits slumped against the wall of a storage room surrounded by metal shelving. A movie poster on the wall behind it entitled "His Razor Blade" is illuminated by an out-of-place ornamental standing lamp. The mannequin holds out what looks like a saw to the POV viewer.
Image credit: Anshar Studios / Bloober Team

Artsy horror series Layers of Fear might have called it a wrap with this year's game, but it turns out there's one more treat in this bag of tricks: a new free DLC chapter. 'The Final Prologue' delivers yet another tale of artistic temperament gone all creepy and wrong, this time in the medium of film direction. The unexpected epilogue is part of a double celebration; it's nearly Halloween, obviously, but it's also there to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the founding of creator studio Bloober Team on November 6th.

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For the uninitiated, the new Layers of Fear shares its title with the 2016 original, but is neither a straightforward sequel nor a remaster, nor quite a remake. Instead, the latest game reimagines the first 2.5 titles in the series as scenarios in biographical novels being written by the new protagonist, The Writer. This provides a nice excuse to replay the stories of The Painter, The Daughter, and The Actor in spiffed-up and rejigged forms, as well as introducing a new framing narrative that serves to close out the trilogy.

Given that the human antagonist of 2019's Layers of Fear 2 was known simply as The Director, it seems likely that this new chapter will share his side of the sequel's story. 'The Final Prologue' isn't the first gaiden entry into the series: this year's game launched with a brand-new side chapter to the first title called 'The Final Note', which retold The Painter's narrative from the point of view of his wife and adversary The Musician.

It's interesting to note that The Painter and The Musician both ultimately come across as neither particularly heroic nor villainous either in their own or one another's narratives, instead seeming like two people whose marriage has come under unbearable strain thanks to their increasingly incompatible artistic ambitions, worsened by the demands of parenthood and both mental and physical health problems. It's a pretty nuanced portrait (pun intended) of both everyone and no-one being the asshole in a sad, bad situation.

In the sequel, however, The Director openly torments The Actor, who in their story comes across as a much more likeable character than most others in the series, even if they are still clearly messed up (as is expected of a Layers of Fear protagonist). So a chapter from The Director's point of view promises to either allow us to fully let loose as the obvious bad guy for once, or to humanise the series' most unredeemed human character to date. The trailer certainly makes it look like the former, but I guess we'll find out later today.

Layers of Fear (2023) was released in June, and can be purchased for PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. 'The Final Prologue' DLC is free for owners of the base game from today. In addition to the new chapter, Bloober Team recently released an official music video for Layers of Fear: a cover of the song 'You Are My Sunshine' performed by Polish artist Natalia Szroeder.

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