Nine Inch Nails Guitarist Working On His First Video Game Project Alongside Spec Ops: The Line Director

Horror games and industrial rock collide as legendary rock guitarist Robin Finck announced his deeper dive into video games with studio Eyes Out, co-founded with Spec Ops: The Line creative director Cory Davis.

While most gamers nowadays get to have their pick of military shooter games amongst a vast and diverse market, there is something that has been noticeably meeting for almost a decade now, and that is true emotional depth. As more and more developers and publishers focus on futuristic warfare with grappling hooks and skinned guns, the realistic and often very ugly side of war has been all but left as a concept.

Nine years ago, a revolutionary title called Spec Ops: The Line was released by 2K Games, developed by German studio Yager Development as a reboot to the then-famed Spec Ops series of games. Unlike its predecessors, and other third-person military shooters at the time, Spec Ops: The Line showcased a very grim and dark picture of the absolute horrors of war, with the game taking inspiration from the famous Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. That said, the game sold below 2K’s expectations, which led to the death of the Spec Ops series as a whole.

That said, the creative director behind it has announced his return to horror elements with Eyes Out, a new development studio. What’s even more interesting is his partner and co-founder, Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, and their first project will be a horror title.

Meeting on ‘Here They Lie,’ and an instant connection

First reported by Gamesindustry.biz, Eyes Out’s debut title, as described by the announcement, will be a “single-player immersive cosmic horror game with strong environmental storytelling elements.” The studio will be based in Los Angeles.

This was not Finck’s first foray into video games, as the guitarist has worked before on two titles. The first is No Code’s Observation, a space horror game which was released in 2019. He is also credited for the soundtrack of the survival horror title Noct, set to be released sometime in the future by publisher Devolver Digital and developer C3SK.

Davis, on the other hand, is best known for his role as creative director and lead designer for Spec Ops: The Line during his tenure at Yager Development. Besides this, he also worked on both the Condemned and F.E.A.R. franchises, and more recently as the creator and composer of Here They Lie, a PlayStation VR horror experience.

It was this game, Here They Lie, which crossed Davis and Finck’s paths together. As Davis commented, “When I was finishing up work on Here They Lie, Robin wandered into our studio and I felt a very strong connection to his open, creative view of existence, and the power of music. We instantly started working on some prototypes I had in development at the time and together we launched straight toward something unexpected. Robin’s vibrant and boundless approach to the creative process drives our work far beyond my previous experience. It’s such an exhilarating trip to venture into the darkness together.”

It would be interesting to see how the duo’s first project will turn out. A look at the description and the word ‘cosmic’ pops up, which would imply something Lovecraftian in nature. At its core, Spec Ops: The Line was also a horror title, albeit with the concept being introduced as the players slowly progressed through the game. It was no doubt a masterpiece ahead of its time, and Eyes Out has a lot to live up to with this horror game if the duo wants to prove their worth in the gaming space.

Kenneth Araullo
A writer specializing in video games, with two years of writing experience backed by a decade and a half of playing games. A PC Gamer and Dota 2 enthusiast at heart (will also take the occasional Switch title every now and then), he has reviewed multiple titles across many genres, and reported on many, many more.