GameBoomers Watches Night Watcher
Stay Tuned for an Interview with the Developers
Gamers sometimes disagree on the correct classification of certain games. For instance, I don’t consider Black Mirror to be a horror game; yet others do. So, what exactly defines a horror game? Is your meaning the same as mine?
After being given the opportunity to interview the developers about their new “horror game” Night Watcher, I went searching for an exact definition of that term. Surprisingly, I didn’t find one.
However, I did find a classification called Survival Horror. The Free Dictionary online defines this as “… a video game genre in which the player has to survive against often undead or otherwise supernatural enemies, typically in claustrophobic environments and from a third-person perspective.” It further says “Survival horror is possibly the only video game genre that is defined by theme as well as gameplay style.”
Can you tell us how well Night Watcher fits into the Survival Horror category? Does it differ in some ways from the stereotypical horror game? If so, how?
Of course, the game we tried to create is very similar to classic horror. This is because of existing interests and feelings of gamers, most of whom have established horror game stereotypes. Therefore, it would be wrong to lose such a large and active audience of players and fans of classic horror games.
But we were not restricted to anything specific and have added a rich and extensive detective line. This allows the player to not only enjoy the horrific and brutal world of the game, but provides an opportunity to investigate and learn how it all began.
This game is inspired by the novel Night Watcher, by Oleg Divov. How closely does the game follow the book? To what degree did the pre-existing story limit or enhance your choices in developing the game?
We gave the game the exact same name as the book. However, it would be wrong to say that we adhered to the script of the book one hundred percent. Of course, we kept the main characters and the overall concept.
The main difference between the game and the book is that we emphasised the classic horror elements. In the novel, horror, black humour, and strong wordings are closely intertwined. Although the book and the game vary in action and atmosphere, the similarity of the game to the book can be clearly seen.
“Night Watcher” is described as a temporary title. Have you settled on a permanent title yet? Could you walk us through the naming process for a game?
Night Watcher has been approved as the official title for the game. In game design, very often it happens that the game name used in the design document (first stage), or perhaps even in the alpha version, is replaced at a later time by something that matches the visual and sound of the game more closely. But in our case, the name Night Watcher was the only one right from the very start.
Of course, at one time we had some doubts, and once we went as far as removing the name Night Watcher from the main menu. But then we came to the conclusion that it fits in the atmosphere of the game itself, and into all of the requirements for a successful promotion.
I understand that, in the course of the game, players will visit forty-five different gaming locations. Can you tell us more about the locations? The image with the floating islands looks futuristic. Will some or all of the game take place in the future?
No, the game has nothing to do with the future. Instead, the game takes place in the recent past. As for the location of the floating island, we just wanted to show that in order to deal and fight with evil, you need to move into its territory in a different world. And there you should strike hard and strike first.
I know we get to play as two different characters during this game. I’m assuming they are Andrei Luzgin and Vladimir Dolinsky. Can you tell us a bit about how you developed these characters and why the average gamer will care about what happens to them?
Prototypes of these characters come from the main characters of the novel. However, the appearances of the characters as well as the characters themselves undergo a little change. To clarify, the appearance and build of the heroes was done to very closely fit the descriptions in the book, but we changed the clothing to make it more appropriate for the game’s scenarios. Working on Luzgin’s character was a breeze, but Dolinsky made us sweat. There were several completely different prototypes before we finally decided upon one.
As for the player caring about the characters, I think as in any game, the player is obligated to protect the hero for whom he is playing. Indeed, in the virtual world of the protagonist, he is himself a player. And who does not love himself? Especially when he looks so good. <grin>
This part of the official press release has left some gamers a bit confused: “Five puzzles integrated into the gaming process.” It seems to say there are only five puzzles. Could you explain that statement in more detail, and tell us about the kinds of puzzles we’ll see in this game?
I think for a horror game with forty five locations, five puzzles will be enough. We have given much more attention to quests, dialogues, and arcades. The puzzles have been introduced mainly for filling out the detective line in the game.
I would like to retain some intrigue, and therefore will not describe any of the puzzles. We want to allow the player to face them himself in the field.
In a horror game, it is important for the player to be immersed in the game to such a degree that the tension becomes real to them. What devices or techniques did you use to accomplish this?
Yes, you’re right. It is very difficult to create an atmosphere where tension becomes real in a game. To do this, the backdrops, the settings etc. in the game were replaced by typical horror elements such as overcast weather, night time, unexpected developments, and intense music. All of this causes continuous uncertainty in the player giving them the feeling of being watched constantly.
I’ve seen Night Watcher described as “point-and-click,” but your website mentions “intuitive and user friendly controls.” Is the game controlled entirely by the mouse or does it involve a combination of the mouse and keyboard?
The game actually uses point and click technology. For the convenience of the player we made simple and intuitive tools, as well as friendly GUI-interface arcades and mini-games.
Where will the game be released first? Do you plan to release it in North America, and if so, when?
The first release will be in the ex-USSR. It is also scheduled to be released in other countries, including North America. And this should happen in the coming months.
If there is only one thing that a gamer takes away from this game, what would you like it to be?
Well, if they are playing for fun, let them take several heads of garlic to keep with them at all times. This will scare off cold viruses and vampires.
But to be serious, the goal of our game is to deliver the kind of fun fans of the horror genre have "come to expect - to" get their adrenaline flowing. The most important thing we hope to do with this game is to leave the player with a feeling of satisfaction once the game is over.
And my advice to you once the game begins, make sure you lock all of the doors behind you, and block the interior doors with chairs and close all the windows. After all, who knows, maybe the next city where you see this insurgency from the grave monster will be yours. And maybe they are closer than you think. Much closer.
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