The Dark Pictures Gamescom Interview: Game Director shares new juicy details on The Devil In Me!
We have met with Tom Heaton, the game director, in order to better understand what makes the next installment of The Dark Pictures Anthology, The Devil in Me, so chillingly special.
For the occasion, fans of the series asked him to share his thoughts on the development of the game. Let's delve into this killer interview.
1. What made you choose Jessie Buckley as your lead actress for The Devil in Me?
When we create a character, we are thinking about "What makes a cool character? What makes it so that we can create an arc where we can develop her over the course of the story? What makes someone that is interesting for the player to play as?".
And when it came to casting, as soon as we were talking about Jessie Buckley, I knew that she was the right person for us. Of course, she is a fantastic actress - she is terrifically good - but she also felt like the right person for Kate. She had that vulnerability and that sensitivity, but also that passion and commitment that Kate has.
2. Considering the more psychological villain, how fleshed out are the characters in this game? Do they all have arcs you can complete if they survive?
All of our characters have arcs: that is really important for us. They all experience growth, they've all got problems, or flaws, or things they need to address in their life and over the course of the game, they develop, they have character arcs - as long as you keep them alive.
3. Is the game going to be as diverging if not more than Man of Medan's, such as characters taking the place of other characters and more rare chapters?
It is very difficult to measure the amount of branching and diversions in the game. But yes, what the players does in the game has consequences, it has repercussions and certainly it is true, if someone has died or is unavailable - if one of the characters has died, another character has to step up in that chapter and play that portion of that chapter, or you'll unlock special levels or levels that can only be played in certain circumstances. It's highly divergent, the choices that you make matter, and they all impact the story.
4. If this game is based on H.H Holmes, did you use his actual house floor plan to help model the house in the game?
No we didn't, because it doesn't really exist. The outside of the H.H. Holmes murder castle, there are photographs of it and stuff like that, so we were really able to get that authentic look, but the interiors are a bit of a mystery.
There are some maps of it, but they are not very reliable - and they wouldn't have made a very good game, to be honest. So, we have our own production design team. We have got a department that thinks about how buildings work and look authentic - periods, hotels - and they've made something really special that works with the game but also looks really great and is true to the spirit of an 1890's hotel.
5. Which scenes were the most fun to create? Any scenes you're super proud of?
Well, I can't talk about individual scenes, because I don't want to spoil the game in anyway - but I always loved making the action sequences. They're complicated, there's a lot of branching in them, they have very high stakes - people can live or people can die, and when we do the motion capture, we have to set up quite complicated sets. We have performers ducking under things, jumping over things, that's all fun to do.
And then when we get it back to the studio, we have to edit that to make it really exciting - nice, fast editing, very cinematic. So yeah, look out for those chase scenes, they are fun!
6. Does having a human killer instead of a monster change the way horror is built and created in the game?
Yes, having a human killer definitely changes things up. People are scared of different things.
That's something that you learn when you are working in horror. But for me - and it's a very personal thing - serial killers are the scariest thing. Because there's a human there, with human intelligence that understands you, that has the same sort of motivations as you and humans can be cruel - they can be sadistic.
So we've really went into that, I really enjoyed working with human threats. It is more psychological, it is more intimate, and ultimately - for me, at least - is scarier.
7. What are some of the different approaches you took when working on The Devil In Me vs your time directing the first installment Man Of Medan?
As a team and as a studio, we have learnt so much since Man of Medan. Man of Medan itself was a learning experience, then we had Little hope and House of Ashes. The team improved through those games, learning things and improving bits of the games.
I think that one of the things that I have learnt personally is that we thought much harder about the branching. We understand how the branching narratives work much better now; we try and make the branches more significant. And the other thing that we really stepped up in this game is our performers. We have hired performance director that have helped so much with our casting, we have a brilliant cast in this game.
But also getting the best out of the actors, helping them understand the script and getting performances that tell a story and help the players empathize. So that's a big change!
Digital pre-orders are now open! Book your stay now and be prepared to have a killer time.