So it hasn’t gone without my notice that I’ve transitioned from working on a zombie game, quite possibly the second most cliché and over used genre, to working on a first person survival horror game, quite possibly the first most. I addressed my feelings about trying to avoid cliché genres in an earlier post ( spoiler alert: I ran out of shits to give), but if I am going to tackle a very cliché genre I should at least tackle it in a way that is original. So the question stands, “What makes Milo’s Many Nightmares special?”
- Location : One of my all time favorite games was American Mcgee’s Alice. The premise of the game meant that Alice was in a world so disconnected with reality that it gave the game maker carte-blanche to do whatever they wanted. It produced some of the most interesting levels, characters, and atmospheres without having to stray too far from the standard platformer game style. What I love about Milo’s Many Nightmares is that the premise is giving me that same ability to create crazy levels, monsters and puzzles without ever needing to question if they really make practical sense. It’s allowing me to get very imaginative with design and I’m enjoying it way more than I thought I would. Every level is a separate nightmare that takes place outside of time and space drawing the player further in just to see whats around the next corner. ( hopefully 😉 )
- Emphasis on creepy over scary : Being scary isn’t hard, you just have to surprise the player in a negative way. Being scary for the sake of being scary isn’t that fun either. There’s a ton of indie games out there right now that I feel fall into this pitfall of just throwing gore up on the screen or bombarding the player with jump scares. It’s my intention to try to avoid both of those things. The type of fear I’m going for is the slow burn fear. The type that wears away at the player without them realizing it.
- Color: One of the things that bugs me about modern horror games is that there seems to be a feeling that everything needs to be as dark as you can make it and the only colors you can use are dark tones of brown, green and grey with the occasional red blood.. Lighting is important in the horror genre and putting the player in a dark atmosphere definitely has an unnerving affect, but you shouldn’t make the whole game a pitch black, and you shouldn’t limit your color palate. Moments of darkness are made darker if presented immediately after bright areas that put the player’s mind at ease. Color and lighting like everything else need to be dynamic. You can’t just keep it as though the player unwittingly locked themselves in a closet. Closet Simulator 2015 isn’t any fun to play.
- Game-play Mechanics: I want to avoid the walking simulator game genre. There are a decent number of horror games that follow the haunted house theme, where the player walks from point A to point B and tries to avoid monsters on the way. This may work for some games, but I would like to avoid that if possible with this game. I want the world to feel real, and the best way to accomplish that is to make it as interactive as possible. This is a big one that I don’t have time to get into right now, but keep an eye open for how I plan to accomplish this in a future post.
- Story: There is a story behind Milo’s Many Nightmares, although it may be a while before I try to implement it in-game. The story centers on young Milo and the Head of Nightmares working together to figure out why Milo, unlike other people, only ever has nightmares. The narrative unfolds through a series of nightmare puzzles each themed on a specific phobia. Right now 10 phobias are planned but that number may grow or shrink depending on development. I’m really pleased with the story I have planned. Hopefully it works as well in-game as it does in my head.
So that’s why I feel this game isn’t just like every other game on the market right now, and that’s why I’m willing to work on it despite it’s over used genre. Hopefully my final product matches up with my over zealous game design. Keep checking in weekly to see how this goes.