For some, survival horror is a dying art. Others may even argue - given examples as recent as Silent Hill: Downpour and Resident Evil 6 - that the genre is already dead; that, like a mutilated corpse you find tossed along your path for no apparent reason, it just isn't able to scare you anymore. And while it is true that the likes of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Slender Man: The Arrival, and Among the Sleep, are but a handful of horror hopefuls looking to resuscitate the art form, I decided to cover a lesser known project, one that is perhaps the most promising of them all. I recently had the honor of speaking with Chris Darril, project lead, writer/director as well as character/location designer of Remothered, a survival horror title unlike any other.
Games Abyss: Can you tell us about Remothered; what is the game about?
Chris Darril: Remothered is a game about four orphaned girls who have recently moved to a "family-house" property known as the "Red Wineyard" after their orphanage (Flemmington Girls' Institute) is closed down. Before the girls are able to adjust to their new home, they learn of Red Winyward's sordid past: a woman's mysterious suicide, and the inexplicable death of her child, after a long period of confinement in an asylum. Shortly thereafter, the girls begin disappear, one after another…
Games Abyss: On Remothered's development, how long have you been working on this title, and what has the experience been like so far?
Conceptually, Remothered began in 2009, but it wasn't until 2010 until it really became a reality. At that time, I started working on the script and the gameplay in earnest. When I animated Jennifer Sutton (one of the game's main characters) for the first time, I felt such an extreme sense of satisfaction. When the project first began, it was a bit too similar to Clock Tower, and even Dario Argento's Phenomema. It was so close to the source material in fact that many believed it to be a remake of CT or even a videogame adaptation of Argento's cult classic film. This was understandable as many of the characters' name were taken right from the original Clock Tower. However, it wasn't long before I added new elements the game; characters such as Madame Svenska, Richard Felton (the Gardener) and Red Nun really brought a lot of personality to the project and helped give it its own distinct identity.
Games Abyss: It would remiss of me not to mention Remothered's planned Wii U release, a fact that is sure to comfort those who believe Nintendo's new console isn't for a mature audiences. What can you tell us about working with the Wii U, as well as your expectations for Remothered on the Big N's next generation console?
Chris Darril: I was hoping you would mention that! While I can't go into too many details on the development side of things at this time, I can say that we have high hopes for Remothered on the Wii U! We are excited to be bringing such a dark tale to a console that many believe won't be 'hardcore' enough.
Games Abyss: Horror fans aren't scared so easily these days. Do you believe Remothered is going to be able to genuinely frighten its increasingly jaded target audience?
Chris: Darril: There is certain relatability with Jennifer; she is a vulnerable 15-year old girl caught up in something that is grounded in reality. She isn't a superhero, she's just an ordinary teenager trying to survive. A lot of the tension arises from how defenseless she is. The cat-and-mouse game she plays with the residents of Red Wineyard is a constant theme throughout as Jennifer is always trying to remain one step ahead of her pursuers. Simultaneously, Jennifer must struggle with a demonic presence coming from within. So while she is to trying to run and hide, she's also battling with this malevolent force.
Games Abyss: Rumor has it that Remothered was purchased by Artematica. Is there any truth to these rumors? How has the project changed for you personally ever since partnering with a software publisher?
Chris Darril: Earlier this year, Remothered was featured at Global Game Jam where it received unexpected acclaim and attention. Soon thereafter, several software companies approached me with deals to develop and publish the title. As for Artematica, I absolutely adore them; I grew up with their projects. And starting this year, I finally had the privilege to work with them. Artematica has expressed interest in Remothered on many occasions It was their interest, in fact, that led to me eventually working with them. This is all I can say about it at the moment, I'm afraid.
When I was on my own I was able to go at my own pace and I would share just about anything concerning the project with the fans. Now with a bigger team, we are trying to keep the release of information to a minimum; we really want Remothered to look its best before we reveal its new 3D form.
I've also realized how important funding is to a project like this. I am a big-idea guy and thanks to this deal, I don't have to make any artistic sacrifices – and that is a huge win not only for me, but for the fans as well. Securing funds to make games at the level of the Resident Evil or Silent Hill is especially difficult here in Italy; big budget, AAA games don't come out of our country very often. I want to confirm however that Remothered has a budget of at least $1 million.
Games Abyss: Aside from Clock Tower and Dario Argento's works, what else have you drawn inspiration from, be it games, film, or otherwise?
Chris Darril: I like to think of Remothered as a dark fairy tale: a Snow White and the Seven Dwarves meets The Exorcist. I grew up with Disney favorites like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King, but also with movies like The Silence of the Lambs, Suspiria, and Stephen King's IT. I think that all of these elements came together to create a very unique vision of horror for me personally.
Games Abyss: Tell us about your art style, do you have any favorite artists that you were influenced by?
Chris Darril: I’m certainly one who is really trying to have his own art style without having copied anyone else, but I want to be honest: I love Guillermo Del Toro, Tim Burton, Walt Disney, and have been deeply influenced by their work.
Games Abyss: Sound design is crucial for any horror game to be a success. Tell us about the Remothered's soundtrack, and what went into creating its music.
Chris Darril: I've had the honor of working with talented artists like David Gonzalez, Dan Beyer and Mattia Gosetti. The score is downright haunting, and unlike anything I've ever heard before.
Games Abyss: Given Remothered's allusions to Clock Tower, can players expect multiple endings, or scenarios that are directly influenced by the players' actions?
Chris Darril: In Remothered it is possible to play as Jennifer, her best friend Lindsay, and Rosemary, the girls' tutor. As Jennifer struggles to ward off the demonic presence within her, you may reach a moment where you either let the demon take hold of your soul, or challenge it.
Games Abyss: Can players expect secrets/unlockable items upon finishing the game?
Chris Darril: Definitely!
Games Abyss: Is there a scheduled release date?
Chris Darril: Unfortunately, no. All we can ask is for everyone to remain patient and to keep checking back for updates. We are working really hard, though!
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