One thing that I love doing in this blog is promoting indie games from my home country, Greece. We have a fledgling dev community who tries to take its first steps over the past couple of years with games from devs like Emilios Manolidis, NAK Games and Insanity Studio and they need all the promotion they can get.
This time, we feature an interview with DreamTale Studio, a Thessaloniki based team consisting of Stella Eleftheriadou (Game & Level Designer), Tom Sfetsios (Game Developer), Alex Tzortzidis (System Engineer) and Sotiris Ntougioutzoglou (Sound Engineer). Stella took the time to answer the questions we had about this project, so let’s dive right in!
What inspired you to start working on Noctem?
Truth be told, neither one of us had a job at that time, so we needed to start doing something with our lives. Instead of finding a job that is not in our field, we decided to risk everything and invest on what we wanted to do most. We wanted to create a video game.
At the start we didn’t even know what genre it would be, but our passion for horror games and movies is what inspired us to start working on Noctem. One of our main inspirations are games like S.O.M.A, Amnesia and Layers of Fear. We have been inspired by movies and TV series such as Stranger Things and The Haunting of Hill House and in a whole month of brainstorming we came up with the idea that worked better for us.
Can you tell me a bit more about the story of the game and the world behind it?
Ok so… The story has changed a lot since the first time. As a game designer, I was never truly satisfied with it and always wanted to add more, make it more meaningful. I didn’t just want to create another horror game, but also tell a story.
The Alaska Triangle connects the state’s of Anchorage, Juneau and Barrow creating a triangle in which many people have disappeared and most of them have never been found.
The game is set in Dry Creek which is a little town inside that triangle. Amelia Hudson used to live in Dry Creek with her family, right before she moved to England to study writing. She had lost her mother in an accident that happened inside the house, but she never really learned the real story and at the time she was in England ,her father had been found dead under mysterious circumstances.
She makes the decision to return to the house and find the cause of her father’s death. By the time she arrives though, she knows that something is wrong. She could feel that she was not alone in the house but she was determined to do everything she could and unveil that mystery.
Humans haven’t yet explained the complexity behind the theories of the parallel universes, the only thing we can do, is only imagine.
In a sea of indie horror games, what do you think that makes Noctem stand out?
There are so many indie games, not only in the horror genre, that it is very difficult to use the word “stand out”. Every single game has something new to offer, from different stories and experiences to different game mechanics. Every game is unique in its own way and that is what we are trying to do with Noctem. There is no parthenogenesis, only inspiration. We are trying to present a game based on immersion, realistic environment and a different fantasy scenario inspired by real life based events.
On late December you came back on social media mentioning that you started extensive reworks of the game. What are the changes compared to the old version?
The game has actually changed a lot, from story scenario to level design and game mechanics. As I mentioned above, there are changes in the story that led to different needs of environmental design and mechanics. The house is at least twice as big as it was, all the rooms have been reworked from assets to textures and lighting and a whole new level has been added.
As we wanted to achieve the best possible horror experience, we added some new mechanics (such as run, hide etc…) and since we don’t believe in constant “jump scares” we tried to lean into more psychological horror elements (such as sanity, asthma inhaler etc…).
We will also present a whole new model that will not be friendly at all and it will not only try to mess with your sanity…
Let’s keep the rest a mystery…
Last summer you launched a failed Kickstarter campaign. Do you have plans to launch a new one in the future, especially after the rework is finished?
Kickstarter was an attempt to try and raise some funds for the project since we knew we wanted to do more and raise the quality of our game. There are many projects that fail on Kickstarter campaigns because the audience doesn’t know their creators and these projects are abandoned if they don’t reach their fund goal.
In the first place we stated, that even if we don’t raise the desirable amount, we will never abandon the project. It would be a lot of help, but we are still working on it with whatever we have.
There are no plans on launching another campaign for Noctem, not because we believe it will fail, but because we hope it will succeed even without it. We are giving everything we can to make it happen and we hope for the best.
Where could people find you in order to learn more about the game and keep up with future updates?
Since we are giving all our time in completing the game, we don’t have a website yet.
But we have a Facebook and Twitter page that you can find us and see our process:
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NoctemTheGame/
- Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/NoctemTheGame
If someone would like to give a try on our alpha demo (before all the new changes) they can find it on itch.io.
- Itch.io Page: https://dreamtalestudio.itch.io/noctem
Do you plan to create a new demo, based on the new build of the game?
At this point we are aiming to release the full game as fast as possible and we wouldn’t like to waste more time for another demo. It may sound easy many cause people would think, it is not hard just take the first new chapter and release it, but it is actually more than that. Our only goal, is to go for the full release.
What is the current status of the game? Do you expect to release it soon and at what platforms?
At the time we are currently focused on creating the best possible environmental and immersive experience. The level design is 90% complete, the sound effects and music are added chapter by chapter (2 out of 5 chapters are complete) and the game mechanics are the most time consuming at the current time.
We are hoping Noctem will be released before the 4 quarter of 2020 or in the worst case scenario during that time.
Our plan is to release the game for PC and if everything goes well, we will consider the possibility for VR and even other platforms.
And that’s it folks! If you like horror experiences, you might want to keep an eye out for this one!