Interview with Camel 101, Developer of Those Who RemainJun 3, 2020 | 1 Votes by Aethyna 10 rate Join us as we talk with Those Who Remain's developer, Camel 101, about their game and what they have in store for the future!
We're honored to have a virtual sitdown with the developer of Those Who Remain, Camel 101, to talk about their newly-released game.
1. What classic supernatural film and/or TV series that had inspired Those Who Remain?
The major inspirations for the game come from movies and tv shows.
Dormont, the fictional town where the action takes place, was heavily inspired by Twin Peaks. Both towns seems like peaceful and happy places where nothing special really happens, but they’re both harboring dark secrets just beneath the surface.
I’m a huge fan of David Lynch and his work, and we tried to capture that weirdness that’s so typical of him in the game too.
Stranger Things was another major inspiration. We were playing around with the idea of portals and different realities when we first started drafting the game ideas and that's when Stranger Things came along. We thought the ‘upside-down’ looked really cool, and that it was exactly what we were trying to do here. So, we created our own alternate dimension – which is very different from the upside-down – that’s almost like a twisted version of our own reality, like a mirror.
The shadow figures that stand in the dark are reminiscent of the ghosts from John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’. Dormont has a retro classical look, and so the audio design matches these visuals too, almost throwing back to the 80’s.
There are several influences, some more direct than others. We did put several Easter eggs and references in the game. Our way of paying homage to stuff that we love.
2. I’m sure developing a horror title isn’t as easy as it seems. Are there any particularly tough challenges which are exclusive to making a horror title that the team has faced while developing Those Who Remain?
When we started this project, we knew what we wanted to do: a scary game that could bring something new to the table, while avoiding the usual jump-scare tropes.
Avoiding the jump scares was probably the biggest challenge. It’s easy to place someone screaming behind a door, or a door closing with a bang when the player enters an area, but these actions are not creating fear. These are just momentary things. After a while, they become predictable and annoying.
So, we built an atmosphere - a setting that feels oppressive and dangerous throughout, where the player feels constantly watched and uneasy. Shortly after the game starts, the player learns that he can’t go into the dark. There are strange shadowy figures roaming in the darkness, who will attack and kill whoever gets close. And they are always there. If it’s dark, they’re there. Always following the player with their gaze, waiting for their chance.
This creates an unnerving feeling, as the player never feels completely safe. He knows that all it takes is for a lamp to fail or a light bulb to explode.
As the game progresses, the player is introduced to other enemies, some of which can walk in the light too. Basically, as the player gets used to a particular rule, we introduce a new one, so that he never gets comfortable facing whatever the game throws at him.
3. I see that your studio has developed a horror title before, called Syndrome. Did your experiences with that game helped with the development of Those Who Remain?
Syndrome is a very different game. It has combat, it’s more linear and takes place inside an enclosed area.
That being said, it helped a lot with the development of Those Who Remain. We took a lot of lessons from Syndrome – we analyzed what worked and what didn’t; what were the strong points; what the players disliked most – and used them here.
One important lesson was that all the puzzles and the whole game needed to be tested while the game was still in development. I don’t mean QA and bugs – but the logic and game flow itself. So we got in touch with a few game development-related technical schools and universities and asked them if they were interested in organizing game testing sessions with us.
They were, as it was a positive experience for their students to participate in the testing of a commercial game, and we got precious feedback from watching them play. Some puzzles were harder than we thought, others were too easy - and so we got the chance to work on these areas and retest them again until we were happy with the result.
That’s probably one of the biggest lessons we got from Syndrome: test, test a lot. Then test some more.
4. According to the game’s Steam page, Those Who Remain features multiple endings. How many different endings will players be able to uncover?
There are three different endings, based on the player’s choices. There’s a good, a bad, and a horrible ending.
5. I’m asking this for a friend who gets scared easily but can’t seem to resist a horror game with a good story – Are there any jump scares in this game?
I have a friend just like yours. He gets scared too but at the same time, he can’t stay away from horror. Crazy.
But back to the question: we don’t have cats jumping in front of the camera, loud thuds blasting all of a sudden or random people screaming when the player goes around a corner.
But we do have scary and unnerving situations. An interesting thing that happened during the playtest sessions that I mentioned above, was that we noticed the players getting scared in places that weren’t supposed to be scary. We hadn’t planned anything special for that specific area, yet the shivers and shudders – sometimes screams were there. This was incredibly rewarding and satisfying.
6. It seems like the pandemic has caused a lot of delays for game releases, including yours. How does the pandemic affect the development of this game?
Our team has been working remotely for a long time now, so we barely felt any difference in the development flow. Adding to that, when the pandemic hit us, we were already on the last stretch of production.
But we were affected nonetheless: the original plan was to release the game simultaneously on digital and physical, but unfortunately the retail side of things has been heavily affected, meaning that production and distribution are suffering a few delays. So, we decided to release on digital first while retail is coming a couple of months later.
7. Once Those Who Remain is released, what project/s will your studio be taking on next? Mind giving us a sneak peek as to what fans of your studio could expect?
I can’t give any specifics, as we haven’t completely decided on where to go next but I’m quite sure we’re going to stick to the horror genre.
8. Would you like to add anything?
I hope you have the chance to try the game. It is our most ambitious project to date, and we are really proud of what we have achieved. We put in a lot of effort to try to create something unique, with an experience that can bring something new to the genre.
Those Who Remain is not a traditional, classic horror story. But I promise you will be scared. And think carefully about what you do in the game. Your choices have consequences.