Interview: Reaver On His Exciting And Uniquely Terrifying Indie Horror Game Haunted Investigations
Welcome to another exclusive eGamer interview, where we’ll be focusing on an in-development indie project, Haunted Investigations. It’s an up and coming horror game by indie developer Carl, also known as Reaver90 online. You can take a closer look at the project on the official website. The game is currently in its beta phase, and Carl is really ambitious with the project as he wants it to be the most horrifying experience you can come across. It’s particularly interesting for its more unique investigative elements, which reminds me a little bit of the horror title Condemned: Criminal Origins, which I loved.
But that’s enough rambling from me. Hopefully this interview will peak your interest in the game or, if you already know about it, get you even more excited for its release. The full interview is below.
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eGamer: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. We like to get to know our indie developers, so can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started?
Carl: My name is Carl and I’m from Sweden, I always wanted to develop games, ever since I got my very first console when I was a kid. This was sort of an addiction that never stopped, I’ve always played games and never stopped playing them. I graduated from high school in computer science and intended to start with game development right away but it’s nothing of a small feat. With no prior history with game development and no computer jobs available I took a job at a restaurant. After each workday at the restaurant I came home exhausted, but being tired wont stand in my way of becoming a game developer. So I started to learn how to program, 3D model and designing games. After about a year of learning all of this, I took a shot and started my very first game called Haunted Investigations. A game based on my true passion of life, horror and games.
eGamer: Tell us, what is Haunted Investigations all about?
Carl: Haunted Investigations is a first person horror game where you play as a Paranormal Investigator called Melissa Rose. She is trying to investigate the death of her sister Rebecca Rose who died under weird circumstances in a remote location.
eGamer: As usual, I’ll ask my staple question: what is the biggest reason to play Haunted Investigations?
Carl: The biggest reason to play it is to explore the dark twisted world that I’ve created, a world full of violent stories and vile monsters that won’t hesitate to get rid of you if you get in their way. The game makes you feel like you are exploring and gives you this sense of dread. It’ll make you scared and it will make you scream. Everything that is great about horror.
eGamer: Where did your game begin? What was your vision for it, and how did you conceptualise it?
Carl: The very first thing I did was to see if I could make heavy dreadful ambience and how that impacted on people. So I let my sister try it out. The best thing was that she screamed and threw the computer mouse on the floor, and it’s thanks to her that I kept developing the game. So I made a bunch of different levels, (many of which are not in the full game today) and wanted to see what people thought. I got very good responses from people around the internet and it kept me going until I started working on the game for real. To create something on the top of your mind is like having a piece of marble and trying to create a lion, human and a car and have it all make sense. The vision I had from the start was just that, a mess and a plethora of ideas that would never have worked together. So I started working around the edges and focused on what my game will be. It has worked great so far and it’s close to becoming finished.
eGamer: I noticed that on the game’s website it says your aim is to create the “most horrifying gaming experience ever”. Can you give us insight on how you’re going to achieve this?
Carl: That is in the design of how ghosts work around you. Some ghosts can’t be seen or heard without using the correct gadgets. And when you do, you realize that the enemy was behind you the whole time. Other physical monsters are attracted to your lights that you have equipped, this means that you have to turn them off right away and run blindly around in the dark. Here’s the twist, the physical monsters are silent so you have no idea how close they are once you’ve turned the lights back on. It’s also terrifying to fight something that can’t be killed, the only thing you can do by then is run. Run and hope IT wont catch you.
eGamer: Following on from that, what were your sources of inspiration for Haunted Investigations?
Carl: I wanted to create something that was like the TV-show ghost adventures but on steroids. Everything you want to happen on that show that never do, happens in my game. Where people go to different locations with gadgets and try to find out if there’s anything paranormal going on. It’s exciting and has a sort of an adventure feel to it. But of course those shows don’t really have any monsters or people getting violently attacked by poltergeists. So it’s a mix between those TV-shows and different horror movies. Movies like, Poltergeist, The Shining, Wickerman (old Wickerman) and The Thing.
eGamer: What is the gameplay like? What is the objective of the game?
Carl: There are 2 modes a player can play. The first mode is the Story levels that focuses of course on the murder of Rebecca. Now the story levels are based on exploration and treading carefully about the environments, picking up clues and putting together pieces to solve the murder itself. The other game mode is real life hauntings and is based on locations that exist in real life. Hauntings like Lizzie Borden home, Sallie House, Blair Witch, etc. Those levels are survival / exploration focused. Both types of levels do have a small combat system. But the combat is not the main focus of the game, it’s very rare and when it does occour it’s terrifying!
eGamer: Your website reveals that there will be many different horror maps, and that the project will be expanded with new content and more gadgets to use in-game. Can you elaborate on this? What can we expect from the full game?
Carl: The new content will be real life hauntings as I intend to only tell one story. So once the story levels are complete I will continue on other maps that are separate to the story itself. As a paranormal investigator, they tend to have many different gadgets. Right now the game has the following gadgets: LED flashlight, Chestmounted flashlight, Infrared camera, EVP voice box, UV light and a Cross for protection. I intend to expand this so the players might have access to some sort of radar (Alien style), placeable cameras (if there’s something going on downstairs in a building the player can just switch to a new camera feed and see what’s going on) and much more. I have different horror maps so the player won’t feel isolated to one environment the whole game. So I mix it up a lot. They will explore cabins, castles, forests, suburban homes, apartments, old orphanages and much more. The player will also become possessed at one point allowing me to experiment with new kinds of geometry and illusions.
eGamer: What, would you say, makes your game scary?
Carl: Most of the inspiration to the horror comes from within myself. I’m putting in assets from what scares me the most. For example, I suffer from arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and eyeballs, not eyes themself but eyes out of their sockets. So what I do is to combine the two together! Creating some weird twisted monster that moves quick towards the player and never stops looking. The game also contains jump scares and I mean REALLY horrifying jump scares. You wont see them coming at all, some people might say that jump scares are cheap, I agree with them to a degree. The true fear is between the jumpscares, it’s what we don’t expect that truly scares us. So the game isn’t riddled with them but is used rather sparingly to prevent any cheap ones or overuses. But what I focus on the most is the atmosphere, you can’t have a horror game in daylight, open fields with flowers everywhere. I set the mood quite strongly. With heavy droning ambience and dark deteriorating environments. Also what I previously mentioned about the design of how you encounter ghosts, you don’t know when or where they are coming from, but you know that they are there. And you have to deal with them.
eGamer: What makes your game unique from other horror titles?
Carl: It’s the gadgets, story and design that makes my game unique. The gadgets will reveal what happend in a home and detect ghosts for you. Like the infrared camera will detect residual hauntings and active intelligent ghosts around you. Most of the time you can’t see any ghosts (both dangerous and none dangerous) without your infrared camera. So some enemies like demons are not visible at all until you start taking damage and you realize you weren’t careful enough. So the player needs to tread carefully through levels and use every gadgets true potential. The UV light has to be my favourite, as it detects certain liquids not visible through your normal flashlight. It can detect blood patterns and other liquids that’ll help the player puzzle together horrifying events. You can be standing in a room with nothing at all around you, then switch to your UV light and discover that the walls is covered with weird scriptures that weren’t there before. I’m putting down a lot of time on the story, it’s very important and it needs to be unique. I don’t really want to spoil too much about it because it’s more of an experience that has to do with all the levels in the story missions.
eGamer: Will Haunted Investigations be an ongoing project? Or does it have an end in mind?
Carl: I do have a gameplan written down that I follow. So I do have an end in mind, there will be more levels after the game is complete. Now those levels will be real life hauntings and I intend them to be DLC.
eGamer: How long will it take players to complete the game?
Carl: I’m aiming the game time to be around 5-6 hours long, with more content to come in the future.
eGamer: The game is currently in its beta phase. What’s happening right now in development?
Carl: Right now I’m fixing bugs, improving textures, environments and some game mechanics. There are more story levels that I need to implement, so the beta is more of the mecanics in the game itself. It takes time when you are a single developer and are trying to create something of this magnitude, but it’s going great so far.
eGamer: How can gamers get access to the beta?
Carl: It’s available through my website. Gamers can upgrade their account to a premium account, this gives them access to the beta and all future updates, plus the full game of course. Right now the price of admission is 3.94 Euros.
eGamer: Can you tell us when the full game will be released? And how much will it cost?
Carl: I’m aiming for summer of 2013 and if I don’t encounter any major problems the game will surely hit then. It’ll be around 8 Euros (roughly 10 Dollars).
eGamer: As a gamer, what would you do if your saw Slender Man out on your backyard?
Carl: I would stand facing a corner, because Slendermans logic is to only face you after a 180 degree turn.
Haunted Investigations is looking like a powerful entry in an ever-growing genre of indie horror titles. I very much like the unique twists of the game, and I can’t wait to play it. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Carl for doing this interview with us, and of course wish him all the best with the rest of development.
Look out for our full review, or more coverage on the game if possible, in future.