A giallo mind behind Remothered: Tormented Fathers
Hey there, Chris! Thanks for this opportunity. As an admirer of horror and as someone who follows your work, I thought these questions to contemplate all of it. Before we talk about Remothered, could you tell us a little bit of your daily routine as a game developer?
Chris Darril, Creative Director and Author of Remothered: Tormented Fathers: First of all, I would like to thank you for this interview and the interest you are showing. Working in this field takes a lot of my free time and makes me have to make sacrifices like giving up on my greatest hobbies. However, my passion for films and video games is still quite lively, and I dedicate it a few hours each day with the excuse of having to
be up-to-date. Besides being a Nerd who loves movies, I am also very active. It’s always a good time for me to work out or go for a nice run. My typical day is quite simple: once I wake up I make myself a nice cup of coffee; I then grab the post-its, which I place in a billboard according to a timeline to report the bugs and/or narrative mistakes etc. I sit on my computer looking at what I did in the previous days, and at last, I guide and test the work done by the team, to have a final project that is strong and successful. I truly love what I do.
From a Clock Tower fan made-game to a full release, how did Remothered come to be and what changed on the process?
C. D.: Remothered is a project that dates back to 2007, considering its early sketches.
I began creating the concepts when I was still in school, but back then it was just a dream, more like the untold idea of something bigger. Later in life, I discovered new artistic expressions that influenced me. I then concentrated on studying and that’s when I started working in the video games industry. These experiences helped me mature and taught me a lot. I grew up and at the same time, the story of Remothered and its characters grew together with me.
After the experience as Art Director for Canadian company Psychose Interactive and their horror game, “Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities”, what made the realization of the project possible was definitely the founding of Darril Arts, a company that serves the video games industry, which I founded with some of my best friends.
When I met Stormind Games, I immediately knew that I could finally give life to the game just as I had imagined. We started working on Remothered right away and I was thrilled!
In some ways, I believe that it was a good thing that the game was created when it was created, and not 10 years ago. The experience I gained during these years was fundamental to the evolution of the plot and characters.
What happened to that definitive edition of Forgotten Memories? I’m not that eager on playing on my cell phone, and I was highly anticipating that one. And do you intend to come back to that world in the future? Better yet, is Forgotten Memories somehow related to Remothered?
C. D.: Unfortunately, after founding Darril Arts, and because of the hard job that I could foresee from the development of Remothered, I had to leave the guys at Psychose. I still have a great relationship with them, I often talk to them and they were thrilled and congratulated me for the publishing of Remothered on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However, I don’t know the real reasons behind the cancellation of the Remastered/Director’s Cut of Forgotten Memories, which was supposed to be launched on both consoles and PC. Interestingly, I do not believe that the issue was connected to the fame of the game since, during its exclusivity on iTunes, Forgotten Memories was one of the best-sellers for that year, and it was even nominated to 4 Canadian Games Awards.
How did your partnership with Hifumi Kono come to be? How was it to work with someone you admire and what went wrong with NightCry? My name is on the credits of that one!
C. D.: First of all, I want to compliment you on your participation in NightCry. Truly, I don’t know how Hifumi Kono discovered my little project Remothered. This small big Indie game, with graphics that recall an oil painting, strictly in 2D and developed by a single person. I received an email from his Nude Maker and by his back-then agent, who introduced me to him. It was an unexpected pleasure. An email that was more of a collection of compliments and a big thank you for keeping the fan’s wish of being able to play at a new Clock Tower vivid, since after all, the very first version of Remothered was a clear homage to the very first Clock Tower. We kept in contact through social media, Skype, and emails, when one day he asked me to be a part of the Kickstarter project for NightCry (back then also known as Project Scissors) side by side with sacred masters like Masahiro Ito (Silent Hill), Nobuko Toda (Metal Gear Solid), Kiyoshi Arai (Final Fantasy) and even Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge). I immediately accepted with no hesitation and it changed my life forever.
Are you a giallo fan? What’s your favorite movies and directors? I could see a lot of Dario Argento and Mario Bava on Remothered. Maybe I was hallucinating?
C. D.: Hallucinations?! Trust me, you were seeing clearly! I really appreciate giallos, and I can honestly admit that is the genre where we had some of the most brilliant Italian directors. My favorite is Pupi Avati, who I consider to be a true master in Italian horror, with his “The House of Laughing Windows” he reached the top for this genre, but also in his terrifying “Arcane Sorcerer”. Both have an outstanding photography, for which the director was inspired by German Expressionism. I also love movies by Dario Argento like “Deep Red” and “Suspiria”, and “Don’t Torture a Duckling” by Lucio Fulci.
To name some more, I absolutely love “Rosemary’s Baby”, one of my favorite movies ever, and believe “Psycho” is without any doubts one of the symbols of psychological horrors. Every time someone speaks about this genre I always think of Hitchcock’s masterpiece!
How did the characters come to be? Are they based on real people, regarding their backstories? Because it’s impossible not to think of Clarice Starling when looking at Rosemary, and everyone must tell you this…
C. D.: Yeah, a lot of players did comment on the resemblance between Rosemary and Clarice but also to Dana Scully from “The X-Files”. And guess what? You are right but, well, just partially. There’s also Tippi Hedren from Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, Mia Farrow from Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby”, Naomi Watts in “Mulholland Dr” and Kelly McGillis in “The Accused” with the add of the character Helen Maxwell from “Clock Tower” (aka “Clock Tower 2” in Japan).
But all of the characters in Remothered: Tormented Fathers have a background and a story.
I was influenced by real people, of course, but now I can say that the characters in Remothered: Tormented Fathers have their own lives and moved away from the initial influences I wanted to give them, all of them are both victims and executioners.
The whole hide-and-seek feature on almost every horror game since what, 2010? Is this trend here to stay or do you see something different for horror games in the future?
C.D.: Well, as far as I am concerned, I don’t really see the hide-and-seek feature as sticking to all the horror games. Most modern games are full of cliches and features that are hot at the moment. For example, since the release of the TV show “The Walking Dead”, how many zombies video games have been released? Too many if you ask me, with just some great exception.
Talking about horror games, what’s your take for this genre nowadays? Are you happy with games in general, triple-A and indies?
C. D.: I am still and forever will be a great horror games fan but not only! I love fighting games (my favorite series is “Mortal Kombat”) but also emotional trips, adventures, and dramatic stories. Speaking of games more in general and if I am happier with Indie or Triple As I truly cannot say.
The differences between the two used to be many, but with the evolution that the video games industry is going through, it honestly got me confused. I really don’t have much time on my hands, so Indie games are easier for me to play, but as a ’90s kid I cannot pass on a cult video game just because it is made by an AAA studio, or because I might not find the time to play.
What have you been playing? What’s on your console or PC while working on Remothered? And what have you been watching? And reading? (sorry for being too intrusive)
C. D.: I played “Horizon: Zero Dawn”, “Little Nightmares”, but also “To the Moon” and “The Last Guardian”. Then I tried “Outlast 2” (I never played the first one) but I just kept it in hiatus. And, I’m sorry but I honestly disliked it. Regarding the movies, I always watch all kinds of movies. Recently I watched the wonderful and unexpected new cult horror “Hereditary”, I loved “La La Land” but also “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”.
Will the next Remothered arrive as an early access game as well? What’re the lessons from this kind of approach? Do you already have a release date window?
C. D.: Right now there’s no plan on releasing chapter 2 through Early Access. We have a deadline on the developing part of the game, but regarding the release of this chapter, you’re going to have to keep following us to discover when the future release will be published.
The only thing I can say is that the developers have started working on the second chapter already and everything is taking its wonderful shape.
Thanks for granting us this interview! Do you have any message for Brazilian horror fans or any tips for young game designers?
C. D.: Keep doing what you do, with the awareness that if you don’t succeed today, you still have tomorrow and the future.
Never give up or lose your patience. In the end, time is the measuring unit to make your dreams come true. Invest in your future, make a lot of sacrifices, unpretentiously starting from the bottom, even if for 2–3 projects, that after all you don’t really like but those are the ones that will give you the right push to start learning, grow up and face new challenges.
Don’t force things! When the time is right, trust me, you’ll know!