Devastated Dreams is a psychological horror game combining the two things that have scared me the most - being an expectant parent and feeling totally vulnerable in a rural area of the Philippines without any electricity or running water. It is a narrative focused game telling the story of Angel, a young woman who may or may not be expecting a child as she has to journey through twisted nightmares plagued by horrible monsters inspired by Filipino folklore.
Similar to the P.T. demo, much of the gameplay will be focused on exploring a nightmarish world with a completely oppressive atmosphere. When traversing the world, there will be clues to the story as well as other items that give insight into what it is like living in rural areas of the Philippines. The game's main purpose is to terrify, but we want to expose gamers to the Philippines and its interesting culture.
Like our last game, Devastated Dreams takes place inside nightmares, so if the player meets a terrible end, she'll wake up elsewhere and continue exploring the nightmares. The nightmares will have different settings as well as different situations for the protagonist. In some nightmares, Angel is pregnant but in others, she's not.
Devastated Dreams features several items that the player can use including a flashlight. When you have the flashlight, you can direct the beam with the second analog stick or the mouse. Besides amplifying the horror since you don't know what danger lurks in the darkness, the mechanic can be used for solving puzzles. Clues can be hidden in darkness and some demonic enemies may be afraid of the light, so the flashlight is very useful.
We aren't creating an action hero, so Angel can't sprint forever. The character has stamina similar to Neverending Nightmares, but when she runs out, she just walks slowly until she catches her breath. When you run, you lose the ability to aim your flashlight, so running can should only be used when necessary. We want to show Angel's strength, so she can run for longer than Thomas in our last game.
Shades of gray is a narrative theme of the game, so Devastated Dreams is presented in a grayscale watercolor/ink wash style. Interactive objects appear in color, so there won't be any pixel hunting. Blood and gore appear red to really make it stand out.
We have a dynamic lighting and shadow system that builds on what we developed in Neverending Nightmares to create an even more interesting effect. Layers of ink blots and other abstract paintings combine to form an animated darkness that constantly feels like it is closing in on the player.
We've created an advanced 2D animation system that is a blend of skeletal based animation as well as morph targets. The end result of the system is that we can create silky smooth animations that run at 60 Hz (or 120 Hz if your monitor supports it) as well as blending between animation poses.
We use advanced 3D rendering techniques to create interesting effects like water reflections, 3D splashes, as well as impressive lighting effects.
Similar to Neverending Nightmares, the story is told through seemingly unconnected dreams and nightmares. However, we will tell a compelling story in this game rather than just focusing on emotions and symbolism. Because of the importance of the game's narrative, we will be telling one story well rather than having branches and multiple endings.
The protagonist of the game is Angel, a young Filipino woman who is living in the rural area of Aklan in Western Visayas in the Philippines. Visayas is a region rumored to have the most aswang - Filipino legendary monsters that are like vampires and werewolves only more twisted.
Western Visayas was also devastatingly affected by super typhoon Yolanda (known internationally as Haiyan) in November of 2013. Yolanda is the strongest typhoon in recorded history and left an unrivaled trail of destruction in its wake as well as over 6 thousand deaths and 89 billion PHP ($2 billion USD) in damage.
The game will also feature other real locations from the Philippines including the Kabayan caves, which house fire mummies - incredibly well preserved bodies using a unique preservation process. Since the game takes place in nightmares, we can explore different regions of the Philippines that express the fears of the protagonist.
In some nightmares, Angel is pregnant. In others, she's looking for her child or her family. What happened to her child? Where is her family? Why do aswang haunt her in her sleep? You'll have to play the game to find out.
Devastated Dreams is a spiritual successor to Neverending Nightmares. We were able to create a dark atmosphere thick with tension, and we want to build on that for Devastated Dreams. We learned a ton during the development of our last game, so we are making a scarier and more compelling game.
We are influenced by P.T. Demo, and the amazing atmosphere, immersion, and tension it creates with minimal mechanics. The Silent Hill series is a huge influence with its psychological explanation of all of its monsters and apparitions. We are impressed by Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and its focus on evading enemies. The Siren series is another inspiration because of how it crafts terrifying settings inspired by foreign small towns.