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The Developer Of Forgotten Memories Talks About What Makes A Survival Horror Game

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In recent years, it has been indie game creators who have been bringing out the big names in horror gaming rather than the bigger studios – Resident Evil is more of an action adventure series these days, and other horror game franchises have been similarly transformed, or simply died out. So it seems only appropriate that Guy Cihi, aka James Sunderland in Silent Hill 2’s voice actor, would be returning to voice acting in games through an indie survival horror game called Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities.

 

Siliconera spoke to Wilfried Marcadet, who is the producer and art director of Forgotten Memories, to find out what it has been like working Cihi. Marcadet also explains the concept of the game, speaks about working with a cliche, and explains why the studio targeted iOS before Wii U, PC, and PlayStation Vita.

 

Oh, and it’s worth noting that Forgotten Memories will be out for iOS on April 23rd.

 

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In your own words, what makes a classic survival horror game, as you refer to Forgotten Memories as being?

 

Wilfried Marcadet, producer: Adventure games with a heavy ambience, a lot of emphasis on exploration instead of combat, where protagonists are outnumbered and outpowered by enemies. Where progression is defined by unlocking rooms with keys, where puzzles and riddles will make you stall for a bit. These games also have an escalating difficulty.

 

Could you introduce the game’s plot and main character – what’s it all about?

 

In Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities, you’ll play Rose Hawkins, a woman who is searching for a missing young girl named Eden. Rose wakes up wounded and in a strange place she doesn’t recognize. While exploring the hallways of an old abandoned asylum to save a lost soul, Rose will find herself locked in a never-ending tragedy, frozen in time. She will have to confront her deepest fears to unveil the mystery behind her terrifying investigation.

 

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You say that Forgotten Memories focuses on “fear mechanics,” but what do you mean by this specifically?

 

Forgotten Memories evokes a constant sense of dread, interrupted only by spikes of high terror through a carefully crafted level design, enemies, music, everything has a purpose and meaning, most of the time to tell something to the player and induce fear.

 

Through what different means do you try to scare or creep out players of the game?

 

Feelings are induced through subtle manipulations of human psychological triggers, rather than predictable jump scares. Low ammunition, save points (instead of checkpoints), unpredictable events and enemies, sense being lost using an open in-door progression.

 

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What has it been like working with horror game greats Guy Cihi and David Schaufele? How did you get them on board?

 

We have been Silent Hill 2 fans since the beginning and for us having such stellar actors was key. Not only for us but any survival horror fan will be happy to hear their favourite characters’ voice again. So far, it has been a great experience, very kind and smart guys, both are very pumped by Forgotten Memories. Guy Cihi gives constant feedback and input, we are building up a long relationship and you’ll certainly hear from us about future collaborations outside Forgotten Memories series. There’s a bunch of projects coming from both parties in which we’ll work together.

 

Why did you want to target mobiles before any other platform with Forgotten Memories?

 

Forgotten Memories was always an iOS product. For the entire duration we’ve spent in development, our intention was to start on mobile and then scale up with time (reaching out to bigger platforms). It may change in the future for the rest of the series, we’ll probably target consoles and desktop first (or perhaps do a simultaneous release on every platform), it’s a bit early to say but things can change in that regard.

 

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Are you adding any extra features to the game when it comes to other platforms – for instance, will the Wii U and PS Vita versions use both buttons and touchscreen control methods?

 

That’s the idea, we are improving graphics on consoles and they will probably get some extra content. Vita and Wii U already support physical buttons and touch controls (simultaneously).

 

Have you ever heard of the Asylum Jam? It brings attention to the trope of using asylums and mental health in horror and encourages people to find other ways to create horror. Having made a game set in asylum what do you feel about that?

 

Never heard of Asylum Jam. I do agree asylums are a bit cliché in the horror genre but it’s also one of the most terrifying places to be and a good place to unroll a terrific story. That’s what horror is all about: a haunted mansion, a lonely town, a dark forest, a crazy asylum where the audience can identify themselves. We however, don’t approach the story in a traditional amnesia-like way, we actually explore an asylum, historically, you learn about peoples, their employees, the relationship between them, how things started, how they degenerated. This is where the true essence of the game kicks in. A well-told narrative with a strong character development is the most important thing in any horror game.

Chris Priestman