An Interview With the Developers of Detention
Detention is a horror game set in Taiwan. It came out last year to a positive reception and is now planned for a Switch release sometime this year. Take a look at the original launch trailer.
Intrigued by Detention, we got in touch with Red Candle Games to learn more about it.
What inspired you to pick 1960s Taiwan as the setting for Detention?
Detention started out as a solo project by Coffee Yao. The original idea was simple, to tell a story of Taiwan. At first, the time was set in the 1980s, as it was when Coffee grew up and could reflect to. But to create the background for this atmospheric horror game, we dived deep into our own history and came across the martial law period White Terror during the 1960s Taiwan. It was a time when dictatorship was enacted, and people were living under fear, and we felt that the fear coming from the extreme oppressiveness could be a good match to create the psychological horror environment for our horror game.
According to its description, Detention makes use of folklore, mythology, and cultural references as a part of its story. Do you have any suggested resources for fans interested in learning more about this aspect?
Many of the cultural references that we used in Detention is a part of our everyday life. Like the folktales that we listened to as bedtime stories, the Taoism/Buddhism practice and values that were passed down from family. It’s all derived from Hokkien culture, and for those who are interested in knowing more, Hokkien culture is a good subject for a starting point.
The music in Detention’s trailer reminds me of Silent Hill. Was that one of the games that inspired you? What were your biggest inspirations while designing the game?
As gamers and game developers, there are many games that influenced us deeply. And Detention certainly has inspiration from the early Silent Hill series. Apart from that, I think you can easily find traces of other great games in it as well. Classic Japanese horror titles like the early Resident Evils, Clock Towers, as well as recent indie horror titles like The Cat Lady, Neverending Nightmares, Lone Survivor, and the list goes on. Those great games not only paved the way for us to build a game like Detention but inspired and cultivated us to do so.
Detention is a 2D side-scrolling horror game focused on atmosphere and puzzles. Gameplay-wise, would you consider it to be closer to a point-and-click adventure game or to a survival horror game?
We would consider Detention shifted more towards point and click puzzle/adventure rather than a pure survival horror experience, but it’s definitely a hybrid of the two genres. Though we did implement some survival mechanics, for example the stealth gameplay against the monsters, the weight of it certainly isn’t heavy enough for us to consider survival as our core gameplay. In fact the survival elements weren’t part of the game at the early stage of production, but after a few prototypes we decided to spice up the experience by giving players a sense of insecurity, and one thing led to another which resulted in the current gameplay.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about Detention?
Detention is a narrative-driven atmospheric horror game inspired by Taiwanese mythology/cultural elements. We managed to recreate the 1960s environment with the graphic and sound design, and to build a fictitious world about what might’ve happened in that time period. Under the layer of horror, there is certain emotions and feelings that we hope to convey to the audience. The fact that Detention is our studio’s debut title, we know there’s a lot of room to grow and improve. We will continue to strive for the best. And hopefully in the long run, Red Candle Games will keep making games that we all enjoy playing and that resonate with others as well.
What do you think of Detention? Are you looking forward to it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.