An Interview With the Developers of Those Who Remain
Last week, we learned about a new psychological thriller coming to the Switch called Those Who Remain. If you haven’t already seen the creepy announcement trailer, be sure to check it out now.
After watching the trailer, we got in touch with the developers, Camel 101, to learn more about what we can expect from this game.
At first glance, Those Who Remain appears to be a horror game, although the website describes it as a “psychological thriller” and the presskit calls it an adventure game. What should we expect from it?
Technically speaking, it’s a first-person adventure game. If you mix the setting and story, it becomes a psychological thriller. When we began working on the game, we decided there were two things that we didn’t want Those Who Remain to be: a plain narrative game (aka walking simulator) and a survival horror game.
Our previous title – Syndrome – was pure survival horror: the main character is trapped in a spaceship, with monsters trying to kill him. He has access to weapons and can fight back.
In Those Who Remain, things are different. First the character has no weapons and no means of defense. Secondly, the game is much more focused on the narrative and the story. I’m not saying that there are no monsters in Those Who Remain. They’re there too, but it’s a different approach from a classic horror game.
Will there be combat in Those Who Remain? Puzzles?
There are no weapons and combat. This was decided early on too, as combat was a mechanic that didn’t fit into what we’re looking for in the game. The experience is more focused on exploration and puzzle solving.
The tagline (“The choices were there. You just made the wrong ones.”) has led some fans to wonder if this will be a choice-driven game. Will there be choices for players to make, or does the quote refer to choices that have already been made in the context of the story?
The tagline actually refers to both – choices that the protagonist made that led him to this situation, and other choices that he will have to make during the adventure. These same choices will affect the outcome of the story.
This is something that wasn’t planned from the start. We had different ideas about how the game should end, and all of them made sense. So we thought, why not have all these endings? Why do we have to choose one? And that’s what we did, we tied different endings to the choices that the player will be forced to make during the game.
The trailer and story description–a man with a troubled past arriving in a small town plagued by a demon’s curse and monsters–give me a definite Silent Hill vibe, and its references to light also reminds me of Alan Wake. What were the biggest inspiration for Those Who Remain?
Well, we’re huge fans of horror / fantasy / weird media, so there are always a lot of influences in our games. Some more direct, others more subconscious.
I would say Twin Peaks and Stranger Things were two major inspirations, but there’s a touch of Silent Hill too.
Curiously, Alan Wake wasn’t in our mind when we designed the game. But when we started describing or showing the game in events, everyone said it reminded them of Alan Wake. I guess because there aren’t that many games exploring this light and dark dynamic.
Ever since the Switch was announced, I’ve been curious about how a horror game might make use of the Switch’s HD Rumble. Do you plan to do anything special with that?
We have no plans for the Rumble yet, but there´s still a long development road ahead of us 😊
Have you thought about bringing your previous games (such as Syndrome) to the Switch, especially if Those Who Remain is a success?
That’s something that we haven’t considered yet, mostly by technical reasons. When we started this game, we had the optimization issue really clear in our minds. We wanted the game to be as smooth and lightweight as possible, so that it could be “easily” ported to other platforms. Not just technically speaking, but also mechanically – so that the gameplay feels fluid with different controllers.
We didn’t have this same approach in our previous games (at least not in such depth), so it would probably be a lot more complicated to port these games to the Switch.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about Those Who Remain?
We’re trying to create what we hope will be a memorable experience. It’s not just about monsters and puzzles, but also about the narrative that connects all of this. The game addresses sensitive subjects – infidelity, bullying, injustice, indifference, guilt, suicide – that will hopefully make people think. One of the most powerful things that games (like other media) can create, is emotions.
That’s what we’re aiming for – an adventure that puts the player in a dark place (both figuratively and literally), where he needs to explore and investigate a seemingly typical town to find out what happened.
All in all, our main goal is to create a game that the player will truly enjoy and remember.
Are you interested in Those Who Remain? What do you think about the new details we learned? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.