They just don’t make them like White Night any more. If you’ve seen any trailer for OSome Studio’s suspense adventure, then the noir tones, stark black and white graphical scheme and mysterious atmosphere are more than enough hints that this isn’t your typical puzzle solving romp. And though it may not have been widely praised by critics, White Night still represents an effort from indie developers like OSome to take risks while paying homage to some of the classics of our industry.
GamingBolt spoke to OSome Studio co-founder Mathieu Fremont about White Night, the stylistic choices and the influences it draws upon. Along with talking about the journey the developer has taken, Fremont speaks about the various design choices that will make players either love or hate the experience.
"Even if we did not work directly with these partners in the end, we had a great contact with them and this allowed us to exist in the small world of video game industry."
Rashid K. Sayed: White Night certainly has a unique look about it, what can you tell us about your visual design choices?
Mathieu Fremont: It’s important to have a distinctive look when you start a new indie game. It helps the game to be noticed. This style is coherent with story, and gameplay, and helps us to keep production cost to an affordable level, so we’re happy to have chosen this!
Rashid K. Sayed: Already inbound for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, what can you tell us about a possible Wii U version in the future?
Mathieu Fremont: Even if it’s technically possible, no Wii U version is planned for now.
Rashid K. Sayed: Is there any particular reason that the game is set in 1930’s Boston? In an abandoned mansion of all places.
Mathieu Fremont: Of course, it’s inspired from mansion from “Alone in The Dark” for example. It’s a perfect setup for a survival horror. 1930’s is a time our writer particularly likes, because America’s great depression add to the background of the story a layer of gray that fits perfectly the mood.
Rashid K. Sayed: In 2013 the game was awarded both the Best PC & Console Hardcore Award and Best Selected Project Award. Did this help cement the style of White Night?
Mathieu Fremont: Yes. It was the first time we were showing the game in a public event, and this allowed us to meet with Microsoft, Sony, Namco… Even if we did not work directly with these partners in the end, we had a great contact with them and this allowed us to exist in the small world of video game industry.
"We did not want to add too much "filler" events, to keep a dense story and rhythm. Moreover, as there are very few combat features in the game, player does not spends hours waiting under cover like some other games."
Rashid K. Sayed: 8 – 10 hours for an adventure game, in the sense of classic adventure games, could arguably be called a little on the short side, is there any particular reason for that?
Mathieu Fremont: It’s not that small, if you check “Gone Home” for example, with about 2 hours of game play, the duration of White Night is okay. We did not want to add too much “filler” events, to keep a dense story and rhythm. Moreover, as there are very few combat features in the game, player does not spends hours waiting under cover like some other games. We’re quite happy with this duration. And don’t forget it’s a $15 game!
Rashid K. Sayed: With White Night said to feature elements of horror, can you tell us how this will unfold in the final version of the game?
Mathieu Fremont: Games takes place in a dark mansion, filled with hostile creatures… we can call them “ghosts”. You cannot see them really well, and they can instantly kill you if they touch you. So you will really feel weak… and scared. Moreover, sound and music are really present and enhance the experience.
Rashid K. Sayed: Your gameplay trailer showed the games protagonist approaching an Axe, will there be a combat mechanic?
Mathieu Fremont: There is not real combat. Fighting against ghosts is only made using electric light. That’s the puzzle part: Use objects, furniture, switches present in the rooms in order to get rid of hostile ghosts.
Rashid K. Sayed: Many gamers will be expecting 1080p at 60fps, will the game run at that standard on PS4 and Xbox One?
Mathieu Fremont: Yes, that’s we target.
Rashid K. Sayed: If you could compare White Night to an already existing title, from any genre, which would you choose?
Mathieu Fremont: I would choose “Gone Home”. Even if it’s not the same setup, we tried to have the same story deepness, and like in gone home, hero will be (nearly) on his own and will try to learn more about what happened here…
"We didn't want to do an average game with average choices. We know some will love, and some will hate, because it's made of choices. You can't play White Night and have no opinion on it. That's what we call an indie game."
Rashid K. Sayed: What is your take on the differences between the PS4 and Xbox One? Do you think the difference is being overplayed these days?
Mathieu Fremont: There is not difference between PS4 and XBox One versions of White Night. But the dev of the game has been slightly different. I would say Xbox is easier to program, but PS4 seems more powerful.
Rashid K. Sayed: From the indie perspective, what is your take on the parity clause within the id@Xbox Policy?
Mathieu Fremont: Even if we were featured as an ID@XBox game, we are now published by Activision, outside of this program. However, for the time we were in the ID@XBox program, it was a really great experience, it was really nice to see some Microsoft people so close to devs.
Rashid K. Sayed: As someone who is also developing on PC, what are your thoughts on DirectX 12? Do you think it could be beneficial for indies?
Mathieu Fremont: We did not use DX12. From a personal point of view, I wouldn’t recommend using “platform-specific” features when you plan to port a game. There is already enough compatibility issues without using all these features. I feel only big studios can use these features, that are not available on all GFX cards.
Rashid K. Sayed: Is there anything else you want to tell us before we let you go?
Mathieu Fremont: Thanks for playing White Night. Do not forget price point and all the strong and risky choices we’ve made. We didn’t want to do an average game with average choices. We know some will love, and some will hate, because it’s made of choices. You can’t play White Night and have no opinion on it. That’s what we call an indie game.