A psychological horror restaurant management game set on the eve of the end of the world- with an elevator pitch like that, a game is bound to catch your attention, and based on what we’ve seen and heard of While We Wait Here so far, it seems to be going about implementing that idea in a rather fascinating manner. With the promise of meaningful choice and consequence mechanics and a story that’ll invest you in the personal lives of the characters you interact with, While We Wait Here is seemingly doing some fascinating things with its premise, and to learn more about the game and what will make it tick, we recently reached out to its developers with some of our questions. Below, you can read our interview with Bad Vices Games’ co-founder Cristian Gambadori.
"The end of the world, this big threat outside the diner, will connect the characters seeking for help and the player will understand what’s happening by playing further in the game."
Blending an apocalyptic setting with management sim gameplay mechanics is quite a unique concept. How did that idea first come about?
When we approach the design for a new game we usually start from a “fantasy” that we would like to experience as gamers ourselves or a gameplay mechanic. From there, then, we think if the game can be developed by a small team like ours with few developers. These thoughts for us are crucial to determine many pillars and hooks in the design process. With While We Wait Here it all started from the diner, which is usually seen in desert locations, and the unknown clients that enter there to eat something or to rest during a long trip. Just with this scenario we thought about many types of characters that could have arrived and we were excited for that reason to develop such a game.
That was the “fantasy”, the gameplay mechanic is the first person which is really interactive. Our goal is to have a constant physical interaction with the environment and the objects inside the diner to make it feel real. These two concepts combined will create the tense atmosphere and the story that we need. The end of the world, this big threat outside the diner, will connect the characters seeking for help and the player will understand what’s happening by playing further in the game.
There’s clearly two sides to this game, with one focusing on interactions with characters and one focusing on managing your own diner. How does the game balance those two? Is one emphasized more than the other?
Story and atmosphere are key in this game. We are using the management side of the game to get to know the clients better. You will need to serve customers food and talk to them in order to find out what’s happening in the story, like in real bars or diners, where the client builds confidence with the owner. There are also some twists in the gameplay mechanics that will spice up things and surprise the player.
What should players expect specifically from NPC interactions? What kind of variety will the characters exhibit in their personalities, backstories, and how they’re affected by the looming threat of the end of the world?
You will decide the NPCs’ fate by talking with them. Each one of them has its backstory that will be shown during the game. The common thread between all the NPCs is that everyone has a problem and they don’t know what to do about it and how to solve it. By talking with them you will understand why the problem is so big for them, even compared to the end of the world. We ask players to make moral choices. The characters and their situations are not surreal and can be found in everyday life.
"We ask players to make moral choices. The characters and their situations are not surreal and can be found in everyday life."
How much does the game emphasize choice and consequence mechanics? How heavily will the story and the ending be affected based on the decisions players make?
The game has 5 endings to the story, each NPC has two endings to their personal story that will be decided by the player. The main story ending itself cannot be chosen by the player but it will be the consequence of your actions taken with the NPCs.
Roughly how long will an average playthrough of the game be?
We are aiming for a 2-3 hours experience, the player can then decide to replay the game to see how things would have changed with different dialogue choices.
Do you have any plans to also bring the game to additional platforms following its PC launch?
We are already in contact with some publisher to port the game and we aim to launch the game both on PC and consoles at the same time like we did with Ravenous Devils.
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