Sorry, it’s been so long.
Hi everyone, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now but things have escalated so quickly and in between having a day job, a family and working on the game it’s been difficult to sit down and write this. Saying that, it’s something I want to get better at.
What is Necropolis Suite?
So no doubt you’ve likely come to the site because you’ve seen something online about our new game, Necropolis Suite. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what it is. That’s been a really hard discussion to have as we leverage elements from so many games and genres we love. Boiled down to its essence it’s a detective game about cosmicism set in Victorian-era Whitechapel and set in one house. I know the last section of that sentence will instantly make you think “walking simulator” and all the negative connotations that surround the genre but let me wash those fears away.
One thing the “walking simulator” genre has been missing in my eyes to truly evolve is an underlying gameplay driven system, such as the nemesis system from the Shadow of War. In short, a system that controls the game world dependant upon your actions within it. This is where our twist on the traditional sanity system comes in. Games such as Dark Corners of the Earth and Amnesia implemented and executed a sanity system well, but with a modern engine (UE4) we felt we could go further.
Our take on the sanity system.
So we set about conceiving what a sanity system would look like in 2021 and what we could achieve within the skillset we had in the studio whilst still sticking to our design principles (isolation and an unknown location).
Having the ability to manipulate the environment is something that stuck with me from playing Bloodborne but I knew we wanted to go deeper again by making it real-time and dynamic so you could visibly see those changes in the environment happening around you.
That moment when you defeat Rom and enter Cathedral Ward when the Blood Moon is at its peak and the Amygdala’s are hanging from the sides of the surrounding buildings was pure cosmic horror delight, the sheer amount of questions running through my mind upon witnessing that compelled me to take that concept and make a full game out of it.
I’ll talk more about the nuances and subtleties of our sanity system in future posts but I think that gives a high-level overview and a feeling of what it is.
A proper British cosmic horror story.
Once we had the sanity system conceptualised we knew we wanted to tell a tale of pure cosmicism to wrap around it. Being British and from the north of England, London has always had this strange allure to me (I never went until I was an adult). If you follow my personal Twitter you will know I am forever ragging (taking the piss) on this country’s capital. Being from the north it’s bred into us to be resentful of the south and its perceived privileges, but underneath that there’s respect for the city itself and its history.
Having decided on a location for the game we needed a time period. We settled on 1886, two years before Jack Ripper went on his rampage through the unsuspecting Whitechapel area of East London. We chose this era due to the economic growth in London and affluent development that went hand in hand with poverty and living in some of the worst conditions possible (some would question what has changed). This contrast of civil and economic unrest we thought would serve us well in telling a tale of a man who wanted to ascend and climb the social ladder from having nothing to everything.
OK, so we have spoken loosely about the sanity system, the themes, the location and hinted at elements of the overall narrative but what about the fantasy of playing as a detective? I think we’ll leave that one for the next update as it’s a rather lengthy subject.
Until next time.
Mark Gregory – Studio Founder