This article has been archived and may have some errors due to a previous design of MGL. None of the content has been altered however. Welcome to MGL Feature friday, today we are talking with Zombie Studio about their recently released Survival Horror game Daylight. The game is now available for PlayStation 4 & PC and uses the latest Unreal 4 technology to create an atmosphere of unpredictability and suspense.
Check the interview below and remember we always want your thoughts so post comments and feel free to write your experience of this game on our forums.
Please introduce yourself and what you do at Zombie Studios to our readers.
Liz Lovett, Producer for Daylight.
Firstly, Can you give us an overview of Daylight for our readers?
Daylight is a procedurally generated psychological horror game made on Unreal Engine 4. It will be the first UE4 game to be released on the PlayStation 4, and aside from being nice to look at, it is incredibly creepy! The world of Daylight is very intense and immersive.
So, your character wakes up in this abandoned hospital, why is she there?
You awake in the hospital as Sarah, and it’s up to you (the player) to figure out how you fit into this world, why you’re here and how you’re going to escape. There are elements to the story that you will discover along the way, and it is up to the player to figure it all out.
There is a massive psychological feel to this game and what is happening to the character, just how much research and work as gone in to getting this just right?
We partnered with Jessica Chobot, who is a writer in love with the horror genre, to give our environment a good storyline. Jessica is someone who, as a hobby, has sought out abandoned and creepy places to explore and she really added a lot of depth to the game based on her personal explorations and love of horror. To us, creating a good horror game is about creating a good story, and our entire team brought their own ideas and experiences to the table to create something really amazing.
What horror influences have you used to make this particularly frightening?
Our entire team enjoys the horror genre, so there was no shortage of inspiration for us. Movies and shows like Silent House, American Horror Story and The House on Haunted Hill really helped to shape some of our visions. Games like Amnesia, Slender and Fatal Frame inspired us as well, and we have several on our team who worked on the Saw games and the F.E.A.R Series.
Some of the imagery show so far are particularly striking, how much work went into the overall art and design of this hospital environment?
Developing on Unreal Engine 4 gave us the opportunity to explore a lot of cool features long before anyone else. Some of these features allow us to deliver high quality art and cool lighting effects. Our team had a great time creating all of the art they got a lot of enjoyment out of the process.
You’re the first Unreal 4 engine game coming to PlayStation 4, how has this made Daylight so unique?
The procedural creation of content is definitely something that is new to the genre, and it gives the game a huge replayability factor since you’re not experiencing the same scares over and over. With any “first” you often find yourself blazing trails and you don’t have the opportunity to learn from what other people have done before you. However, you do get to spend a lot of time exploring cool new features and tools long before anyone else has had the opportunity to play with them. That said, ‘blazing a trail’ with a new engine on a new platform can sound daunting to many developers, but because of our experience in UE3 we were able to anticipate and account for pitfalls and overcome them.
What challenges are there in creating a procedural game and just how different will each experience be to the player?
The main challenge is that with a procedural game, you will encounter procedural bugs while in the testing phase, so it’s always a fun learning experience for the team. Each gameplay experience will be different for each player, except for a few ‘checkpoints’ along the way to help keep you on the right path. There is just no way to memorize your last game, and it really adds to the tension in the environment.
The gameplay involves collecting Remnants while avoiding the Shadow People around your map, how does this allow progression & how can you cope with no weapons?!
The more Remnants that you find, the story becomes clearer and the Shadow People get increasingly angrier. This natural progression of the game has a lot to do with the story elements and how that can help you find your way out and discover why you are there. There are some means of defense that the player can utilize but the main goal is to escape the maze with your life.
How would a gamer then complete the story and find out exactly what has happened in this strange place?
The Cell/Mobile phone is a nice touch to the game rather than the standard gun-in-hand FPS, how is this used to add to the immersion of the game and how does it affect gameplay?
I think most of us have used our phones for a flashlight at one point or another so we would like to think that this aspect is relatable to most. Having only a phone also presents the player with the type of vulnerability that is used for most horror experiences. It also becomes a helpful device throughout the game and will generate a map during the players exploration.
Can she not call anyone? What happens if, like mine does constantly, the battery goes!?
You said previously, “If your Character isn’t afraid, you’re not afraid” which is an excellent point. Just what exactly have you done with the game to genuinely create fear in the gamer?
We have carefully planned her reactions to the atmosphere around her in such that she shows fear but is not overwhelmingly chatty about her environment. This leaves room for the player to experience the immersion of the horror experience while nudging the players fear with Sarah’s reactions.
Finally, what will make Daylight stand out from the other survival horror games out these like Outlast recently released on PS4?
Daylight is procedurally generated with very little scripted events. This along with the features that it adds such as Oculus support for the PC and Real D 3D Support for both PC and PS4, makes a very fun and creative experience for the player.
Which game that is out at the moment makes you wish that you had created it and why?
There are so many amazing games out there but personally, I wish I had a hand in creating Minecraft. It’s the most creative and versatile sandbox game out there with the survival and social aspects that I love.
After playing Infamous Second Son we love to debate Super Powers! To add, if you could have one Super Power what would it be and why?
My Superpower would definitely be time travel because how awesome would it be to go through time and fight alien monsters who are trying to destroy the human race? Very awesome. It would probably be a lot of running away from danger or running to danger. Either way it would be a great time.
If you could be any Video Game Character and live in their world, who would you be and why?
Many thanks to the guys at Zombies, we are playing the game and will have our official review with you very soon so keep it here on MGL and don’t forget to leave us your thoughts in the comments.