Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
There's a Lot More to Tell

Shannon Drake | 29 Aug 2006 08:03
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"Really, art is a perspective, and you take these mythologies and [say], 'Let's spin a perspective on them and see what people think.'" Too Human takes Norse mythology and adds cybernetics, and explains that twist thusly: "'Let's take the Norse mythologies and let's put these perspectives on them, and see what people think.' And you'll find it'll be extremely consistent and very well-researched."

Getting into the specifics of the game, I felt I would be remiss if I didn't ask the guy named on the insanity patent about Eternal Darkness' Sanity system. Voices, horrible visions, bugs crawling across the screen, the game spitting up fake error messages and worse effects happen as the player characters go insane. It's possible to confront the monsters and madness of Eternal Darkness' world, but it always comes with a price, be it a character seeing things or the game shifting the volume up and down for the sake of creepiness.

"We really wanted to create something that messed with people's heads," Denis said. "So we had these ideas, and hallucinations had been done before. And so, the whole idea that we could make it so that as you saw things you slowly lose your Sanity, it would change the way the game would play, [that] was something that we thought people would really enjoy." Lovecraft's name comes up again as he says, "If you look at Lovecraft or the Call of Cthulhu games, in their sort of mythos, when you lost your sanity, it was really bad, and it usually meant you would die. Eternal Darkness is the opposite. It's actually really fun. And we found, in focus testing, that people would want to go insane. And so, there's things like that, just exploring the fascination." Citing gaming as a form of escapism, he brings up a rhetorical question. What if you could go insane for fun?

He's eager to mention the Sanity effect where the game says your memory card has been wiped out. "It's funny; these are the worries that people have," he says. "We tried to play upon the things that people worry about when they play videogames, or when they're investing time into a product. The whole crash screen coming up, erasing all the time you've spent on the game, and having the bug crawl across the screen is annoying at first, but then you realize it's this big bug and you're like, 'Oh, my God.'"

Even the creator isn't immune to the machinations, to hear him tell it. "The one that still fools me once in a while is when the volume gets turned down. It depends on your TV. We did it with some of the TVs that we had here, and if it actually matches the TV that you have, it is completely nuts. We had focus testing. We had people in the background, we'd be playing, and they'd say, 'Turn it up.' We'd say, 'We didn't touch anything.' And they'd say, 'Ooh, that was awesome." Perhaps ironically, the game itself was playing with minds before it even shipped. "It was pretty scary getting that through testing, as well, because Nintendo is a hardware manufacturer. They would look at it and go, 'How many calls are we going to get about this game?'"

Though I'd been told he was tired of sequel questions, I tried a nudge, asking which stories he'd really like to tell, and as I expected, I was rebuffed. Almost. "Ooh," he says, laughing like a man who just parried an unexpected strike. "I don't think I can go into that. Secrets for the future. But one of the things we lightly touched upon, and some people have discovered, there actually is a fifth Old One in the game that's really alluded to, which is the proponent of yellow magic. And explaining that stuff and the mythos, there's a lot more to tell, [like] why have the Ancients been imprisoned, those kinds of things. It's just the tip of the iceberg, where we need to expand the universe and stuff. There's a lot more to tell."

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