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Death In Candlewood Dev Talks Edgar Allan Poe and VR

Death In Candlewood has some serious star power behind it. The developers at Barcelona-based Rosebud Games have collective experience on legendary videogame franchises such as Silent Hill, The Witcher and even help from developers of the BioShock series. It makes sense, then, that the team chose an atmospheric first-person shooter (FPS) as its first project.

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The title is currently in its final week of Kickstarter funding and admittedly struggling to raise the $60,000 USD it had hoped to gain to allow the team to free up development time. VRFocus recently spoke with the team’s Toni Sanchez about the title, that possible Oculus Rift stretch goal and much more.

VRFocus: You say Death In Candlewood is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. What aspects of his work do you think suit video games?

Toni Sanchez: I’ve been a Poe fan since I was a teenager and I’ve always wondered why his influence hasn’t been stronger in video games. Actually, one of the things people seem to like best about Death In Candlewood is its similarities to Poe.

Poe is the father of mystery, so I think he’s a really good source for puzzles, investigations, exploration and above all for the psychology of any character. Of course, the atmosphere and story also benefit from his way of telling tales.

VRFocus: The studio was founded in 2011. How far into development did you get before you launched your Kickstarter campaign?

Toni Sanchez: We are about 60% done, but we still need to complete some gameplay, mechanics and AIs. Some things are almost done (the weapons system, vehicles, characters, outdoor locations) and others still need work, mostly related to polishing the game to the standard that we want (performance, graphics, etc.)

Kickstarter will help us take time out of our other commitments and focus fully on polishing Death In Candlewood to a high enough standard to please players and ourselves.

VRFocus: The studio is made up of a lot of developers that have worked on other atmospheric shooters. How do you think this is reflected in the game?

Toni Sanchez: I think mostly in the psychology of each character, no matter if it’s a monster, villain, friend or even Ray Dune, the protagonist. We spent a lot of energy on that. This, together with the locations we’re working on for the game, should build a psychological story in the player’s mind.

VRFocus: Oculus Rift compatibility is one stretch goal. What do you think VR could bring to Death In Candlewood?

Toni Sanchez: The game is based on exploration. Dune moves in shadows, survives in the wilderness, hides in corners, etc. We really think that VR will enhance the player’s experience as it will make him feel just like Dune does.

VRFocus: What does VR bring to horror as a whole? Would you like to have seen it in any of your team’s past games?

Toni Sanchez: For sure! It would have given players a much greater freedom, which I think in horror games enhances the experience. It also would have allowed players to see details they might have otherwise have missed…

VRFocus: How do you think switching from first to third person would work with the Oculus Rift? Would you consider a first person view for vehicles?

Toni Sanchez: We have that solved very naturally in the game right now, and I don’t think Oculus is going to be a problem. The default view for vehicles is third person, but you can switch to first person any time and we are currently testing where it’s better to set the camera (for example, at the level of the driver’s eyes, etc). I actually think Oculus is going to work very well in driving games.

VRFocus: Would you consider adding motion controller input to support VR?

Toni Sanchez: Of course! That would give players a totally fresh new perspective on what it feels like to be in a ‘horror’ universe. Imagine the player turning around and looking back into see the face of a monster – sounds fantastic!

VRFocus: There’s also a stretch goal for Linux and Mac versions. Would you consider bringing the game to PlayStation 4 too?

Toni Sanchez: We would love to, although it’s up to Sony. From our side, if we get enough funding we will certainly try hard to produce a PS4 version, but I’m sure that we’d have to hire more people.

VRFocus: If so, would you include support for Project Morpheus?

Toni Sanchez: That’s an exciting opportunity and would enhance the player’s experience – it wouldn’t just be like an interactive movie, it would be more like an alternative reality. We definitively want to be part of this revolution, our only restriction is our budget.

VRFocus: Why did you turn to Kickstarter to help with the project?

Toni Sanchez: We have been funding ourselves since the beginning, with the money coming from our day jobs. Once we had something that we felt we could show, we started talking to some publishers and received a very positive response. However, we feel the game is like our baby and it was hard to accept some of the conditions these publishers offered. To keep our motivation and on track with what we’d set out to do, we thought Kickstarter was a better choice.