Spooky Forest Fun!

We will be holding 2 ABIOGENESIS parties in The Endless Forest! The first Friday, October 31st, at 9pm GMT/UTC and the second on All Souls Day, Sunday, November 2nd, at 9am GMT/UTC.

We’ll be performing the first ABIOGENESIS live from FOAM Brussels’ “All Hallow’s Eve celebration of the Guild for Reality Integrators and Generators.” ha!

Weather Report: Expect mist! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Is it art or is it horror?

Before we started working on The Path, we weren’t very familiar with the horror genre. And even now, after lots of research and so much work, it still feels odd to realize that we’re making a horror game.
It’s very comfortable to us to work with the strange and surreal elements in The Path. We have, in fact, always done this sort of thing. But in the past it was called art. And when people from outside the arts world happened upon our work, we invariably got the “what drugs were they on?” comments.

But if such “freaky and weird things” are put in a horror context, suddenly all objections disappear. It’s as if art, when confronted with popular culture, turns into horror. Or as if art is only acceptable in the mainstream when presented within the horror format.

The Cell or is it Damien Hirst?

Do art and horror have something in common?

I guess they both deal with the unknown. And they both contrast the familiar with the uncanny, or look at familiar things in a non-familiar way.

And if art turns into horror in a mainstream context, does horror turn into art in a museum context?

Things are getting dark in The Forest…

The Undead Deer has come back from the depths to haunt the forest for another year! Join in this season of oddness in The Endless Forest and be ready to attend the All Hallows Eve ABIOGENESIS party coming at the end of the month!

Meanwhile, on a less spooky note, we along with The Endless Forest Club on DeviantArt have started an initiative to put together the first The Endless Forest Fan Art Calendar! The TEF community has made lots of fabulous artwork over the years and it is high time we all made something a bit more lasting than .jpgs! So, check it out and be a part of it!

Survival Horror is (not) dead

So whatever happened to our imperfect, psychologically damaged heroes, our creepy little doll rooms, our feeble switchblades, our crawling dread? And why have they been replaced by gun-toting professionals and space marine types โ€“ as if gaming needed any more space marines?

Leigh Alexander answers this question in a very rational yet disappointing manner.

Perhaps the Silent Hill series might have attained still more widespread appeal if it had, to be blunt, made just a little more sense

Because contemporary games cost more to make, the size of the audience needs to grow and thus the content needs to be adapted to the tastes of a larger audience. And of course you choose the hardcore gun-toting-space-marine-loving crowd as your larger target audience, because they present the lowest risk factor.

There is another solution however: find a way to make these games cheaper. And stop compromising your vision. And don’t hide your lack of vision behind economic arguments.

Introducing: Scarlet

Today we are revealing the final girl in The Path. Scarlet joins her sisters Robin, Rose, Ginger, Ruby and Carmen as playable characters destined for the fate of Little Red Ridinghood.

Scarlet is the oldest of six. The firstborn. In a family with an invisible mother. Quite a responsibility. One that she faces with determination and a sense of duty and pride. She is 19 years of age. She should probably be enjoying what’s left of her youth. But with five younger sisters, one more unruly than the other, somebody needs to maintain order and stability.
Not that Scarlet doesn’t wish to share the burden. Or a moment of silence. A moment of quiet understanding with a soulmate. A moment of true togetherness. Her loneliness is a secret she will take to the grave. Sooner than she may expect.

We have just finalized this character and have added pretty pictures of her to the website of The Path. There’s new portraits of Scarlet in the gallery and a beautiful desktop wallpaper in the downloads section.

Between her studies and the household, Scarlet doesn’t have much time to write in her Livejournal. But feel free to peruse what’s there.

And once again, we are posting pictures of the creative process that preceeded Scarlet in her current form to The Path’s development journal.

That’s it. Six characters for you to play with.
There’s more characters in the game. But for those you’ll have to wait until the game comes out. :)

New EVIL music from Jarboe

Mahakali

The Path composer Jarboe is releasing something of a Magnus Opus today: a 4 CD set entitled Mahakali.

My new album entitled “MAHAKALI”, ( Kali is the feminine of “kala”- “darkness”, Maha is “great” ) is named after the mythical indian goddess of death and destruction, as mentioned in the Mahabarata and other indian epics.

The idea of a ‘goddess of destruction’ is one that I’ve cherished for a long time. Cedric (Victor, bassist and visual collaborator) mentioned Kali when we were recording because of the thematic similarities to the songs I had already written. As we progressed with the recording, everything seemed to come together around this theme of respect/reverence for strength and simultaneous repulsion/fear of power. Kali’s narrative also discusses Nietzsche’s old adage that ‘in fighting the monster, one must be careful that one does not become the monster’ which seems to be a relevant message.

Get it here!

The Graveyard post mortem, part 6

The success of The Graveyard as an atmospheric piece is due in no small part to the lush soundscape created by Kris Force. Next to producing Jarboe‘s soundtrack for The Path, she’s been an audio-millipede. From working with deep dark experimental musicians to creating whimsical sound and music for blockbuster games like The Sims, her knowledge and wisdom regarding the audible universe seems unfathomable.

So we produced some noise with our questions, to hear how she feels about The Graveyard and what else she’s doing. Part six of our Graveyard post mortem (almost done):

Spotlight on sound designer Kris Force

This Is Indie!

A little video we made last year because Celia Pearce asked us to. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Its about our thoughts on Independent game development, sort of. It was never used (I believe her response was “what did you make that with? a cell phone camera??” ha! little did she know we don’t HAVE mobile phones!) But we found it so delightfully silly that I’m posting it now in honor of the (first annual) IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games which starts today 10/10/2008. And in which The Graveyard is nominated for an award!

…see also…

Maximum age rating for games?

This is something that came up on our Game Design Forum when discussing age ratings for games. A lot of players of The Endless Forest are fairly young. But they are still excited about our upcoming new horror game The Path. Which worries us a bit, since we don’t think The Path will be suitable for a young audience.

As a parent I find age ratings useful for helping me decide whether a game would be suitable for my children. I don’t interpret the rating as a prohibition but as a recommendation. A game with an age rating of 3+ would be interpreted as not suitable for my 12 year old son, for instance. Because it would probably be too childish.

But for myself, as an adult gamer, the age ratings are mostly useless. If I would apply the same logic to myself, then a game rated 18+ would be too childish for me (I’m 40). But that isn’t always the case. In fact “18+” is considered “mature” by the industry. As a result, I often end up being treated by a game in a way that I find completely condescending. More often than not, games -even those rated “18+”-, are designed implicitly with a juvenile audience in mind. As a middle aged gamer, I take offense at being treated like a child.

So I would propose to add a maximum age rating to the current rating system. Again, not in any prohibitive sense (not to make it illegal for the elderly to play games, e.g.) but as a recommendation. Something along the lines of “this game is recommended for people older than 12 and younger than 25” for instance. That would be a major help and would prevent a lot of hostility towards the games industry from older gamers like me.