Great art isn’t born out of nowhere. It is the culmination of events leading up to the creator deciding to put pen to the paper and create! Remothered is no different. And we had the opportunity to chat with Chris Darril, the creative mind behind the franchise to talk about his experience with horror and what fans should look forward to when Remothered: Broken Porcelain launches later this year.
My older brothers and I playing “Alone in the Dark” on Amiga. At the time, I was unable to play the game by myself, I could only watch them playing, trembling with anxiety anytime I saw something terrible suddenly appearing.
The very first horror movie I watched was “The Silence of the Lambs”, a genuinely dark movie that my parents allowed me to watch just because they were totally ignoring how trivial it was considering it a thriller. I remember as if it were yesterday when I heard for the first time the line “put the lotion in the basket” pronounced by Buffalo Bill, completely indifferent to Catherine Martin crying out all her despair while trapped into an old cistern.
The first book was “Misery”, written by Stephen King, I was attending the fifth grade when I read it. I would say that this “unfortunate” summer reading traumatized me for a while!
Actually, I am passionate about movies and games in general, in all shapes and forms, not just to media related to the horror genre. Well, there are many examples strictly related to horror that I love unconditionally, nonetheless, I got interested in this genre by mere chance, and truly got involved once I began my first contributions, this is actually what inevitably strengthened my belonging to the genre.
What are your personal biggest fears? Any phobias? How have those fears manifested themselves in the Remothered franchise?
I am afraid of ice, snow, and cold in general, just as I’m frightened of horses on the street.
I know, they may seem a little ridiculous, but they all are the inevitable outcome of past experiences that made me develop full-fledged phobias. I began to fear ice when I was just a child. My cousin and I walked too far from our family during a trip to Etna, which at the moment was completely covered by snow and, after walking on a frozen surface which seemed stable, we end up both stuck between a rock and a precipice underneath.
From that moment on, I promised myself I would never, ever, go again to a cold place. For me, snow and ice are the pure embodiment of the ephemeral, something that looks a certain way but abruptly mutates and betrays you.
On the other hand, the reason why I am afraid of horses when I meet them on the street is definitely different: I was on my way to school, peacefully sitting in my car, when a horse-drawn cart had a terrible accident right in front of me. The horse ran away, the cart collapsed, the man who was riding it was tossed on the dirt road. The horse crashed onto my windshield, destroying it, the car began to skid, hitting the guard-rail. Shortly after, the horse died. The man was permanently disfigured; when he got up, his face was covered in blood and he had lost his left eye.
This event demonstrates that it is all a matter of unpredictability. We all know well that spiders and snakes are dangerous, they are considered in this way by definition, we avoid them, we are afraid of them because our DNA somehow tell us they are potential threats. But it is the uncontrollable when generated by something or someone you wouldn’t expect, that upsets most. What happens out of nowhere is like a “click”, it switches something and everything turns upside down.
The unpredictable, the ephemeral, the unexpected, and the hidden are all elements carefully embedded in Remothered, they manifest in many ways but always maintaining their essence. To the fears I’ve listed above, I would also add fanaticism, especially when religious. Religious bigotry frightens me because it is able to overturn your beliefs, ethics, and morals through dogma established by powerful people just to subjugate those who are weak, trigger wars and spread fear.
I don’t like new generation horror, I am more into all those authors who were able to describe true fear without overloading their works with visual effects and jumpscares.
Just think of Polanski and his recurrent feel of ambiguity and paranoid, from Rosemary’s Baby to The Tenant, not to mention The Ninth Gate and so on.
I am also inspired by Hitchcock and his palpable thrillers, able to touch upon sensitive issues, with its elegant direction: Psycho, Marnie, Rebecca, The Birds.
I also like Lynch and his visionary, Freudian stories which focus on fear as emotion. I would be a little bit predictable by mentioning Dario Argento, although I strongly appreciate the art and photography of his main works, Suspiria and Deep Red, which are clearly inspired to German expressionism. At this point, I would rather mention Pupi Avati and two movies that I consider true masterpieces of the Italian horror: The House with Laughing Windows and The Mysterious Enchanter.
I think that through the video game players can live the experience first-hand: they can feel the discomfort and the anguish on their own skin. Through the physical extension of a pad or a keyboard, events become even more real, personal, and close to them.
I love literature, just like movies and videogames, and I won’t exclude that Remothered could also be adapted in one of these media. But time suggested that I had to focus on videogames as a medium to share with the audience my personal fears turned into the story that you now know well, probably also because of my ten years experience in the field. Plus my partners at Darril Arts and, of course, Stormind Games, the development team, made it possible.
The aim was to make everything seem credible, even if extreme. At the very beginning of “Tormented Fathers” the old Madame Svenska makes a preliminary remark “if you ever want to believe to the incredible and bizarre things I am going to tell” after confessing that she has some troubles with her memory because of her old age, but nonetheless swearing everything is real. Maintaining a high level of rationality, the gamer is free to interpret the events, have his/her own ideas and beliefs regardless of the story told by the videogame.
Can we believe an old woman telling us about her past or maybe an old story someone shared with her long time ago? How far can we trust her? Can we trust what may have been altered by the time, the word of mouth or personal interpretations?
In “Broken Porcelain” the dichotomy between memory and reality becomes more real than ever: the events are rational and explainable but tinged with supernatural.
What is real and what is just the result of a feeble, doddering memory?
How many of us remember a well-known face that has been uncontrollably transformed by time? Just think of a relative that died a long time ago. In general, past events that truly happened and we cannot deny, are now chock-full of embellishments and edginess. When we remember them, we give them kind of a new life, transposing them into the eternal dimension of memory, at least until when it takes its course.
Reality is you will truly believe only what you live on your own skin, doubting in the back of your mind that you removed some important details or you mixed reality and imagination.
This is what happens when you play “Remothered: Broken Porcelain”: the experience will be immersive and realistic, just as the atmosphere, but just until you want to believe. Even if 90% of the story will be credible, like in a simulation, the residual 10% will be up to your imagination and personal way to see and judge what happens.
In addition to the improvements in terms of visual and gameplay, the new crafting features, the covering system, the Moth Eye, and the possibility to attack enemies, what I am really excited about is the narrative structure and the characters. I strongly believe that it will leave its mark on the players, leading them to reflect but also to cry and smile, despite the underlying thriller-horror context.
Stay tuned because what you are going to experience will be a small yet great video game able to break down the fourth wall, involve you in first person and play with your emotions: you will make it yours, just like you would do with any other personal event happening in your life. Although Remothered is an indie game, it will be able to become a fundamental part of the horror/adventure genre, taking the survival element to a new, extreme level and breathing new life into the genre as a whole. It is a tribute to all those, like the majority of us, that are into thriller/horror and look for strong, dramatic, and deep experiences that go far beyond the average jumpscares and the usual clichés used to generate fear, an emotion that we all know but which is often misunderstood.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain launches this summer on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Steam. You can wishlist it on Steam here.