PressA2Join recently had the chance to speak to Night Light Interactive’s Creative Director and CEO, David Logan about Whispering Willows, an adventure horror game coming to the Xbox One, Playstation 4, Wii U, PS Vita, iOS and is currently available on Steam.
PA2J: For those who have not yet heard about it, can you tell me a little about Whispering Willows?
Whispering Willows is an adventure horror game. You play as a girl named Elena who is trying to find her missing father. She goes to the last place he was seen, the Willows Mansion. Elena quickly discovers that with an old amulet that was given to her she’s not only able to see the spirits that are haunting the mansion grounds, but she is able to astral project her spirit as well, taking on some of the abilities of a ghost.
PA2J: Where did you come up with the idea for the game, was there anything that inspired you?
Most of our team went to college in Chico, CA where there was a particularly famous haunted mansion called Bidwell. That was a huge inspiration to us as well as the history between the natives and white settlers, and the dual nature of those stories.
PA2J: Can you talk a little about the different types of Ghosts, Elena encounters throughout the game?
A large amount of ghosts in the game were people who died or were murdered on the Mansion grounds. These spirits have been stuck in limbo and remain on the grounds, but aren’t always evil. Some will be going about their day, potentially even ignoring the player. Others will help you progress further in your journey, but sometimes you must help them first. Then there are particularly evil spirits, some created with magic, that will try to hurt or kill you.
PA2J: Whispering Willows is a Horror Puzzle game, Can you explain a little about the puzzles that Elena encounters and what part they play in the game?
Most of the gameplay involves switching between Elena’s corporeal and ethereal forms to solve puzzles. Maybe a door is locked, but as her spirit you can fly through a small crack and flip a lever on the other side of the door, thus opening it for your human self.
PA2J: What separates Whispering Willows from other Horror games?
Whispering Willows is more about immersion and storytelling. Instead of jump scares, we want the atmosphere to make the player feel uneasy.
PA2J: The game was released in 2014 for the Ouya before arriving on the PC, was it always your plan to bring Whispering Willows to the consoles and what made you decide to release the game on the Ouya first?
We got our start in the OUYA Create Game Jam where we landed some major awards for art and immersion. We loved the people at OUYA and wanted to continue to develop WW for their console. They featured us at many events and conventions. At the time, we had not intended on bringing the game to any other consoles, but after the massive success of WW on Steam/OUYA we were approached by Loot Interactive to bring the game to PlayStation, and talked with Abstraction Games to bring the game to Wii U and Xbox One.
PA2J: Visually the game looks beautiful, the art is a joy to look at, was it always in your mind to make the game in 2D?
Pretty early on I knew I wanted to make the game in 2D. I was inspired by horror sidescrollers like Clock Tower and Lone Survivor.
PA2J: Whispering Willows has won a lot of awards including the Casual Connect Indie Prize in 2014, it must have been a great feeling for the game to be receiving such an amazing response?
I remember after we won our initial awards with OUYA and then we were about to launch our Kickstarter, I thought, “Wow, this is really happening, this could be huge.”
PA2J: Having had a listen to some of the musical scores for the game, I must say it is very haunting and moving, how important was it to get the music right when making a game like Whispering Willows?
Our composer, Steve Goldshein, came on very early to the project. He played an incredibly important role in creating the immersion in the game. We also had a fantastic sound designer Catherine Hontos implement most of the sound effects directly. She really paid close attention to detail which I think immerses the player even more.
PA2J: Is there anything else you would like to say about Whispering Willows or for the people interested in the game?
The game is currently on Steam and OUYA. It releases tomorrow, June 30th, on Playstation 4 and Vita. Next month it’ll be releasing on Wii U, Xbox One, and mobile. You can learn more at www.fb.com/
PA2J: What’s next for Night Light Interactive?
We’re currently developing a few different games, including our upcoming title Nomad. You can see a teaser for it on our site at www.nightlightint.com.
Huge thanks to David Logan for taking the time to speak with us, you can check out Whispering Willows trailer below.