Ever since we saw the incredible and creepy trailer for upcoming indie horror game Among The Sleep, which puts you in the fluffy booties of a two-year-old as sinister demonic gribblies hit your home, we’ve been itching to hear more. Thankfully, Adrian Husby from developers Krillbite Studio very kindly gave up some time to answer some of our questions...
Game-Debate: Among The Sleep has to feature the youngest protagonist of almost any game,outside of 'You Have To Fertilize The Egg'. What inspired you to set a game from the viewpoint of a two-year-old?
Adrian Husby: The concept of a child's physique combined with their endless imagination and dreams really appealed to us. It gives us an enormous creative freedom, which is both liberating and challenging. I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating, because there are at least two times in our lives when all of us can relate to being authentically scared, and this is when we are dreaming and when we were young.
Among the Sleep combines the two, which we think is quite interesting. I also think much of our motivation to work with games is to innovate. We also think the medium is in grave need of more diversity, something we would like to contribute towards.
GD: Does the kid have a name?
AH: Not “a” name, but maybe as many names as people who play it?
GD: Cool. So please tell us a bit about what the player is faced with in Among The Sleep - surely most two year olds can only crawl around, go doody, and throw up on the carpet? What challenges will we face?
AH: It seems like my experience with two-year-olds might differ a bit from yours, hehe. Many two-year-olds I’ve met run around on their feet, master a few words, and have massive drool-control. (Game Debate freely admits it hates kids, and therefore has no real experience when it comes to young ‘uns. Busted.)
But regarding the game’s content, we’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with general movement and physical interaction with the environment. So for instance you will not only be able to walk and crawl around, but you can also push, pull and climb chairs to reach places, open and close doors, make a staircase out of drawers, peek around corners, carry and place small objects - and the list goes on. You will have to use these kinds of abilities to move through the world, solve puzzles and, of course, find places to hide from dangers. Real dangers I might add, you will have a good reason to hide.
GD: Among The Sleep is billed as an 'interactive experience' on your website - does this mean it's more of a 'journey' than a game? You’ve said there will be real danger, does that mean there’ll be creatures that the player has to fight?
AH: The dangers throughout the game are very real, but there will be no traditional combat. I agree it sound rather flippant, but we use some vague descriptions because we want to limit certain expectations to the design and content of the game. People have a strong mental image of the description “horror game” for instance, that doesn’t necessarily represent all the elements in Among the Sleep.
GD: From your blog, it's obvious that you guys are big gamers and well into other indie games. Did you draw inspiration from other horror games such as Amnesia: Dark Descent for Among The Sleep?
AH: Even though I think our main source of inspiration is our own childhood and dreams, we definitely draw a lot of inspiration from a wide range of projects, be it books, movies or games. We really enjoyed Amnesia a lot, but because Among the Sleep was well defined and we had begun production
before Amnesia was released, so it more reinforced our feeling that Among the Sleep was going to work, as opposed to much of Among the Sleep being derived from Amnesia.
GD: Finally, congratulations on securing funding for the game - are you enjoying the new offices, and have you finally ditched the day job to work on Among The Sleep full time?
AH: We are indeed very pleased with our offices! It’s certainly been an invaluable part of our productivity the recent year. But unfortunately, all of us are still working part time jobs to support game development. We hope we will be able to gradually shift away from this as fast as possible, but at the moment it is unfortunately not economically feasible if we want to keep eating. But in the end it’s easily worth it, we have the freedom to do what we want, and in the end the worst thing that can happen is that we learn a shitload of things and gain invaluable experience!
Many thanks to Adrian for giving up his valuable time. Among The Sleep is coming soon, watch out for our full review!