Interview

RESORT Brings X-Files to Firewatch, and its Developer Cannot Wait

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RESORT game art

Backwoods Entertainment, creator of Unforeseen Incidents, has been working on the new short mystery game RESORT. Co-founder and game designer Marcus Bäumer took the time to talk to OnlySP and discuss the development of the upcoming game.


OnlySP: To start off, what is RESORT?

Marcus Bäumer: RESORT is an interactive short story mystery. A comet threatens to hit the woods around the small town of Laburnum Creek. Some of its inhabitants refuse to leave. Famous writer Laura Tanner visits the former health resort to interview them when suddenly, she faces even more mysterious ongoings.

OnlySP: In the synopsis on your blog post you say that “[players] will join famous writer Laura Tanner on a surreal journey and face an odd intersection of dreams and reality.” Will RESORT be dipping into the supernatural genre?

Bäumer: Yes. RESORT is heavily inspired by shows like Twin Peaks, X-Files and games like Firewatch or Virginia. On her journey, Laura Tanner will face some mysterious and inexplainable ongoings. It will feel mysterious, weird, odd. We’re still very early in development and trying things out, so I cannot tell too much of how the story will evolve, but if you like the mysterious and supernatural, you’ll be in for a treat.

RESORT game screenshot

OnlySP: Where did you get the inspiration for RESORT from? Were you sitting on a concept for a long time or did it suddenly hit you?

Bäumer: RESORT takes on a more artistic approach than Unforeseen Incidents did. It is an artistic, experimental, narrative short game. When finalising Unforeseen, we sat down and talked about concepts for future games. We’ve had a list of ideas and liked the one for RESORT the most, perhaps because it was something different and new, something a little more bold than the concept for the point & click we developed before. I hope that people will enjoy it as much as we do.

OnlySP: What did you learn from the creation of Unforeseen Incidents and how are you taking that into account when constructing the world of RESORT?

Bäumer: Unforeseen Incidents was our first game. Of course, you [learn a lot] during the production and release of your first game. We built [our] own framework, a completely new technical basis for the creation of RESORT. We switched to 3D, which is mainly an aesthetic decision, but also allows us to re-use assets and create the world faster. Writing takes a different approach, we want to re-think what adventure games are. RESORT focuses more on the story than on puzzles. We’ve [learned some new things] concerning marketing and PR and all of this will hopefully help us to make RESORT a good game.

RESORT game screenshot2

OnlySP: How linear will RESORT be and will exploration be an important component to the storytelling?

Bäumer: RESORT will be a very non-linear game with a branching story that allows player to experience different sub-plots with different outcomes. Exploration is a big part of the gameplay. You can chose how you spend our time during your stay in Laburnum Creek. Depending on your choices and on what you find in the woods the story takes different turns.

OnlySP: In your blog post you mention that RESORT won’t have a strong focus on puzzles, but will they still be in the game?

Bäumer: We won’t have classic point & click style puzzle threads this time. There will be interactive elements and these can also be little puzzles. We still a have a lot of freedom concerning the game design. We’ll try a few things out and see what works best for telling the story we want to tell.

RESORT game screenshot3

OnlySP: Will RESORT retain the humour seen in Unforeseen Incidents or will it take on a more serious approach?

Bäumer: The story of RESORT is a more serious one. We’re taking a short break from comedy writing for this game. The game will feature a quirky cast of characters and players will experience some weird moments. The best I can compare it to is probably Twin Peaks and its approach to humour.

OnlySP: Does the key art for RESORT represent the final art style to appear in the game?

Bäumer: We’re working on a stylized 3D low poly look for RESORT. We’re frequently posting work in progress on Twitter.

OnlySP: How is development going? Is there an estimated time of completion?

Bäumer: We just finished our first playable prototype. The next step is to refactor the technical basis we created, optimize the prototype and get everything to run nice and smooth on different machines. At the same time, we re-write the prototypical story and add sub-plots step by step. We will show a playable demo of RESORT this year at Gamescom for the first time. We don’t have something like a definite period for the release yet, but it won’t be before 2020.

RESORT game screenshot4


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