We caught up with Illbleed’s Project Leader Shinya Nishigaki to learn more about the method behind Climax Graphics’ horror-based theme park madness. Climax Graphics is looking to push the limits of taste as far as it possibly can with Illbleed. Every time screens of the game are released, we’re amazed at the amount of blood and gore that the developer can squeeze into a single screenshot.
But is this all Illbleed is about? To find out we took at trip around Climax Graphics’ haunted house with Project Leader Shinya Nishigaki.
DR: Would you say that the high gore factor in Illbleed is the title’s main selling point?
Shinya Nishigaki: No, the main point is horror. This game is full of every horror element that we think players can experience in a haunted house. I would call Illbleed more of a horror-themed game, directed by various things such as system specifications, graphics and sounds. If players feel that the violence in the game is its main selling point, I would say they just saw one of many splattered scenes in the game.
DR: What’s the basic story behind the game?
SN: The name of the horror park is Illbleed. A fictitious B-movie producer named Michael Reynolds created it. Hidden deeply within the park is the reason why he created the horror land. The characters in the game are all members of a horror club from the same high school.
The main character, Eriko, has to enter the park to rescue her missing companions. That is basically the background to the title.
DR: Could you give us a more detailed idea of the main objective behind the game?
SN: The goal behind the game is to enter and escape all six levels of the theme park. Players must also try and rescue the three missing members of their team and find a special ticket, which opens the final level of the game.
Players must use their Horror Monitors and senses to locate hidden items as well as potential dangers. When a player finishes a stage, he is given a virtual check from the owner Michael Reynolds.
DR: What challenges have you faced during development?
SN: The main challenge we faced was how to create similar shocks that we would experience in a real-life haunted house. We had a lot of difficulty in creating an environment that we have never really seen. In repeated planning meetings, we analyzed horror from the side of human-action theory and completed the simple and intuitive system in the game that we feel gives the player an effective sense of horror.
In addition, countless shock events will have an enormous effect on the player, and we spent a lot of time making sure these work like we had originally planned. We took in various sources of feedback and ideas so the final game will come as one big shock to the player’s system.
DR: Where did the game’s inspiration come from?
SN: There is a haunted house which takes around 45 minutes to exit in an amusement park in Japan. I’ve experienced it and I found it was full of atmosphere, which really does induce a sense of fear. So, we got an idea to create a larger scale real haunted house where people may die from shock.
DR: Tell us a little about the game’s different characters.
SN: First up we have Eriko Christy (18); she is the leader of the horror club. Her parents manage a haunted house called Horror Caravan, so she is no stranger to fear.
Kevin Kertsman (17) is an ardent admirer of Christopher Lee, and he loves the classic type of horror movie. He completely looks down at splatter horror. He has a profound knowledge of Medieval European literature, which he puts to good use in some areas of the game.
Randy Fairbanks (18) is a bit of a jock. He recently moved to the horror club from the rugby club. He is a typical American horror fan who can sit there and watch splatter movies while eating popcorn. He’s not interested in how well a film is made; he’s only satisfied with half-naked pretty ladies and blood-soaked murder scenes.
Michel Waters (18) was commended from the American spiritual society. He’s very interested in horror movies concerning evil spirits and the spirit of a dead person. Waters makes real use of fieldwork and attempts to become involved in exorcism. Michael Reynold (age unknown) is the founder of Illbleed. I don’t want to give too much about him away. There is an amazing surprise in store when players clear the game completely…
DR: What techniques have you used to induce a sense of fear in the game?
SN: We tried to use as many elements as possible to create a sense of fear for the player. These mainly include shock tactics and some very tight spaces, all of which give Illbleed a great sense of atmosphere.
We analyzed the psychology of how a human being notices fear thoroughly. All throughout the game we’ve prepared surprises for the player. Among the techniques used, we paid special attention to human psychology; we don’t just want to make the player jump, though.
DR: Can we expect more titles to spawn under the Illbleed name in the future?
SN: We haven’t decided one way or another yet. We will have to see how well Illbleed is accepted once it is released next February before committing to anything solid.