Martin Burgoyne chats with Domenico Albani, Ronan Coiffec and Mathieu Fremont about White Night…
I recently got the chance to interview Domenico Albani, Ronan Coiffec and Mathieu Fremont, the talented French trio down at Osome-Studio, about their “old school” survival horror game White Night. Here we discuss everything from major influences to French cuisine…
Hi guys! How are things down at Osome-Studio? I only just got the name when I said it out loud… (Oh… Some studio?)
Hi! Yes we wanted the studio name to begin with an “O” as our existing engine was called “OEngine”. We know some will pronounce it as “ozome” but we don’t care! The game is just released, so now we can relax a little bit and have more time for interviews like this one.
White Night is your studios first major project, had you been waiting for a long time to make a game like this?
Previously, we were working on big studios like Eden Games (Alone In The Dark 5) or Dontnod (Remember Me, Life Is Strange). Then, when Eden Games collapsed, we decided that was an opportunity to work the way we always wanted to do. So the three of us (Ronan, Domenico and me, Mathieu) created the studio with White Night in mind. It’s our first major project, but also our first project.
The first thing that strikes you about the game is its incredible visual style. I was immediately reminded of Frank Miller’s Sin City. Is it fair to say that you were going for that film noir-comic book look?
Not really. White Night is more inspired from movies than comic books. The way it tells stories, and the staging, cameras placement, and rythm is much closer to a Hitchcock movie than a Miller comic. About visual inspiration, we also liked a lot games like Limbo, but also a short film called Peur du noir from Richard McGuire.
They then show me an insanely cool video which you can watch here.
When you are a small indie studio, it’s really important to have a fresh visual style. The first thing selling your game are the visuals. The other elements are taken in account only after visual catch player.
Very Hitchcock-ian! The second thing that I noticed was the incredible sound effects in the game, was it important for you to get them just right?
Sure. With our visual style, work on textures and 3d models was specific, but much less important than other games. So we really wanted to focus on other elements, like animation and sounds. All the sounds have been recorded specifically for the game, and modified as little as possible, in order to create realism. I still remember Nico, our sound designer, cracking dozen of matches in his flat at 3AM, when traffic sound outside was low enough to have a perfect result. In-game, you can feel this work, with simple but precise sounds.
The matches sound so realistic! White Night reminds me of the original Alone In The Dark and Hotel Dusk for the Nintendo DS, have any of your team played these games? If so were you heavily influenced by them?
Yes, we have been influenced by Alone In The Dark (the first one), and you can find many elements of this game in White Night (a car in front of a mansion, visiting basement & caves, dancing ghosts… I don’t want to spoil… there’s a lot of references !)
Dancing ghosts eh…? The game is set during the great depression in 1938, was there any particular reason that you chose this time period?
A dark period for a dark story. We felt the game story was reflecting this mood. Bleak all around, but with a small light of hope. Exploring the mansion, you’ll find a lot of documents inspired from real events that happened at this time, and this add a lot of deepness to the background story. It’s really important to define a period for a game, so you can use collective memory as a basis for your own tale.
That explains the incredibly detailed literature littered around… Speaking of, there are some pretty specific French recipes that I read in the Library. If I follow them correctly, will I have made French cuisine?
Yes, we tried all of them. I remember of one “Tahitian raw fish” was made by Ronan’s family when he lived there, he tried to share his culture with the rest of the world !
C’est magnifique ! What are the Trio at Osome Studios currently playing? Are there any other games that have impressed you?
Our videogame tastes are quite eclectic, and different between team members. We sometimes play Monument Valley, or lose our temper on Nuclear Throne or Reassembly, sometimes trying to unlock all love stories in Mass Effect series. Lastly Life is Strange was really a refreshing title (moreover Ronan worked on the first scripts when he was at Dontnod).
They are all great but very different titles. And finally, do you have any plans for your studio’s next game?
Let’s see, it depends on the player feedback on this game.
We feel there is a lot to do with White Night mood and visuals. Even if gameplay can be different, we’d like to keep this atmosphere, but story would probably be totally different, as the White Night story has a beginning and an end, and no real hook for a sequel 🙂
White Night is available to download now on Pc, Ps4 and X-box one and will be reviewed later on this week.