Despite having cancelled a Kickstarter campaign for Dark Deception last month, Glowstick Games is clearly confident in its upcoming project. Speaking to VRFocus, co-founder and CEO Vince Livings remains adamant that the team’s efforts will see the light of day. Heading to the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset on PC, Mac and Linux and Project Morpheus VR headset on PlayStation 4, the title is described as a twisted take on Pac-Man, with players gathering crystals around a maze as they are pursued by horrific enemies.
It’s an interesting premise that the two-man team believes in. Below is VRFocus‘s recent interview with half of that team, as Livings talks about the story of Dark Deception so far, its star talent in voice acting from Carolyn Seymour and the anticipated release of the title.
VRFocus: Dark Deception is a rather twisted take on Pac-Man, where did this idea come from?
Vince Livings: The idea for Dark Deception came from the need to create a quick game. At first, we were focused on mobile since it is a larger market. I really wanted to make a horror game, but we wanted to make something that wouldn’t take us too long since we are a small 2 man team. We started discussing classic games from the 70s and 80s. Pac-Man was one of the first games that we thought of. Mazes and horror go together pretty well and we were both excited about the idea of making a game based on that.
VRFocus: Given the simple hook, why place as much emphasis on story as you have?
Vince Livings: Story is always an important element of game design to us. We put a lot of work into our characters in the game and we wanted to tell their story. I felt the game needed to feel like a cinematic experience that would really immerse players. In the past, games like Resident Evil, Portal, and Silent Hill were very story driven. I loved those games and they were a big influence. Our game starts off simple, but grows more complex very quickly. It expands well beyond the original Pac-Man design. We felt it needed a strong story to compliment it and make players really want to see what comes next.
VRFocus: We’ve seen three disturbing enemy designs so far, how many can we expect in the finished product?
Vince Livings: There will actually be 10-12 creatures in the final game. We are paying homage to a lot of popular horror movies. That’s why I compare our game to Cabin in the Woods a lot.
VRFocus: How did Carolyn Seymour come to be involved in the project?
Vince Livings: I reached out to her through my friend, Chris Borders, and she was very interested in the project. She is an amazing voice actress and was a real pleasure to work with. We were very fortunate to be able to get her involved.
VRFocus: What does VR bring to the experience?
Vince Livings: VR makes the game feel much more immersive. Nothing heightens the intensity and fear factor like feeling you are actually in the maze and that the creatures can touch you. Also the Oculus tends to magnify models a bit, so enemies look a lot bigger. It can make things a little scarier for the player.
VRFocus: What progress have you made with bringing the title to Project Morpheus on PlayStation 4? Have you spoken to Sony?
Vince Livings: We are officially licensed by Sony. They have been very cooperative and outgoing. A PS4 version is in the works. We have spoken with Sony about Project Morpheus and we will be developing Dark Deception to be compatible with it. However, Morpheus is still under development and it may be some time before we have any real news to share about that.
VRFocus: Why do you think this Kickstarter attempt didn’t go to plan?
Vince Livings: Honestly, we made a lot of mistakes on our end. Putting the project up right before the launch of Mario Kart 8 and E3 probably didn’t help. On top of that, we didn’t generate any virality or PR beforehand, which led to very light traffic. Our trailer was also rushed due to time constraints and probably didn’t help our cause. Recognizing this, we decided to pull the plug on the Kickstarter and relaunch later when we are better prepared and have generated a little more buzz. I see a lot of fan interest and we have a good following online. I think the game can have a successful Kickstarter if we prepare better next time. There’s also the chance we may not need to. I can’t share details, but we were recently approached by a well-known publisher and we may wind up going that route.
VRFocus: Are you continuing with the project? What are your plans for future funding?
Vince Livings: Yes, Dark Deception is very much alive and still full steam ahead in development. We are very invested in the game, and will not leave it unreleased.
VRFocus: Has the Kickstarter set back impacted development or at you still aiming for a 2014 release?
Vince Livings: We are aiming for a 2014 release still. Ideally, we would love to release in time for Halloween. The Kickstarter failure was not really a setback. The only thing it really affected was our ability to have Carolyn record more dialogue sooner rather than later. Our priority is to deliver a great game and VR experience. We will keep the game in the oven as long as it takes to accomplish that, even if it drags into 2015. We owe the game community that much.