Interesting facts about “Panic Room”

1. The developer may come up with a concept, imply a deeper meaning and create a specific atmosphere, but players (and sometimes colleagues) will often interpret these things in their own way. When we discussed music we decided we wanted a light-hearted yet catchy "British" tune, possibly played on the country’s national instruments. We found a freelance composer and did our best to explain the mood of the game to him, but we were in for a big surprise when he presented his work. Instead of moody music befitting the gloomy corridors of a Victorian mansion we heard a cheerful jingle not unlike Yakety Sax from the "Benny Hill Show". It turned out the composer looked through the materials we provided, even played the game and decided he is dealing with an "Addams Family"-like black comedy. He explained he wanted to "lighten up the mood and add a little bit of irony"! Needless to say, we had to remake the music, but “adding a little bit of irony" quickly became a local meme in our studio.
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2. “House of Secrets” is our very first foray into the hidden object genre. Although it was already established, we wanted to bring something new into our game instead of using tired clichés and “borrowing” cool ideas from our competitors. Which is why the development process sometimes made us feel like our characters, aimlessly wandering the long corridors made of genre and gameplay boundaries — which made "breaking" these walls feel all the better. Of course, not all of our brilliant ideas made the cut. Some had to be put aside because they did not match the plot, some were defeated by the technical limitations, but overall we were pleased with what we got by the time the release date drew near: we proved that «existential hidden object thriller» is a valid sub-genre that can be successful.
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3. By now the developers realized that plot is vital for any kind of game, but things were different when we started working on “Panic Room” in 2011. We needed to change that — and so we did. We built an intriguing story using only a handful of characters and locations. The plot in “House f Secrets” is just as important as gameplay, if not more, which is why our writers and game designers actively use the tropes commonly used by film directors and professional playwrights. The characters live their own lives, the players make choices that affect the plot and the storylines end with cliffhangers that leave the audience yearning for new episodes.
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4. When we made “Panic Room” we faced a challenging yet fascinating task: we had to fit a complex story that would later be developed into a very limited number of locations. One of our game designers had a degree in psychology and suggested we restrict the player’s freedom of movement. "The curtailment of freedom", - says Tan, one of our Japanese characters, - "makes you seek the freedom within". The limited space magnifies the characters’ personalities and encourages the player to think what freedom actually is — and whether it is worth the pain, the fear and the ultimate sacrifice. The "doll house" is being watched by the Puppeteer, a cruel yet fair-minded maniac who chose the mansion as the ground for a cruel psychological experiment.
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5. The game’s visual ambience is the first thing a player sees, the first chance to hook him and drag into the game, which is why the first impression is the most important. A lot of developers rely on bright colors and memorable scenes, but we chose to place a bet on the plot: a crumbling Victorian mansion with its dark corners and forgotten wickedness and its new inhabitants who wander the "ruins" and try to piece back together the crimes of its former inhabitants. Our artists did an excellent job designing every inch of the gaming locations to make them realistic and adjusting the lighting to make gameplay items clearly visible. In the end they succeeded: we managed to preserve the oppressing atmosphere and make the task of searching for objects both fair and challenging.

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