Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV/DEVELOP with their unique insight. This month, we speak to Caroline Marchal, CEO and creative director of INTERIOR/NIGHT.
Congratulations on the recent BAFTA nomination (and the many others before and since). Has it been a good year since the release of As Dusk Falls?
This year has been absolutely brilliant. We’re very proud of our first game. After all the years of hard work, players’ reactions and the critical reception have been immensely rewarding. It has also been great for us to finally come out of production, take a breath and think about where we want to go next and experiment within the interactive narrative genre.
What’s been the highlight?
It’s hard to choose, because there have been so many great moments – our launch party, the BAFTA awards evening, watching players on streams, the first time I played the game with my partner, discovering IGN’s 9/10 on my laptop and not believing my eyes … etc. But if I had to go with one, personally, it would be The Game Awards in L.A. last December. We didn’t expect to win – and I almost didn’t go to the ceremony – and it ended up being one of the rare few days in a game dev life where you can wholly, fully, celebrate.
You’ve said in the past that As Dusk Falls was the game that you always wanted to make. Did it turn out how you wanted it to?
It turned out way better! – A more ambitious and fully realised experience thanks to the team’s talent. I have been constantly impressed by their dedication, creativity and artistry. They have elevated the initial concept we started with. If it was just left to me, all you’ll ever get would be a nice PowerPoint and a very rough prototype.
You have other stories you want to tell though, right?
100%! There are so many unexplored storylines and genres in the game space where fantasy and sci fi are often over represented. I am also quite interested in exploring other settings than the United States, which are also over represented. But most of all, at INTERIOR/NIGHT, we are passionate about finding new ways for players to experience deep interactive narrative, so it’s not just about the story, it’s about how you interact with it and how it makes you feel about people and think about the world.
When you started out in the industry, narrative design was almost an afterthought with many games. Are narrative-focused games in a good place right now?
It’s great to see narrative being a bigger part of the fabric of many games – because narrative adds meaning to gameplay and enriches the experience as a whole. As a genre though, narrative games still feel like they haven’t reached their full potential and the mainstream audience they deserve, which is a shame, because they’re inherently more universal and approachable. But it’s something I am confident will change in the next few years as the player demographic keeps evolving and innovative narrative games get to find new ways to reach a mainstream audience.