The horror genre isn’t exactly top of mind for many a game developer in India. Barring Resident Evil which has recently come into its own in terms of sales potential, it isn’t as popular as say, action games. However Buggy Interactive a four-man indie team consisting of talent from the likes of Glu and Ubisoft want to change that with its own spin on the genre called Slender: A Crooked Manifestation for PC on Steam.
“The answer itself is within the question, as the Indian developers often go for casual game projects for mobile devices, we believe that by creating a first person horror survival genre we will inspire other future developers,” says Samarth Goel a developer on the project when asked as to why Buggy Interactive decided to make a horror game on PC.
Working with him on the game are Aditya Narayan Pandey, Shivanand Chidre, and Kartik Yadawad. The team has worked on games like Immortals: Fenyx Rising and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. However it isn’t without its challenges as all of them are in different cities Goel tells me.
“Communication and coordination for our first game project was the biggest challenge we faced,” he says.
As for the game itself, Slender: A Crooked Manifestation is a first-person survival horror video game. It’s a story of a lost female character who is stranded on an island, surviving on her own against all odds Goel tells me.
“Players have to deal with main objective and missions, also the player will face Slenderman as the main antagonist as well as the children as once they were abducted by the Slenderman,” says Goel. “In this game the player will find the slow paced, horrifying game experience with unique sound in an overgrown environment.”
This made us wonder what the inspirations are for a game like this. For Goel, the lore of Slenderman itself helped shape its design and gameplay.
“As per lore the Slenderman cannot be damaged or killed,” he says. “Which will bring immense pressure to the player as the stealth mode will be the player’s only true companion in this journey.”
Given the confusing and convoluted history of the Slender Man IP does the team have Eric Knudsen or Mythology Entertainment’s permission to use him?
“[W]e tried to contact Mythology Entertainment, but we could not contact them as website domain is currently expired, and we do not have any communication links to contact them,” he says. “We’re also trying to contact Eric Knudsen regarding his approval on our project.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Buggy navigate a possibility that it may not be able to obtain the use of Slenderman. That said, creator Knudsen has claimed enforcement of copyright had more to do with artistic integrity than anything else. Hopefully that sways things in Buggy’s favour.
To bring this game to life, the team is using the Unreal Engine. It’s a choice that stands out considering that most Indian developers are familiar with the likes of Unity.
“Unreal offers excellent visuals straight out of the box, whereas Unity to achieve the same high-quality visuals, takes a lot more work to get your assets looking close to the similar level as Unreal,” Goel explains. “And also we find Unreal Engine more convenient and user-friendly at the first use to go ahead with it.”
And while the plan is to launch the game on Steam due to what Goel terms as “excellent reach” to audiences and having a “friendly community”, Buggy isn’t ruling out an Epic Games Store launch down the line as well.
There’s a smaller version of it in the works for mobile too but Goel says how that will be launched depends on the response to the PC release.
That said, a Steam page for the game isn’t live just yet. Though Goel did reveal what kind of PC configuration you’ll need to play it.
“A medium configuration gaming PC would be suitable to play this game,” he says. “However we recommend a PC having 8GB DDR4 RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Core i5 or a Ryzen 5 processor.”
Right now Slender: A Crooked Manifestation is slated for an early 2022 release window with a Steam page coming soon. Considering the likes of Nodding Heads, Holy Cow, and Ogrehead have shown Indian developers that there’s more to making games in the country than just mobile, it’ll be interesting to see how Buggy’s debut is received.
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