I had the fantastic opportunity to interview Matt Gilgenbach of Infintap Games about the development of Neverending Nightmares. We discussed the process behind development, the reasons behind making the game, and the lessons that Matt hopes are imparted through playing it.
- How are you, and can you tell us a little about Neverending Nightmares?
I’m doing well. Neverending Nightmares is a psychological horror game where you take on the role of Thomas who awakes from a terrible nightmare only to realize that he is still dreaming. He must explore twisted nightmares in order to finally wake up into reality.
- What inspired Neverending Nightmares?
Neverending Nightmares was inspired by my personal struggles with mental illness. I suffer from depression and OCD, and I tried to recreate the feelings of dealing with mental illness through the atmosphere of the game.
- Obviously Neverending Nightmares is a deeply personal project, is there anything that you hope is learnt from the experience?
I hope people who don’t suffer from mental illness gain an understanding of what it’s like struggling with that. I also hope to show people who are battling depression and OCD that they aren’t alone.
- What was the easiest part of development?
I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted the game to feel like from the start of development, which simplified some aspects of the design process.
- What was the hardest?
Executing on the vision and actually making the content for the game. Because Neverending Nightmares is an atmospheric game rather than a game about fun mechanics, we had to work really hard to make all the art, sounds, and music and put them together in a cohesive package.
- How was it funded, and did this add extra stress to the development?
We self-funded until we ran out of money. At that point, we put the project up on kickstarter and worked really hard to make the project a success. When we were kickstarting the project, it was extremely stressful – especially because we weren’t funded until the last day. After we finished, it was a huge relief. Not only did we have most of the funding we needed to make the game, but we had a community excited for the final product and willing to help advise us during development.
- Do you wish you had gone with a publisher to deal with anything? Is being an indie beneficial over that?
In my opinion, the backers were our publisher. During development, I answered to them and provided weekly updates and early builds for their feedback. I think working with backers that just want to see the game turn out great is much better than a publisher that wants to maximize revenue or figure out how to schedule it into their portfolio of games. As hard as kickstarter is, I preferred working with backers to make the game rather than working on the project with no one to answer to other than myself. For me, it’s easy to get carried away on the little details where I had to commit to a schedule and keep making forward progress or the backers would be unhappy.
- Is there anything you’ve learnt during development that you wouldn’t have learnt otherwise?
There are far too many things to list. Making a horror game is hard, and this is my first (of hopefully many), so I learned a lot about how to focus on creating a tense feeling in the player rather than providing them with fun.
- What indie games do you like to play besides this?
All sorts! My favorites recently have been The Cat Lady, The Stanley Parable, and Gone Home.
- What is your favourite game of all time?
Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Sega Saturn. It does such an amazing job of creating a compelling world despite the crude graphics.
Neverending Nightmares is available now on Steam (http://store.steampowered.com/app/253330/ ) and OUYA (https://www.ouya.tv/game/Neverending-Nightmares/ ). For more information about the game, visit their website: http://www.neverendingnightmares.com