In a new interview with Press Start, game developer Brass Token had the opportunity to shed more light on their upcoming atmospheric horror game, The Chant. Creative director Mike Skupa had a lot to say about its influences and what we can expect.
In our prior coverage of this game, we already covered the main premise and scenario. A woman engaging in a spiritual retreat, discovers they are actually under the control of a dangerous cult, and start seeing hallucinatory visions of unusual creatures.
Mike was explicit that they used 1970s horror movies as a source of inspiration, particularly when it comes to the aesthetic. You can read his comments on it below:
“For us the atmosphere is the main thing we focus on, it’s creating that feeling of dread throughout the island, and unease. A lot of the characters, they go to the retreat to get over things that are troubling them in their lives or things from the past. So they all have an element of uncertainty about them. And then it’s a very remote setting, even the codename originally for the game was ‘Remote’, because we just wanted something that was kind of on the edge of the world, away from technology, away from other people and with modern day characters.
So I think yeah, that feeling of dread, but also something that’s really important to us since energy was so key to the concept and we were looking at a lot of references from horror movies from the 70s and so forth, colour was really important to us as well. So a combination of terror and beauty and that sense of wonder, I mean, personally that’s one of the things I really love about horror and weird fiction and so forth is just experiencing new things and new ideas. So that was really appealing to us. It’s something where you’re drawn to it, and it’s something that’s attractive and engaging, and the colours and numbers and sacred geometry, even our creatures are designed to take the appearance of sacred geometry and symbols and so forth, so just having that kind of consistency throughout.”
Mike didn’t name any specific horror movies in this interview, referring to the decade that may have been the peak of horror movies, so it may be unclear what kind of movies he is referring to. In the period that had Italian giallo, British horror remakes of Universal films, and American sci-fi horror films, where is the influence to these movies to The Chant? It’s more likely that Brass Token has taken their inspiration from a particular kind of US supernatural movies about cults. Movies like Messiah of Evil, Let’s Scare Jessica To Death, and Frozen Scream are forgotten today, but successfully build their horror around their eerie atmosphere, and revolve around cults and secret societies.
But lest we forget, The Chant is still a video game. Mike also discussed some of those game elements as well.
The combat system is still there, but not in the form that you exist. Instead of physical weapons, you use items like salt, sage, and fire to fight these strange creatures from The Gloom. Taking their inspiration from the new age movement to heart, you aren’t physically fighting the creatures so much as you are using magical attacks against them. So, similar to a fantasy RPG, you can think of these weapons as resources, that you will have to balance out as different resources can be used to fight different creatures.
There is a mental health gameplay system that is tied to the creatures. If you experience bad or negative emotions, those creatures will actually be feeding on them. Some gamers may still not be used to the idea of mental health as an essential part of a game, but for The Chant, they have tried to make it seamless with the narrative and gameplay.
As for the game world, the retreat is located in the center of the island, and you come back to it to access other parts of the world, much like a hub and spoke.
The Chant certainly has a lot of promise from its unique premise alone. Let’s hope they nail everything right and start a new, different kind of horror game.
The Chant will be released on November 5, 2022 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC.
Source: Press Start