Placid Halls is a twisted take on the rogue-like genre that I’m sure will stir some old school survival-horror hearts.
Today, I’ve decided to interview Hannu the mind behind Placid Halls an indie game from Finland. This interview is only happening because while I was minding my own business on twitter, I scrolled past an incredible twitter post showcasing a mechanic in the game the developer wasn’t so sure they’d keep. I of course had to comment that it was incredible and it just had to stay in, with a few fixes of course.
What do you get when you allow infinite crawler stacking? A nightmare bagel! This is quite glitchy though. And how would you even fight this thing? I probably won't allow this...#roguelite #roguelike #horror #lovecraftian #gamedev #indiedev #indiegame #unity #procgen pic.twitter.com/iLYtXIfDTW
— Placid Halls: Roguelite Horror (@pseudoJuno) November 3, 2019
What Inspired You To Make Placid Halls?
One inspiration for the game is walking simulators – my boredom with them specifically. Horror games seem to split into two groups: either walking sims or action horror, and while Placid Halls is of course influenced by Amnesia and the like, I’d like to take a third path. That means adapting roguelike mechanics into survival horror and vice versa. Permadeath and proc gen levels are of course a done thing, but I’m going for the tactical combat as well. (A critical point here is that the combat doesn’t happen against the main horror elements, like in Dead Space for instance, where you get used to the enemies.) My roguelike inspirations are NetHack and Brogue.
How Long has Placid Halls Been In Development?
Almost four years now, but it’s not really the same game anymore. It’s a long story, but I’ll cut it short: I had spent a couple years prototyping a horror game that was meant to be a very retro project. It was called Nightlurker3D (Shut in Panic after that) and had multiplayer. During those years it transformed in every aspect except for the setting. Now it’s obviously a (singleplayer) horror roguelite called Placid Halls. The plans have changed a lot and have finally taken shape into something that works and I can manage on my own.
Who Or What Is Your Biggest Horror Inspiration?
I can’t pick just one, but gameplay wise I’d say Penumbra: Black Plague, Amnesia and Alien: Isolation. Aesthetically the Silent Hill games and David Lynch’s work. And of course Lovecraft, although everyone is making lovecraftian stuff now, so I won’t go too much in that direction.
Does Finland Have Any Cool Scary Folktales That You Like?
I don’t really know any scary ones, but I guess gnomes living in your sauna are pretty cool!
What's Your Biggest Hope For Placid Halls?
To add a bit of depth to the horror genre’s gameplay without sacrificing the horror. Or in other words, make a game that I’d actually like to play!
Will You Make More Games After This?
Definitely, I’ve done this since I was thirteen and couldn’t really stop even if I wanted to!
A FEW WORDS
I think the fact that horror is still going so strong in the game genre is telling. There are so many ways to tell a story! Including a scary one. The different ways to tell it is what really breaks down the Silent Hills from the games lost to dollar bin obscurity. I have incredibly high hopes for Placid Halls as I’m still stunned over the monster stacking mechanic. It’s terrifying and could be used to do so many things. I hope everyone keeps an eye out for this game and the many more that will surely come from Hannu.