Incendium talk Kickstarter plans in this promotional feature!
“Like playing Worms in real time, if the premise of Worms were more like Resident Evil” may be a bizarre pitch for a game, but it perfectly encapsulates the zany nature of Phantom Halls. Beginning on Steam Greenlight and transitioning into Steam Early Access a year ago, Phantom Halls today enters the next stage of its journey as it launches on Kickstarter. Incendium developer Llexi Leon tells us all about their plans for the manic monster melee.
“It started out as wanting to make a light-hearted horror game about a group of kids that enter a haunted mansion, and wanting the player to have to control the actual group and deal with all the different personalities and attributes rather than having a typical singular hero just bust the door down and rack up kills,” says Incendium’s creative director, Llexi Leon. “I think we stayed true to the intention and created something fun and quirky that’s taken on a life of its own.”
The roster of characters is at the heart of Phantom Halls, with horror movie favourites like the Goth, Cheerleader, Jock and Nerd all sporting individual abilities which can be combined to form your ideal squad. “Bringing these characters into the mansion is entertainment in and of itself,” explains Llexi. A 3D papercraft aesthetic and quirky, puppet-like animations breathe life into this gang of misfits.
“Certainly Phantom Halls is a love letter to B-movie horror,” Llexi says, if the spooky title and what you’ve read so far haven’t made it clear enough already. “It’s got a pretty broad appeal, I’d like to think,” he argues, as “an all-ages horror comedy for fans of explorative action adventure games.”
Uniquely, players can control multiple characters at once. “There’s really nothing else quite like it in terms of the simultaneous control of multiple characters in a side on format,” Llexi says. “There’s a great variety in pacing and tension as you lead this ragtag group huddled together, inching forward and opening doors with trepidation, to suddenly find yourself in a frantic firefight with a murderous clown, a swarm of bats, and a giant spider.”
Making these fraught situations even more high-stakes is the fact that failure results in permadeath. The game is procedurally generated, though, meaning the mansion re-arranges itself each time you play a quest. It’s resulted in parallels being drawn with another procedural indie game, Spelunky. And as in that game, players will have to contend with a nightmarish host of unpredictable hazards, like falling chandeliers and collapsing furtinture, along with dozens of enemies from skeletons and zombies to clowns and possessed dolls.
To somewhat even the odds, you’ll have an arsenal of varied weaponry at your disposal that can be combined and customised. With somewhere in the region of 100 quests to complete and 20 characters to unlock, play as and level up, Phantom Halls is set to have plenty of depth. As an added bonus, the game includes officially licensed Evil Dead 2 DLC celebrating the 30th anniversary of the film. This features not only the Ash Williams character but his famous boomstick and chainsaw, as well as exclusive themed quests. To thank fans for their support, this DLC is free for all Kickstarter backers and Early Access buyers.
“There’s so much we’d like to see in Phantom Halls and we’re doing our best to deliver the ultimate version of the game for players everywhere, ideally on every platform,” says Llexi. Whereas they could have just continued down the path of Steam Early Access, Incendium have good reason to bring the game to Kickstarter – a desire to make it the best it can be. “There’s really only so much that we can do with a small indie team working remotely and mostly part-time without dedicated funding,” he explains. Incendium’s hope is that this new avenue will give the opportunity for extra polish, language localisation and ports to other platforms, amongst other improvements.
Extra funding isn’t Incendium’s only motivation for entering Kickstarter, either. “Having the input from the community has made for a smoother and deeper gaming experience that we’re continually refining,” Llexi says of their invaluable experiences of Early Access development. “We’d love to see a new group of players contribute to the community, providing a fresh set of eyes on the game’s campaign and another wave of player feedback in the run up to retail release.”
Initially a simple single-player experience, Phantom Halls has massively expanded in content over time, including a new co-op mode. “We’re in a good place right now,” Llexi says. We’ve just got to put our heads down and focus on progression, presentation and polish.”
Incendium are already looking to the future of Phantom Halls, too. “There’s going to be ongoing support at launch in the same way we’ve supported it throughout Early Access – new quests, new characters, seasonal content, and all that fun stuff,” Llexi says, so hitting V1 won’t be the end of the road. In a similar vein to the Evil Dead 2 tie-in, Incendium are keen to release extra licensed DLC celebrating other revered horror franchises.
Phantom Halls is, rather appropriately, set for full release on Halloween 2018. You can play the current version on Steam Early Access, and back the Kickstarter right now!
This is a promotional feature sponsored by Incendium Games. What does that mean? Find out here…