One Late Night, Developer Interview

One Late Night is an indie-horror game that takes place in an office at night.

One Late Night is an independant-horror game designed by Linus Jönsson, and is centered around a character spending a night alone in an office, while a supernatural entity moves about. It’s a terrifying game, and really bores into your mind while playing, and doesn’t shy away from hitting you at a psychological level.

I reached out to Linus to talk about One Late Night, and he reveals some delicious tid-bits, and how the sequel of One Late Night is in development and will bring changes to the formula seen in the original game.

You can play, and download the game for free over on its IndieDB page – [Click Here]

Justin: What is your role in development of  One Late Night, and where did the idea come from?

Linus: I’m the programmer, lead designer, lead modeler, texture designer. Everything besides sound really. A friend of mine was doing some assistance modeling, title screen artwork, and the soundtrack and sound. The idea of One Late Night was conceived jointly between us as we both have office IT jobs and we both like horror games. No one has really done this type of game before and we thought an office could be a perfect environment for a horror scenario, as you sometimes can feel quite paranoid working late in a lonely and gloomy office.

J: One Late Night works really well as a horror
game. Are there any plans to make a distributed, full game for Steam,
XBLA, PSN, etc?

L: The sequel is currently in development,
which will be much longer than One Late Night. It will be a full game basically.
This will most likely be published on Steam as it will be a much bigger
game and also commercially distributed, mainly via Desura. To this moment
XBLA and PSN haven’t crossed my mind, but Wii U on the other hand would be
a very cool platform to port the game to so that I could utilize the Wii U
gamepad for various new gameplay elements.

J: How do you feel about the survival-horror genre
lately? Do you think indie developers are in control compared to AAA devs?

L: The survival horror genre among indie
developers has seen a lot of low-quality games lately, many of them Slender
clones and many of them have been made with Unity, which gives the engine
a bad rep. People get surprised when they realize One Late Night was
developed in Unity, because often all they have seen from Unity is Slender
based clones that was made in a week or two. Indie developers today have a
bigger fighting chance with all the new powerful and affordable engines
around like Unity. It makes it easier for you and your game to get spotted
among all the AAA titles.

J: Is there anything you’re not happy about with One
Late Night, or did it nail all of your expectations/goals?

L: What you probably don’t know is that One
Late Night is an experimental game to try out fresh new gameplay concepts
and not-so-usual game mechanics. I’m happy with almost everything I
achieved with One Late Night, but not so much the hiding mechanics though.
Shortly after noticing what a hard time people had understanding the
hiding, I realized that I should’ve probably just implemented regular
crouching that you are used to from many first person games. I don’t
dislike the hiding mechanics myself, but not everyone is a hardcore gamer
and One Late Night is aimed towards everyone.

J: Being a game developer myself I find it a difficult, but rewarding task.
What are some of the major hurdles you encountered, and overcame in

L: The technical part of the development was
mostly a smooth ride. Gameplay however, starting as a horror simulator, I
realized that there wasn’t actually all that much gameplay in the game, so
I had some problems coming up with some decent gameplay for such a
confined game environment. In the end I decided to go all out on slightly more
adventure styled horror game.

J: The game has been received very well by the
community, and there’s been a fair amount of ‘Let’s Plays’ on Youtube. How
does it feel to see the gamer community playing your game, and getting

L: I expected the game to get some attention
due to the graphics being a bit more polished than many other small-time
indie horror games, and the actual gameplay being something different than
just gathering stuff for no reason. But I didn’t expect it to grow this
much and so fast. Partially I have MarkiplierGAME on YouTube to thank for
that, because his video was the first let’s play video on YouTube, which
got the ball rolling pretty early after release. It’s a great feeling
seeing people enjoying your creation, it’s the reward you get after months
of work. This wasn’t about money as the game is free, it was about showing
that short horror games can be much more than just having the player
aimlessly wander around forests collecting notes. And frankly, by looking
at some of the videos I’m quite surprised how easy it is to scare people
with so little.

J: What are your plans for the future in game
design, and the future of One Late Night?

L: As mentioned earlier, the sequel for One
Late Night is in development. This one is titled “One Late Night:
Deadline” or just “Deadline” for short. You will be back at
the same office as before, but you will get to explore the entire office
complex with 4 different floors. Whether you are playing the same character
as before will be left unexplained and up to the player to decide from the
storyline that follows in Deadline. You will find more bits and clues of
the story that wasn’t given to you in the previous game. Besides One Late
Night, I’m also looking to finish one of my earlier game projects which is
near completion, and perhaps also get more into game development
for Android devices.

J: Do you have any favorite horror related media
(games, television, film) and did they draw some inspiration for the game?

L: As you can probably tell from the game, I
like psychological horror – horror that isn’t just about blood and gore
and where sounds and visuals are playing tricks with your head. In
literature I have long been fascinated by Lovecraft’s horror and the gruesome
monsters he depicted. As for films, there aren’t many horror movies that
put a scare on me. The latest horror movie that I saw which I also liked
was Sinister, because it has all the scary faces, the sound effects and
the paranormal stuff that I like. You may have noticed by staring into the
face of the Black Widow, my fondness of scary and creepy faces.

J: Playing the game myself, I found myself able to
finish it due to feeling uneasy the entire time, which is great for games like this. What do you think makes a horror game work, and scare the player?

L: Horror games can be so many different
things. But for this type of horror that is slow, sublime and
psychological it is important to have a detailed game environment that the
player can put him or herself into so that they can become immersed. The
office interior was designed with a real office as reference, and I
designed the textures from photos that I took and made the overall color
tone of the textures look a bit washed out and dull to create a bit more
drab office look. You will also have to make use of good sound effects to
add more ambience. Good sound effects can also help you lead the player to
where you want him to go. In One Late Night I also tried to make the
general speed of the game quite slow so that the player also will slow
down and take in the environment bit by bit and not rush past things. This way it
is easier to build an atmospheric setting. There’s a lot of stuff in an
office you can create creepy stuff from that you do not think about. Like
the printer that prints the creepy message. How would you feel if you knew
you are alone in an office and suddenly you get a printout from the
printer with an obscure looking message in handwriting?

I would no doubt be scared by a printer randomly printing out something creepy on it’s own, without any manual control. I’d probably bolt from the building if it did that!

There’s not much known at the moment about One Late Night: Deadline at the moment, but as soon as more information about the sequel is dropped you can expect an interview again focused solely on the sequel.

— Justin Ross

Lead Editor for Maple Syrup Gamer

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