Developer interview: Slender Threads (Gamescom)

When you stroll the (virtual) booths of Gamescom, you’re likely to bump a few indie adventure game titles. One that caught our eye this year was Slender Threads, which takes the classic formula and applies it to a horror/thriller narrative for a mix we’ve rarely seen before. We got in touch with the developers at Blyts in Argentina, and here’s what they had to say about the game.

Blyts is a studio based in Argentina. What’s the videogame industry like over there?

Argentina is doing well in the game development industry. It often stands out due to its human talent, entrepreneurs, and creative and resolutive people.

Many good projects and studios make their way despite the existent bureaucracy that makes the road a little bumpier in comparison with other locations.

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Who’s working on Slender Threads?

We are a small team and have been working together for over 10 years now. For bigger projects like this, we have some outside help. In this case for sound and localization, but we try to keep working with the same people once we’ve had a good experience.

So let’s say this is the team now:

Leandro De Brasi: Game designer and programmer.
Hernan Castares: Art Director, Illustrator and Animator.
Guadalupe Calabro: Storyline designer
Stephen Barlow: Script Writer.
Alex Walker Smith and Andy Frank: Sound and Music
Martin Clasen and Mariano Colombo: Executive Producers

We also count on many talented collaborators, including voice actors, testing and game localization specialists.

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The classic point and click adventure game has rarely been combined with horror/thriller elements – how did you come up with the idea?

We are big fans of the adventure genre and our previous game, Kelvin and the Infamous Machine had a very good reception. Because of this, it was natural for us to continue within point-and-click. Regarding the thriller elements, they came with the story we wanted to tell, and the art concept was the perfect way to explore this mixture.

What were some of your sources of inspiration for the game’s characters and narrative, both in video games and outside of it?

We grew up playing LucasArts’ games so we can say those are always present in our minds. But inspiration usually comes from different places and situations. In the case of Slender Threads, it started with a song (I can say it’s one of Muse’s, but not which one to avoid spoiling anything or misleading anyone). It also has some Twin Peaks influences and of course, there is Poe and a few other literary figures since the main character is a writer himself.

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How does designing a horror/thriller adventure game change the approach towards gameplay and narrative?

Compared to our previous adventure, in which humor was the engine, it was quite a challenge to recreate the feeling we were looking for in this adventure. Anyway, you can never really escape from humor in this kind of game, especially when it is in the writer’s background. We try to preserve the point and click adventure heart with a joke here and there while focusing on the art and sound to emphasize the darker aspects.

When did you start working on Slender Threads and where in development is the game now?

The game prototype started in late 2017, when we came up with the story but we started the development by the end of 2018 once we found the art concept. In terms of development, at this point the story and puzzles are defined. Locations are at 80% designed. We keep working on the script, sound design, and of course, there is always room for polish and improvement. The last steps are voice recording and localization.

We are also about to release the Prologue, which represents around 1 of the 8-10 hours of the full game, and we expect to have the full version ready for late 2022.

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