They are saying it takes a village…and when it got here to creating the village of Gravoi, that’s greater than true. Saturnalia is a cultural mosaic, impressed in equal components by cinema, theater, and even structure—in addition to traditional video video games that emphasize survival and exploration. The result’s a deeply textured and thematically wealthy world, one which displays a true-to-life affect whereas finally remaining otherworldly.
The place Actuality Meets the Surreal
As soon as the workforce at Santa Ragione knew the sport was to be set within the Sardinian area of Italy—a location not typically represented in in style media—we understood we had a accountability to the attractive locales and genuine tradition of the realm. On the similar time, our imaginative and prescient was for a horror story with a supernatural affect, necessitating an imaginative leap from the true world into one thing else altogether. That’s how Gravoi got here to be: a fictional dreamscape that displays the true Sardinia whereas standing by itself as a definite and eerie setting.
The workforce carried out in depth location scouting all through the island, taking numerous images and movies of villages and cities all through Sardinia, from the traditional church of Bosa to the deserted mines of Monteponi. With these sources in hand, we had been in a position to meticulously design the city of Gravoi and its many distinctive twists and turns.
With the goal of making a procedurally-generated format able to reorienting itself as soon as sure in-game circumstances are met, the designers labored onerous to make sure that every cobblestone sidestreet and slender alleyway felt distinct and lived-in. The cathedral, storefronts and structure that make up Gravoi are without delay acquainted and completely distinctive. However establishing a three-dimensional setting is simply a part of the storytelling course of.
The neon-folk impact
The artwork model of Saturnalia brings many descriptors to thoughts. Colourful, kaleidoscopic, or possibly picturesque? All of those are correct, however they solely start to elucidate the depth and vary of influences that contributed to the aesthetic that defines the visuals of Saturnalia.
From the outset, we had a really clear inspiration in thoughts for each the story and the look of Saturnalia: giallo cinema, the traditional Italian horror movies that rose to prominence within the 60’s and 70’s as a result of bracing and revolutionary work from the likes of Dario Argento and Mario Bava. Identified for his or her stunning violence, gripping mysteries, and stylized cinematography, these movies shaped a basis upon which the builders might construct their very own entry into the longstanding custom of Italian horror.
For stage design, our artwork director appeared to modern structure and dramatic scenography, significantly expressionist and brutalist kinds that prize that means over realism. These stark geometric patterns mixed with the colour remedy and palette construction to create an immersive world that’s simple to get misplaced in—each actually and figuratively.
The evocative artwork model of Saturnalia—dubbed “neon-folk”—is its most instantly arresting characteristic. However how the sport performs is simply as essential.
The Coronary heart of Saturnalia
Though the cinematic affect on Saturnalia is substantial, it’s a online game firstly, one with deep connections to the lineage of survival-horror and exploration-based journey video games. Particularly, the wealthy and detailed world of Shenmue was an enormous inspiration, as had been thriller video games like Mizzurna Falls, Enemy Zero, and D2. The commonality between all these video games is deeply immersive worlds that encourage crucial considering and emotional connection to their narratives and central characters.
The extent design targeted on offering gamers with a number of pathways to reaching their aims, with a primacy positioned on alternative and distinctive playthroughs. Borrowing from the explorative journey model, sure areas of the village are unavailable to the participant previous to buying sure instruments and gear. Equally, the various diegetic puzzles weaved all through the sport are the important thing to discovering new areas and secret passageways all through Gravoi.
The result’s a labyrinthine construction that creates the sensation of traversing an intricate maze. Within the absence of daylight, the participant’s administration of their matchsticks is crucial in staving off the darkness…and the eye of the creature stalking their each transfer. This maze has a monster inside, and avoiding its clutches is the highest precedence for any soul courageous sufficient to discover the village.
However Saturnalia isn’t targeted on fight. Stealth and evasion are the participant’s major instruments, as are the distinctive talents of every of the 4 co-protagonists. Using these talents goes hand-in-hand with revealing extra about every character’s private motivations and wishes: on the planet of Saturnalia, story and gameplay are intertwined. The one means for the participant to progress is to be taught which character is finest used for any given scenario or puzzle.
Even so, everybody who performs Saturnalia will get pleasure from a singular expertise. It’s doable to finish the story with out uncovering each final element, selling replayability and alternate methods. The discoveries the participant makes—in addition to the order by which sure occasions are resolved—can have an effect on the ending. In the end, this speaks to certainly one of our key pillars in designing Saturnalia: the emphasis on participant company. It’s so that you can select the way you need this story to unfold.
With that in thoughts, there’s just one query that continues to be.
Do you dare to affix the ritual?
The workforce right here at Santa Ragione is placing the ending touches to the sport, and we will’t wait so that you can play it. Saturnalia launches for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on October 27, 2022.