Monday, May 29, 2023

Little Nightmares II Interview: Creating a Land of Nightmares

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This interview originally appeared on Xbox Wire Russia and has been translated into English to appear on the US Xbox Wire.

February 11, 2021, Little Nightmares II released on Xbox Series X | S and Xbox One. Shortly after its launch, we reached out to Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe to chat with Little Nightmares II lead producer Lucas Roussel to talk about the game’s spooky little world, its inspirations, and what to expect for its heroes in the future. .

Xbox Wire: the original Little nightmares has a unique aesthetic, and the sequel fully inherits that approach. Where do you look for inspiration and how hard is it to create something so scary and different from regular horror games?

Little Nightmares II main producer Lucas Roussel: It’s really hard to pinpoint a specific inspiration for Little Nightmares. The game is a collective work and each member of the team has their own inspirations and influences from movies, comics, art in general, but sometimes more personal experiences, nightmares or memories. The basic premise of Little Nightmares, however, is to root the environments and characters in a nightmarish logic with a childish perspective. All enemies and locations must have a purpose, a motivation, and a story. Of course, not all of this becomes explicit in the game, but we believe that this groundwork is where inspirations turn into creation and why the situations encountered in the game are so frightening and bring that sense of unease: they are all rooted in some sort of reality.

XW: One of the hallmarks of the game is the character Six who acts alone. What was behind the decision to do her like that and not a co-op character?

Roussel: It was decided early on to have a single player game and to switch to a new main character for Little Nightmares II. From there, adding Six as an AI companion offered several opportunities: it allowed for more complex level design and longer puzzles that relied on players’ ability to understand and work with Six. . Obviously, this also brings back a beloved character with a different angle; by removing the ability of players to control Six, we also bring in an interesting situation where players are never fully in charge of Six’s fate. We are very happy to see how the community and newcomers are responding to their journey with Six.

XW: Little Nightmares II was created during the changing console generations. How did this affect the process and the game itself?

Roussel: The development of the game was not affected by the generational change. Development began just before the release of Little nightmares in 2017 and Xbox One was the console to focus on at the time for the teams at Tarsier Studios to get the most out of it. With the release of the Xbox Series X | S, we believe it is important to offer gamers the best possible experience with a next-gen version through a free update available later in 2021 via Smart Delivery.

Little Nightmares II

XW: LN2 the visuals may seem simplistic, but could you say a little more about the technologies behind and how they have served the atmosphere of the game?

Roussel: Tarsier Studios’ technical and artistic teams work together to deliver the best technology to bring original production designs to life. Just like the first game, Little Nightmares II runs on Unreal Engine 4, but the engine has evolved over the past few years and the team has more experience working with it and tweaking it as needed. Little Nightmares II includes a combination of outdoor and indoor spaces that allowed the team to play a lot more with different lighting setups. We’ve also reworked the camera to offer more top views and in-depth character traversals. In terms of the backend, we’ve implemented an efficient streaming system that allows for faster load times when players die in one of the universe’s many Death Trap sets.

XW: What advantages will players have to play? LN2 on Xbox Series X | S?

Roussel: Although the game is not yet optimized for Xbox Series X | S; immediate benefits can be achieved: First, next-gen consoles will run Xbox One X enhancements, including higher resolution (4K upscaled), better post-processing effects, and processing for more image quality sharper and richer; but the SSD gives gaming another boost for an insanely short load time. Upon dying, players will experience an almost immediate respawn, which is a noticeable improvement over the original. Little nightmares.

Little Nightmares II

Then, later in 2021, a native Xbox Series X enhancement patch | S will be available for free via Smart Delivery and will make the most of the hardware, but we’ll have more information to share on that soon.

XW: What can you say about the power of the Xbox Series X | S and how did it help you shape Little Nightmares II?

Roussel: We are currently reviewing it. It’s early to give specific details, but the extra power allows us to combine higher resolution / FPS with better visual effects, which of course will make a huge difference compared to the previous generation of hardware.


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