Crowdfunding is brimming with projects from aspiring indie developers hoping to make a name for themselves. Seeing so many game pitches day in and day out can leave us industry types feeling a little jaded. Which is why it’s refreshing to see a project launched by someone who’s just starting out, but already knows enough to take things seriously. In this case, 16-year-old Thomas Sigouin with his Kickstarter campaign for a psychological horror game, The Recalled.
Operating as Second Son Studio, Sigouin has been working on his project since July of 2016. What began as an atmospheric map quickly morphed into a working prototype. After receiving positive feedback on the concept, Sigouin realized he’d stumbled upon something big.
Chasing The Dream
“The feedback was so positive and I could see people being truly scared while playing the game. I tried making big games like this before but every time after 2 weeks of planning the creation of the game, I realized that it was too big. But with this project, it was different because the project was big the way I like my projects to be, but still doable,” Sigouin told me through email.
Although he is the sole developer on the game, Sigouin is not afraid to outsource some of his workload. “Even though I can do pretty much everything, I don’t to save time,” he explained. “I have purchased some environment assets to focus on other aspects of the game like the scripts of the enemies. I also do a lot of work on the level design since unique enemies come with unique gameplay that needs a good level adapted to it.”
The Kickstarter campaign for The Recalled features a few screenshots of the different environments that will show up in the game. Each favoring a dark atmosphere and probably some easily recognized asset packs. The graphics aren’t bad, but they aren’t what makes The Recalled stand out. For that you have to watch the trailer.
Set in the dreams of a protagonist suffering with PTSD, the player must confront symbols of trauma from their past. The further you go into the story the more the symbols begin to make sense. It’s a surprisingly mature premise for an indie horror game. Particularly, for such a young developer.
What Evil Lurks In the Minds Of Man?
“I am currently taking psychology classes and the one thing I learned that most impacted me on the story of the game is the fact that the subconscious is very scary,” Sigouin said. Wanting to explore this concept further he decided his game should be set in the dream of someone dealing with PTSD.
“Most of the people with PTSD experienced nightmares of their trauma and this is what the protagonist will experience. It allowed me to create a deep protagonist with a heavy but not over the top past.” There is a strong influence of Sigmund Freund’s interpretations of dreams added to the mix as well.
Second Son Studio is seeking CA $20,000 in funding to complete the project. Sigouin estimates that he has roughly 40% of the game completed. Character animations, sounds, and additional programming make up the remaining 60%. He has already lined up additional help to complete these facets if he reaches his funding goal.
A rather ambitious plan, particularly since he hopes to have the game completed by October 2017. If he’s unable to meet his goal he would still like to release a small portion of the game. This would help him start building an audience for his work and hopefully increase interest in future projects.