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The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me

The Devil in Me is the fourth instalment in the Dark Pictures Anthology and the final instalment of the franchises first season. Set in a recreation of H.H Holmes' infamous murder castle, a small TV production team find themselves locked in a twisted game of cat and mouse and are being pursued by a masked serial killer. Filled with Saw like traps and grotesque mannequins made of human flesh, the team must escape the castle with their lives or become one of the castles many lifeless inhabitants. 

I was part of the core design team working on The Devil in Me from the pre-production stages until my departure from Supermassive Games. Using the studios modified version of Unreal Engine 4 and their proprietary visual scripting language, I delivered levels from storyboard to final, while also producing the games core narrative and gameplay beats.

 

The Devil in Me was also a big departure from the series and introduced a slew of new game mechanics that expanded on the games exploration, puzzles and choices. This expanded gameplay also meant the design teams role was broadened, as I am a Level Designer at heart, the area I worked on the most was on the expanded exploration. These new game mechanics made exploration deeper in comparison to the previous entries in the franchise, adding elements of action adventure games such as climbing, vaulting, shimmying, balancing etc. so most of my job was designing and building levels around these new mechanics and fitting them into the Dark Pictures formula.

Contributions

After aiding the team on House of Ashes for a short period of time, I was moved on to the core team on the Devil in Me. Like previous games in the series I worked on the basic level flow and cinematic sequences, however most of my time was spent working on the expanded exploration areas of the game. This meant a greater focus on the Level Design within the explorable portions of many levels.

While I wasn't fixed to one specific area of the game, like previous games we were given considerable ownership over certain levels, meaning I had to become an expert in them and champion the directors vision. The levels I had under my care were; "Cigarettes", "Party", "Workshop" and "Homestead". Since leaving Supermassive Games, some areas of the levels I worked on have been greatly iterated upon, with some areas being cut back. However, many core design elements still remain. 

Fun Fact! After some deliberation on the games title, I suggested "The Devil in Me" and the rest is history. 

Cigarettes

With the crew settling into the Hotel, Charlies cravings take hold and he and Erin go searching for a pack of cigarettes. While they search for some cigarettes, they uncover various clues about the hotels previous guests and an animatronic barman that's more than he seems.

Party

After being separated from Charlie, Jamie stumbles upon the hotel lounge. While she works out her next steps, Jamie comes across a bizarre dinner party scene made up of mannequins. During her examination of the scene she discovers the furniture are old death traps used on previous hotel guests. Later on, Jamie finds a live stream of Erin's current location and is told to direct Erin on what to do otherwise, she dies. 

Party is a unique level as it is exclusive to the Curators Cut/ Player Two path. 

Workshop

Mark finds himself trapped within Du'Met's workshop after managing to evade capture. While searching around, Mark must hide from Du'Met as he stalks the Workshop and continues building his twisted traps and animatronics.

Homestead

After narrowly escaping Du'Met and seperating from Erin, Kate and Jamie find themselves lost within the hotels grounds. As they search for a way back to Erin, they discover evidence of previous victims failed escape from the island. Eventually they come across an old farmhouse with the previous victims dog trapped inside, however Du'Met isnt far behind and corners them inside.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Creation of levels and gameplay using the in-house storyboard tool to pre-vis the game from start to finish.

  • Conceptualising, designing and developing gameplay spaces to include the series' new exploration mechanics and iterate on them based on director and peer-to-peer feedback. 

  • Blocking out and building upon gameplay mechanics such as interactions, exploration cameras, event triggers etc. 

  • Scripting cinematic sequences and integrating third-party animation data to create the games sequences.

  • Balancing and adjusting the pacing of sequences based on playtesting and director feedback.

  • Creating the moment-to-moment game flow and logic for the games branching narrative using the studios in house scripting tool.

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