Lya (Lee-ah) Sato is a half Japanese, half European student, attending the prestigious Gozen Primary & Secondary School. A pretty boring place of education, save for the odd incident from time to time, such as students letting lose their pet ferret or fireworks being let off in the toilets. That is, until one fateful Friday afternoon, where the school becomes the scene of an horrific attack, one that will shock the core of the nation and the world. Lya, along with everyone else trapped inside what has now become a living nightmare, must seek to survive and find a way to escape the dangers lurking the school corridors, with some of them, not even being from this world... -Explore the corridors and classrooms of Gozen. Solve the puzzles and riddles that bar your path, as you move from corridor to corridor, room to room, world to world... -Work with other students and teachers as you see to discover the motive behind the attack on the school...if you're able to survive long enough
This is the second in a series of posts detailing the development of Scary Stuff's first title, LYA (Lee-ah) scheduled for a June 2019 release.
Click here, Rpgmaker.net
for the first post, which details how the game idea came about.
This post, will go into much further detail about the game, detailing certain details that will be present in the full version of release. Ever so slight spoilers are ahead.
Let's get to it.
For anyone who has just stumbled upon this, let me begin by giving you a summary of what this game is about.
LYA follows Lya Sato, in her last year of school, during her final exam period. She is not the popular one, unlike her older sister who left behind quite the reputation behind. With her sister gone, her neglectful mother being her only parental figure in her life and feeling isolated by her fellow classmates and teachers, Lya's previous few months before the events of the game, have not been the best...
And so it is, on a fateful Friday afternoon, right after the last bell, that Lya hurries away from school. However, she's dropped her Sis's necklace. Returning back to school to find it, seals her fate and ties her to the events which take place during LYA. For no sooner has she found her necklace, then an attack takes place at the school.
Writing this into the story, a school shooting and attack, was not something I did so lightly.
But with recent events that have taken place (school shootings, Christchurch) I felt that now more than ever, that such storytelling is appropriate. Not to glamorise said events, violence or pain but as a way of speaking on these events during this period of human history. Plus, horror is not meant to gloss over the more darker side of the human mind.
It's supposed to be a mirror, reflecting to us the fears that we hold deep inside of us and gaming, as a form of art, is a medium to hold that mirror up.
Finding a tileset and character design was not a simple choice. I am not that talented (or patient enough) to draw out what I could see in my mind. Plus, if I was to use a tileset and character sprites, they had to be unique, not something that I've seen before in the many indie games I've played.
So that is why, when I found Nanikasiratkool's resources, something clicked. The art style of the tileset and characters, plus how they moved about, really appealed to me. There was just something about the odd movements that made me settle on them.
Being a big fan of music, I know how important both a soundtrack and sound effects are in a horror game.
In fact, it's arguably the most important part of a horror game.
Cliche sounds can drag a player out of the experience, music that is too overpowering can take away from the atmosphere or feeling of horror you're trying to convey and trying to find the balance between music and silence (except for footsteps or interactions, such as opening doors etc.) is something I'm still working on.
As far as sound effects, each kind of door has a unique opening and closing sound, each floor tile has a different footstep sound and each 'creature' has a unique sound.
This diversity, extends also to other elements of the game.
Every student in this game, has a name and surname and in their few lines of dialogue, somewhat of a personality. Interacting multiple times with a student yields different results (most of the time). You can learn a lot about LYA, the school and the world by taking the time out to interact with various students and reading in detail certain documents and other items that can be found about the school.
This ultimately, will be how the story of LYA will be told. Of course there will be a main plot which will be clearn enough to understand(I once read that if you can't explain it simply to a child, you can't explain it at all. Obviously the story will be a bit more deep than a children's story but you get the point.) However, many threads that connect the characters and understanding the deeper mythology of the game, will be up to the player to discover.
As far as collectables go, there will be two main variants. Firstly, the puzzle pieces. They'll unlock something at the end of the game. The second collectible...no, I'll keep that as a surprise (you can't yet find them in the demo by the way, so don't go looking.)
Ultimately, this game will be made up of a Prologue, 5 Chapters and an Epilogue.
Now without spoiling too much, the first two Chapters will basically introduce you to the gameplay mechanics and game elements of LYA. Each one of these chapters should take, for first time players, at least a couple of hours each (unless you ace every puzzle, avoid looking for collectibles, avoid speaking to people and rush through dialogue, in that case, it'll take less).
The third chapter is the longest, and is a bit more 'open world' compared to the first 2 chapters. Chapter 3 is the longest chapter and certain choices you make here can shorten or lengthen your gaming experience. Plus, certain choices, though not changing the ending of the game, will change certain elements of the ending.
Chapters 4 and 5 are much more fast paced as the conclusion to the story occurs, with mysteries being solved and characters meeting their fates.
Oh, I forgot to mention, there will be Boss Battles. In LYA, you can't fight back against enemies but these boss battles will make it so that you can 'harm' the boss'. Each one will be creative and a unique experience, relying with what you've learnt, gameplay wise, prior to their encounter to beat them.
This is the most information I've released about the game until now. If you're interested, try out the demo. Bear in mind, the demo is based on an earlier build of the game and certain elements (such as darkness, interactions, gameplay choices and elements) are subject to change.
I hope you enjoy your gameplay experience, and if you find any of the puzzles to challenging, don't give up! (Oh yeah, light an incense to the statue of the Gods, don't forget to do that.)
Next blog post, I'll preview some new maps and gameplay elements and discuss more in depth the creative process when laying out the maps and events.
Until next time, Peace.
The first in a series of posts that will look into the creation, development and release of the horror game LYA. The first part looks into the very beginnings...