Just last week, the evening school studio launched After party Release on Switch We absolutely love. Follow-up in 2016 Anaerobic Prove that you are a worthwhile successor, combining a dark and humorous story with a cutting-edge story that focuses directly on cutscenes and gameplay.

Given that Afterparty currently stands out in multiple ways in most of the eShop distributions, we think it's interesting to talk to some of the talent behind the distributions and learn the truth about production. We had the pleasure of talking to Sean Krankel, one of the studio's co-founders, and heard a lot of interesting details about the basic idea of ​​the studio, scrapped games and the idea of ​​not joining the studio . Completely released, and even a little follow-up on night school.

NL: For anyone unfamiliar with Afterparty, please tell us about the settings and what kind of game it is.

Sean Krankel: Afterparty is a game that mixes friend adventure and comedy. You play two characters, Milo and Lola, 20 years old. They are about to die, and they seem hopeful when they die scary And find them out in hell, although we really don't know why. When they are about to be dealt with in hell, it's like going to the DMV to get your driver's license, they find loopholes there, and if you can be invited to a family party in Satan and exceed Satan's drinks, he will grant you re-entry into the earth . This rarely happens, and it may happen only once in a short time, which is basically an impossible feat. But for players, the game is a bit like a mix very bad with Beetle juice Crawling together in this bar.

The game is a bit like mixing Superbad and Beetlejuice, searching for hell in this bar.

Your team consists of former Disney and Telltale staff, so what lessons do you say that have influenced the development of Afterparty?

I think we have a lot of different people who want you to with the story in new ways. the background of Disney and Telltale, the idea of ​​merging the story with the game mechanics has always attracted us. Before Oxenfree, most story games let you interact with cutscenes, and cutscenes will Maybe Take a few branch conversations and then you're back to gameplay, which goes back and forth between gameplay and story. We want to see how to make these two elements identical. How can we make these two exactly the same? How do we make a game that never loses player control? It allows you to show the behavior you want in this world, and lets agents change the story in ways that other games can't.

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I am one of the former Disney companions, and for me, the purpose of our attempt to inject into this studio is to focus on the construction of the world. Try to find ways to build truly relevant characters and the world in a truly fantastic environment. Ideally, the experience we want to provide is easy to understand and does not require much involvement in the game itself. Hope that "get yourself out of hell" is a prerequisite for anyone to "get". a Telltale perspective, the team has a lot to build on Telltale's past work. They are first-rate narrative companies, but we think we can improve the gameplay and the boundaries between gameplay and cutscenes. Specifically for Afterparty, we adopted the free-flowing dialogue system in Oxenfree, and then based on this, made a new branch of dialogue and personality by making a variety of drinks. Indeed, it depends on how we extend the game to what you To say and do, ideally you should never feel restricted or have "right or wrong" choices. It should be more of a personality test than a question of what we as developers want to do Make you do.

Indeed, it depends on how we extend the game to what you Want to say and do

Are you always planning to follow up Oxenfree with a similar narrative headline?

In short, no. We know we want to continue this narrative path, but we don't know if we will use a similar mechanism or whether we will keep the content that Oxenfree keeps with what we leave behind. Once Oxenfree appeared, we saw how the audience reacted to Alex [the main character], and especially how they could really define Alex as their own Alex, and we thought it would be silly for us to abandon everything normal. So all of that, we want to make a big overhaul of what Oxenfree does. I think in terms of hue, we landed in a completely different space. Here, it's more like a comedy buddy adventure, and "Oxon Freery" is more like a supernatural thriller.

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I think both games have many people's hearts and the same themes. Oxenfree explores the concept of how to make you feel like an under-character in supernatural situations, and in Afterparty, we want to see what happens when you play both roles and play everything you expect your partner The movie, but it is now available. In the beginning, Milo and Lola felt that they were almost symbiotic, and then-without breaking anything-throughout the story, you really started to see what this long-term friendship looks like, we Show, for example, how we branch stories and how game mechanics work. We are always trying to find a way to change your expectations. I think I want to say that we know we don't want to make a "weird" game, but we do know that we want to make some games that are rooted in stories and new ways of interacting with them.

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Do you need to leave all stories or game ideas in the locker room? If so, what is it?

of course. At Afterparty, I think that even if we still think that one of the eye-catching end results is not the right choice, that is, the dynamic interaction with the beverage will bring more risks and rewards to your beverage. We have a version where you don't have to worry about vomiting, worry about power outages and waking up in the new environment, but after we designed and tested all of these things, we found that there was actually no fun. This is actually a bit frustrating and strange. We then turned the beverages in the game more like Harry Potter-style potions, making them more useful for creating new conversation branches than resource management. Other than that, we didn't leave much. I think we started bigger than the games we made ourselves, which is far more than Oxenfree. I think any cuts made in the process are more about raising the of Afterparty, and I think they are ultimately the right choice.

We have a version where you have to worry about vomiting, worry about power outages in the new environment and wake up

What major challenges does Afterparty face in the development cycle?

We have many, they all come our eyes larger than our stomachs. One of the big names is a world, and now the world is filled with up to thirty or forty characters at a time. In Oxenfree, we display up to four or five characters on the screen, and Afterparty lets you browse the urban environment and bars, all of which have their own wayfinding and dialogue. There are many challenges in setting up these scenarios. In addition, with artistic style, we decided to switch to a more 3D approach in terms of artistic creation. In Oxenfree, all backgrounds are 2D and characters are 3D, but Afterparty has all In 3D.

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We really had to scale up the team, but we didn't have much money to make the game, so we had to find clever ways to mix 2D and 3D assets so that all 3D looks were in place. In addition, having a larger cast means having larger voice actors. We are working with a schedule of many different actors, and fortunately, all of them have done an excellent job, and we are fortunate to have a group of people who want to continue working with us after Oxenfree. So talent is great, but we are over three hundred Character models and more than 30 actors, and Oxenfree is 5 actors. To sum up, I want to say that scale and scope are the biggest challenges; we want to make a movie that is more or less R-rated, but only has a small team.

How is the Afterparty scripting process?

Credit to the writing team here! The lead author of the script is my cousin and co-founder of the studio, Adam Hines. Adam wrote the entire content of Oxenfree, but after Afterparty, we eventually expanded the team and added three other writers, all of whom are former storytellers or have animated backgrounds. There are new challenges here in having a team of writers working with a single writer, but the benefit of doing so is that we can get rid of Oxenfree's "playable movie" design and make it more structured Rick and Morty Either Bok Hockman Either The Simpsons There is a consistent arc there, but in each arc, each task feels more like a plot. You can track a specific set of characters for 20 to 30 minutes, which are exactly the same characters you encountered in the next paragraph. different. So it's cool to have the writers hold their own words on a per-task basis, all of which are under Adam's supervision.

I think the script is about 110,000 words; about the size of many movie scripts.

One thing we took very early to make sure things weren't too fragmented was to define Milo and Lola's journey and what we want to see it. The story is ultimately about their long-term friendship and the challenges that follow. The purpose of all missions is to tease and open up all aspects of those larger story rhythms.

Early on, we decided on five to six endings that we want players to see, and we know that those endings have the core theme of what you want to see such stories, and at the end of Act Two, we really go deeper Learned their friendship. So once everything is in place, we know where we want their friendship to be before the end, then we can pull all writers out and fill the gap with their own exploration ideas. However, I definitely don't want to oversimplify. For writers, this is a huge balancing act, which can tell a good story and provide a narrative agent for the player, while eliminating this spaghetti writing style. I think the script is about 110,000 words; about the size of many movie scripts. It is really helpful to arrange a major writer.

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If so, what are the main inspirations [books, movies, etc.] or influences you draw when writing this article?

We hope that players can laugh and feel that these characters are amiable, but the things to deal with are almost irrelevant and larger than the living environment. So we watched a lot of Edgar Wright movies, Beetlejuice, Superbad, Bill and Ted's Wonderful AdventureAll of these revolve around the close relationship between the best friends, and the connections between these friends are becoming more and more popular. The early production of playable versions of these films appealed to us. However, when it comes to legends, I think Adam and the team are happy because we treat the world as Every Religion is correct. There is nothing infeasible in this regard, so we can borrow it from the Bible when appropriate, and in other cases we can borrow it from fictional religious writings or philosophy that many cherish. Always looking for ways to apply story themes to all versions and perspectives of the afterlife. So, an interesting mix of sublime films inspired by these low-key films and the world you linger in.

What is the recording process like?

Varying! Fortunately, most actors are locals, and because our studio is in Los Angeles, most actors either live nearby or come regularly. We already have an excellent recording studio that works with Oxenfree, and many of these processes have been sorted out based on our previous experience. The challenging part comes from various rewrites and branches of the script. It's difficult to continue attracting talent, and there are a lot of busy actors who schedule back and forth to reach the deadline we want.

Most importantly, especially for Milo and Lola, it has to do with how much alcohol you can drink. In any given bar, you can choose up to five different personality types based on beverage and standard selection. Therefore, letting the actor have a proper mood, for example, reading a line as a pirate, and then talking like a hooligan, or telling some prank jokes that are not new, this is quite a swing. In Oxenfree, most of the keynotes are fairly consistent. However, Afterparty, as a comedian, is full of drinks of all kinds, and must still be interesting to some extent. From this perspective, the director is much more interesting, and then when you draw all these busy actors to play with, the schedule becomes crazy.

Give actors an appropriate mood, such as speaking as a pirate
Read in line and talk like a hooligan, or tell vulgar jokes
Another pendulum swing.

How do you come up with all the different beverage effects?

Fun! Actually, we made a small bar ourselves, but the ending was not good, so we stopped! For us, the magical "Aha!" Moment is when we realize that drinks can be used to embody a cartoon-like personality. Initially, we thought that these drinks would closely match our behavior in real life. For example, one will make you flirt a little while the other will make you more aggressive. However, the deeper we go, the more we realize that we can use these drinks as themes and apply themes to different problems and challenges. And we can do some seriously strange Drink! In essence, the beverage system reflects someone going out and saying, "This will be a night of tequila, because I want to go to a party!" We want to expand it and infiltrate how we develop things like location and storylines. Oxenfree is like a relatively normal world, suffering a weird attack much larger than life, but in Afterparty, the entire world is more like an R-rated Pixar world. We can get the characters into three stories, the crazy demon S & M bar, and make a lot of jokes about it, or we can deal with quite dark things, but due to the absurd setting, we can quite understand this. So these drinks are great for you. They are ridiculous in concept and make people want to try further.

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Our understanding is that during the production of Afterparty, your team also produced a Stranger Things derivative product, which has never appeared due to the collapse of Telltale Games. What happened to the rest? If so, what ideas or concepts do you want to revisit in this release?

This is a good question. I have never publicly confirmed or denied this, but I would say that we are developing such a game and now … it has disappeared. For example, a version of the game exists and is incomplete, and so is the game after Telltale collapses. We also want to re-examine some things. I won't be too specific in the details, but what I want to say is that one of the things we want to keep pushing is how we branch off stories in ways that are more than just dialogue. In Oxenfree, almost only 100% are dialogues, while in Afterparty it is dialogues, drinks and some events and small games. In "Stranger Things" games, we use more methods to branch the story based on actions, time of day, and many other things. This is a very cool project, and I think these concepts will become our next step.

I have never publicly confirmed or denied this, but I will say that we
A game like this was being developed at the time, but now … it's gone.

For the next game, do you want to make another narrative-focused version, such as Afterparty and Oxenfree? If not, what other types do you want to explore?

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No matter what we do, we will focus on storytelling. always attend. What I mean is that you will make a character go through some kind of arc and have fun interaction with other characters, and ideally, the player will have a lot of proxy power in it. That said, I don't think we necessarily agree completely with the same dialogue system or the same camera perspective. When we are in the next stage of discovery, many ideas are generated internally, including many new ways to with the game world. At that time it was extremely unlikely that we would leave the narrative and switch to things like multiplayer sports products.

Another thing is that we just want to explore new genres and intonations from a narrative perspective, just like the transition from Oxenfree to Afterparty. Not that we want to swing wildly between concepts, but why not make a romantic comedy or a robbery game? There are many other types of stories that can benefit from player-driven narratives. There are even thoughts on how to explore characters again from Oxenfree or Afterparty. It's too early for us to conceptually design everything, so we don't want to start anything until we have a good reason to "how to do it," and we want to ensure that we make technological progress before making any major decisions. Therefore, it can be guaranteed that our technicians will move forward or develop in a new direction, but this type is still pending.

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What are your key takeaways from important business receptions to Afterparty?

It is surprising how many people are associated with this story and characters. I don't think it will be easy to sell a high-concept car if you don't immediately touch it. Gamers realize that it has many levels. Yes, there is comedy and adventure content, but there is a story full of enthusiasm and a lot of player agents. It's great to see that people are connected to it, because if the character or world isn't that appealing, the whole game won't be that way.

Another thing is that people are always surprised when they can't see something. We spent months doing some work so that nobody even realized it. I won't say what these are, because I want people to find them! In turn, people think that what they see is not seen. They will look forward to an Easter egg, or to connect the dots to a larger ARG or Oxenfree, there may not be many here. It's fun to see people unpacking in this regard, and I love staying away from the game and seeing what people like. When it goes on sale, it's great to look not only at the efforts of the past two years, but also at people interacting with themselves. In the next year or two, we still plan to provide a lot of support for Afterparty to introduce it to the new platform, and maybe even provide some other content.

I like to keep a distance from the game and see what people like.

What do you think about other content without paying too much?

I just want to say that early thought revolved around essentially more "plots" in the world. Who we really want to play with and what your goals are. Probably not Milo and Lola. Maybe someone else. We want to make sure there are reasons for other content, we don't just want to extract some random DLC. However, there are already some very interesting ideas inside, and people are starting to really unite. Therefore, it has never been confirmed, but this is an interesting time after shipment, and here we will decide what to focus on next. Is it something new? Will it continue to build the world we have created? I think there is a bit of both.

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Finally, what games have you been playing recently?

I'm about forty hours Dragon Quest Eleven!! I didn't expect to get that In the game, I don't even play JRPG. However, that game made me a little uncomfortable. I think this part is to my seven-year-old daughter. She is just obsessed with the world and can easily play games. Therefore, Dragon Quest just let me use it on Switch, on other platforms that I have been using Jedi: Fallen Order with Death stranded. I will continue to explore Dragon Quest until Protect the animals with doom come out!

Thanks Sean for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to the next major project of Night School Studio. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on Afterparty and the drinks you like from the comments below. And, if you haven't downloaded it yet, what are you waiting for?