After learning about Westmark Manor last week, I got in touch with Martin Kupski of Nodbrim Interactive to learn more this upcoming survival horror game.

Your previous game, Acaratus, is a turn-based tactical RPG with a steampunk setting. Did anything in particular lead you to make your second project a Lovecraft-inspired survival horror game?

Kristoffer and I, we are fans of several genres and we are creative souls who love to try different design ideas. Acaratus was our first title together and we both loved turn-based games (especially Heroes of Might and Magic) but when it comes to vision I love to mix things up. Acaratus was an amalgamation of two things, medieval and steampunk and how those two styles could blend. This time on Westmark Manor I am trying to go more focused on the classical Gothic horror route, which leans heavily towards suspense more than actual horror, and I have a huge passion for the occult and esoteric texts. I try to stay true to those things as much as possible, so a lot of the occult things in Westmark are fairly true to the real counterpart. (We had to take some creative liberties though to make a compelling game.)

The other element that I am super passionate about is Lovecraft. He has inspired me for many years and I can now finally make my homage to not just him but other horror writers and creators.

You’ve said that Westmark Manor has no combat. Are there enemies the player will need to run and/or hide from?

The manor is the “enemy,” it is watching you and darkness vs light plays an important part in how you deal with things in the game more than physical enemies. We have characters, but they are not affecting the gameplay in that sense, they are there to service the story and progression. What we wanted to focus in on the game was to have a very compelling mood and setting to dig into when exploring this place. A strange mystery to unfold more so than fighting. That’s why we have a focus on puzzles and managing your inventory so you don’t perish while traversing the dark rooms.

Is there a sanity system?

What we call sanity acts mostly like a life bar but we have a curse system that means when you get curses they attach to your stats and can cripple you in different ways. Players will be able to counter these things by consuming flasks and using ointments. There are also many rare relics that you can have as a passive buff, but that takes precious inventory space.

Are the puzzles more focused on riddles, backtracking with key items, or a combination of the two?

It is a combination of several things. We have puzzles that are more local and need to be figured out on the spot, and things that require certain items. We also have items that are actual puzzles in the inventory and item combinations that can lead to interesting outcomes. Crafting kits and identification of items are also interesting mechanics that make puzzles more than “just find item and put it here.”

There are ways to counter the backtracking by using hatches (our fast travel solution) that you unlock when finding them, and storage boxes that are linked so you can access things you store in one place if you haven’t got the space for it in the inventory.

When I watched the trailer, something about the style reminded me of Eternal Darkness. What would you say were the biggest inspirations for Westmark Manor?

Oh, this is a topic I can write tons on! I’m a huge fan of horror in general and especially classic Gothic horror movies such as The Legend of Hell House, the Hammer horror movies, and even recent things such as Penny Dreadful and Crimson Peak. As for games, like you mentioned Eternal Darkness and Alone in the Dark were two of our first big influences (even our key art piece is an homage to the Alone in the Dark covers). Earlier, before we started development, we played a lot of Mansions of Madness the board game, and I think we got a lot of good ideas from there. I played tons of Silent Hill and Resident Evil in my younger years, so the love of those franchises have probably influenced me a lot as a designer on Westmark Manor.

Finally, what is one thing you’d like our readers to know about Westmark Manor?

Everything isn’t always as it seems.

It was exciting to learn more about Westmark Manor, and as a fan of several of its influences, I can’t wait to see more from it as we get closer to its launch this summer. What do you think about Westmark Manor? Share your thoughts in the comments.