At first glance Creaks may look like a dark game, but it’s actually a fun game about being in the dark. Just imagine yourself in a gloomy room. You notice a strange, sneaky figure standing in the corner. Naturally, you get scared, but once you turn on the light, you realize it’s just a harmless coat stand and suddenly, you feel relieved. And amused, perhaps.
In Creaks, we turned this principle of imagination and ambiguity into game mechanics. For example, a dangerous looking guard dog will chase you on sight, but as soon as you manage to trap it under a beam of light, it turns into a handy bedside table. Now you can climb this piece of furniture and reach a seemingly distant ladder.
Later, as you explore the strange cave-house, you encounter a bunch of different monsters, each with a different kind of behavior. Since the game emphasizes ambiguity, they are not always evil. It’s not a game where light is good and dark is bad – you’ll need to use both of their forms in order to solve various puzzles and make your way to the bottom of this towering mansion.
The idea behind Creaks is based on a phenomenon called pareidolia – a tendency to interpret abstract patterns as something known to the observer. For example, the ability to see faces or animals in clouds. This was the starting point for the design of these furniture monsters we call creaks. Usually we would just take a piece of furniture and try to come up with a monster that preserves the feeling of the original object. The art style, a combination of hatching and watercolor textures, might eventually induce you to see these pareidolic illusions everywhere.
The story has elements of ambiguity as well. The premise of Creaks is closely related to psychology, so in a way, the game takes you on a journey into the hero’s subconsciousness. On the other hand, the world of Creaks is surreal, yet physical – so it’s entirely up to you, the players, whether you’ll read the game’s story as a psychological journey, or as a trip into a rather strange neighborhood.
Keep an eye out for Creaks, coming to Xbox One in early 2020.