Hi everyone, I’m Tomasz from Flying Wild Hog, Lead Producer on Evil West, our weird west, third-person, action combat adventure game now available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. Today, I’d like to dive into the unique world we’ve created for Evil West, and tell you about what inspired the mood, environments, and art in our gothic horror, spaghetti western joyride.
Weird West is quite a niche genre in games, so we were really excited about all the unexplored territory here. We’ve been inspired by works which take established tropes and put very interesting spins on them. Take Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy” comic for example, which takes gothic elements and makes them lighter with a laid-back main character.
Brian Azzarello’s “Moonshine” comic does a similar thing, mixing vampire tropes with real history to great effect. Another great example is Netflix’s “Castlevania” series, where the monster hunter profession is cast in a different light by very human and vulnerable characters.
In Evil West, we uproot European vampires and plant them in the old American West. Once we did that, so much of the world grew naturally, and we just had to follow the weeds of our creative guts taking us into beautiful, dark, and unexpected places. The vampires in Evil West have discovered a new and dangerous power, and now the wild west must progress or perish. The response is the lightning-powered gauntlet, developed by the vampire-hunting Rentier Institute, a tool both brutal and elegant.
The gauntlet fit perfectly both in terms of setting and gameplay; the vampire hunters got something new against the growing threat, and now we had an awesome lightning-powered melee-centric weapon to create combo-based, fast-paced combat with a spectacular, gory presentation. Plus all the guns, of course, can’t forget about the guns! Shotgun, rifle, and flamethrower, to name a few.
The Wild West means more than just the traditional rocky deserts and canyons though. In our weirder Wild West, the sunset paints the landscape blood red and stretching shadows mingle with crawling monstrosities. Gaunt figures perform dark rituals in abandoned shacks while creatures from folklore stalk the twilight.
We have a wide variety of iconic Wild West-inspired locations that have been twisted with dark horror: from trains to banks, desert towns to snowy mountains, and beyond that, gaping subterranean tombs, smoke-choked industrial factories, and more.
It was also important for us to ramp up the stakes and scale of the locations as you progress, with some really mind-blowing stages for the grand finale. The dusty desert border town is a great place for us to start, but even this location has been twisted to some degree.
To achieve the mood we wanted in terms of art direction, we did a lot of bending of reality. We want it to be familiar enough to recognize, but with something that still feels different. For example, to create a more gothic, twisted mood for our wild west towns, we added one or two extra floors to most of the buildings, along with more balconies and stairways. It makes the buildings seem to loom over you, while still resembling the traditional western frontier towns you’ve seen in your favorite movies.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this dip into the world of Evil West, and what inspired it. The whole team has worked super hard on nailing the game’s feel and style. I can’t wait for you all to punch your first vampire in half. It’s going to be one hell of a ride!
Evil West is developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Focus Entertainment. It’s now available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.