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Afterparty has an 'emotional core' that aims to make you cry, says developer Night School

Bring some tissues

Afterparty might look like an adventure game all about snarky commentary and witty banter, but it definitely goes much deeper than that. In an interview with Engadget, Night School co-founder Sean Krankel discusses the sentimental aspects of the game.

"People don't think this has an emotional core to it, but it totally does. The thing we don't talk about in the press that much is that the game is about the nature of friendship. The ups and downs of that, and managing what it is like to be in a long-term relationship with somebody, and how maybe you backstab them and stuff. ...On the surface it's just a fun romp through hell that's very non-linear, and players determine how they get through it, but by the end of it, we hope people get misty."

Game Informer Video - Game Dialogue From Hell: Afterparty's Approach To Player Freedom

To Hell and back

While at GDC 2019, Game Informer interviewed studio director Sean Krankel and game director Adam Hines from Night School Studio to talk about their new game Afterparty and how the dialogue system compares to their previous game Oxenfree and their vision of the afterlife compares to films like Beelejuice.

Oxenfree devs explain why fans should be excited for Afterparty, discuss how they make a visit to Hell fun

Having a Hell of a time

The next game from Oxenfree devs Night School Studios is Afterparty, which has quite a different tone and setting from the team's previous work. That said, there will still be a lot for Oxenfree fans to love, according to studio co-founder Adam Hines.

“In Oxenfree, I think it was fun for people to really dig deeper into the world that we had and the history. You could go pretty deep in terms of tuning into the tour guide stuff and being able to hear the history of the location and ghosts and things. With Afterparty, there’s a lot of references to how hell is run and if you want to you can really go pretty deep into the aspect of what the demons’ jobs are, their relationships with people, why people have died, who’s there, and why. Tthat aspect will be what carries over from Oxenfree.

The tone of Afterparty is very different in that it’s not meant to be a spooky, mysterious thing, it’s a madcap, crazy, raunchy comedy. But, there’s still just a lot of history and weight to all of the characters.”

As a developer, how do you go about making hell a fun place to be? The work starts very early on in Afterparty, as Night School Studios co-founder Sean Krankel explains.

“One of the things that happens right when the game begins is that you get assigned a personal demon…that is born from choices that you, as the player, make fairly early on in this hell processing moment. So this character, her name is Sister Mary Wormhorn, she is born of the two player characters’ answers and then that character is constantly coming back and taunting you and doing things based on the choices that you made to make you feel like ‘Did I do the right thing?'

Ultimately, I think that personal demon does, in a more comedic way, manifest a lot of that ‘the game is watching me’ feeling…Tonally very different, but I think it serves a similar function.”

GameSpot Video - 18 minutes of Afterparty

Night School Studio, the developer behind Oxenfree, is creating a new game about two rambunctious young adults trying to escape hell.

Afterparty and Killer Queen Black panels scheduled for GDC 2019

We've got two more panels to look forward to at GDC 2019. Oxenfree dev Night School Studio is going to host a panel talking about their upcoming game Afterparty, while Funktronic Labs will be talking about Killer Queen Black's base for inspiration, Killer Queen. Check out full details on each panel below.

The Art of 'Afterparty': The Devil's in the Details

Night School Studio's Art Director Ruel Pascual discusses how the visual style and development of 'Afterparty' was born from a variety of new production variables. Building a follow-up game to 'Oxenfree', filled with more characters, environments, and a higher narrative and design complexity, ushered in a host of art challenges. Ruel will unravel the process of building Afterparty's pipeline for art, including modeling, rigging, and animation. Featuring concept art designs, environment assembly, lighting techniques, and scene direction.

Takeaway

Attendees will learn about the workflows in making the follow-up game to 'Oxenfree', which introduced a new set of production complexity and challenges. Ruel will detail the tools and techniques that the production team at Night School developed to accomplish the complex visual style of 'Afterparty'.

Intended Audience

This session is intended for visual artists working on independent games. Attendees should be familiar with game development pipeline from art, animation, and game design. They should have knowledge of art and animation software and real-time engines.

How 'Killer Queen' Built an Esports Scene on an Indie Budget

'Killer Queen Arcade' is a competitive indie arcade game that has managed to create an esports community around a 5 on 5 arcade game...in 2018! From community-led monthly regional tournaments to the annual National BumbleBash Tournament, Killer Queen has created a phenomenon through a lot of hard work, clever design, and ground level efforts to build local communities. Learn about how 'Killer Queen' managed to create a national esport without having to spend like a AAA gaming studio.

Takeaway

Learn about how KQ approaches building community by aggressively engaging with its community and enabling its core fans to express themselves in the community. From community outreach and participation, to how merchandise is handled, to even game design and system features, a variety of different aspects of KQ have had successful and not so successful effects to foster a competitive national scene for an indie game.

Intended Audience

Game developers who are creating competitive games and want to build a community around them, and community managers who are looking at ways to build communities around competitive games.

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