We thought it would be nice to use this time to discuss the Pilot Chapter argument in detail and explain some of the scenes that you’ve already played. Many of you asked us about the origins of the story, the ideas behind it, which decisions were taken, etc. Here, we will try to answer some of these questions and then you can share your opinions with us too.
After taking the responsibility of creating the script, the first thing I decided was to tell a story close enough to our own vision of the horror genre without stepping outside our comfort zone, and at the same time, a story that was appealing to us from a creative point of view. I didn’t want to create an excessive, grandiloquent and complex chapter but a heartfelt and humble story, faithful to the genre’s roots; a sort of respectful entry in the horror game stage. That’s why this first chapter of The Last Door talks and breathes horror classic stories and imagery all around, especially H.P. Lovecraft’s. The simple fact that the lead character finds his way into an old manor and begins to uncover a hidden, horrible truth is a clear reference to this author (and his collaborators), in such works as “The Survivor” or “The Shuttered Room”. It feels like we’re following on his footsteps, or better yet, like he’s holding our hand while we walk through one of his tales.
Edgar Allan Poe
On the other hand, Edgar Allan Poe is also present in the game in many ways and forms, almost as if we are invoking his spirit. See for instance, the cat puzzle and its sorrowful meow leading us to the wall where a secret lies hidden. Anthony’s obsession with the cat is a reminder of the ill-fated protagonist of “The Black Cat” on the account of how he progressively lost his sanity. Is there a better way to round off this reference than using a crow? Indeed, “The Raven” is one of his most popular poems so we thought it would be interesting to make this continuing puzzle a ritual of sorts, using one iconic reference to merge into the next.
So, what’s up with the crows? Why are they eating one of their own? What’s the reference here? Well, during the game we find a note in which Anthony tells us how he was feeling the contemptuous and censorious gaze of his relatives, from their pictures. Finally, we learn he couldn’t handle it anymore and he decided to remove and store them in one of the rooms. The crow scene somehow represents Anthony’s feeling of guilt towards his family. Originally, the crow in the backyard was meant to be just a dead crow, but in one of our team meetings an interesting idea came up – using a dying crow creates a feeling of uneasiness and discomfort in the player but it also works on a symbolic level. Like the dying animal, Anthony is the key to many secrets and we must hurry up before it’s too late.
When the crows get inside the gramophone room, you may remember the curtains being drawn and the (not so) subtle aesthetic change of the room. This is a clear reference to movie director David Lynch, a master of creating disturbing atmospheres through colour and light. In The Last Door, the curtains give the room that ominous look – red curtains are an iconic staple in some of Lynch’s movies like “Mulholland Drive” or the TV show “Twin Peaks”.
The Carnival of Venice
You may be wondering where in the hell does that terrible music that Devitt finds in the cellar come from. It’s a special version, arranged by Carlos Viola, of “The Carnival of Venice” by Niccolò Paganini. The real piece is known to create a sort of discomfort and restlessness to the listener so Carlos thought it would be the perfect choice. Paganini’s life history is very interesting too. He was accused of madness and of making pacts with the Devil; he eventually ended up in prison. It was a perfect reference for that particular scene and the overall atmosphere of the game.
The grandfather clock
When our protagonist steps inside the main hall for the first time, he remarks the grandfather clock is the only sound he can hear. This detail may seem trivial but it hides a reference and a tribute to the first point-n-click adventure I ever played, Maniac Mansion. There, when you first enter the mansion, there’s a clock ticking. That sound has stuck with me for years so I couldn’t help but include that reference in The Last Door.
The deer head
When I was thinking about adding some decoration to the house, the comedy “Murder by Death” immediately came to my mind, especially that scene where a group of detectives are having dinner and the eyes of a stuffed dear head on the wall begin to move, the host hiding behind it. Despite being a comedy, when I first watched it I was a little kid and many scenes caused me such impression that it remained in my memory for all these years. I thought it would be funny to include a deer head in the game.
The Mona Lisa (La Gioconda)
Remember that crooked painting in the lower floor corridor? Perhaps some of you noticed it during your playthrough, but it is indeed a pixel version of ‘La Gioconda’. That corridor is decorated with landscape paintings and there are no pictures of Anthony or any of his relatives. However, I wanted the crooked painting to stand out, so I thought of creating a pixelated Mona Lisa. Plus, it was the perfect place to hide the maid’s rosary – behind that mischievous smile there’s gotta be a secret, right?
Barrels in the cellar
That was our little tribute to ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’, one of the most terrifying games in recent years. We thought those dark cellar filled with barrels were unforgettable, don’t you think?
And that would be all for now. Don’t hesitate to send us your questions and opinions 🙂
Until next time!