When it comes to horror literature, I like to think my tastes are fairly varied. I love the gothic terrors of Poe, the home-grown horror of King, and the bloodsoaked bites of Barker. But if you put a gun to my head and asked me to name a favorite, I wouldn’t even hesitate. Because above all else, I love me some H.P. Lovecraft. From the tiniest rats in the walls to the grand dreams of Azathoth, I’m interested in just about anything that has the master of horror’s name attached. So, of course, as soon as I was aware that there was an upcoming title called Chronicle of Innsmouth that married the horrors of Lovecraft with the gameplay of a vintage point-and-click, I was all over it like Herbert West to corpses. I managed to get in touch with developer Umberto Parisi to discuss inspirations, cosmic terrors, and of course, the little port town known as Innsmouth.
TechRaptor: What prompted you to make Chronicle of Innsmouth?
Umberto: We are big fans of old adventure games especially, the Lucasarts ones, and of course, Lovecraft. So when we decided to make a game, the choice was obvious.
TechRaptor: Is Chronicle of Innsmouth adapting any specific Lovecraft story, or is it an original tale?
Umberto: It’s inspired directly by Shadow over Innsmouth, that was perfect just as it is for an adventure game. However, we made some additions to the story and a few changes to make it more interesting as a game and to create a background for a possible sequel.
TechRaptor: A possible sequel?
Umberto: We have an entire plot for a sequel, but it all depends on Chronicle‘s feedback.
TechRaptor: I’ve written in the past about the challenges visual media faces when it comes to adapting Lovecraft, especially the mind-bending, incomprehensible horrors. How do you plan to tackle things beyond human imagination?
Umberto: Great question! First of all we focused on the mood of the city and inhabitants with it. I think that our choice is on this tale also because the description are greatly detailed and there’s less lurking horrors than other works. The real main character here is Innsmouth itself.
TechRaptor: Glad you mention that, because I gotta ask, how did you go about creating Innsmouth for the game?
Umberto: First of all we made an overview map with all the locations that seemed important. Then, we decided to make some void alley to give the sense of desolation that the city deserves. After that the most important things was the palette we made almost all with green shader, so it was in our minds. The city itself was build from scratch without photos aids, except for the waterfall, which I made like I imagined it when I was a child.
TechRaptor: Obviously, a Lovecraft game needs a good amount of horror. How did you go about constructing the scares?
Umberto: That was the challenge because we worked on two paths. One that leads to the typical Lucasarts grotesque comedy, and the other to Lovecraftian psychological horror and cosmic terror. The game gradually shifts from lighter situations to heavy and desperate. First of all, we split the main character in two, one from the present (of the game of course) and one from the past. They are very different – one is a stupid young man, and the other an old detective. Dialogue, music, and sound effects make the rest. And some action gameplay, too.
TechRaptor: What will this action gameplay entail?
Umberto: I don’t want to spoil, but the gillman house scene is the main one. A little hint for those who know Lovecraft, you can read the novel to have an idea.
TechRaptor: And finally, what is it that draws you to the works and world of H.P. Lovecraft?
Umberto: Metallica above all that drove me to read all his stories. Later, I played the pen and paper RPG and watched many of the movies (I even took a puzzle from Dagon for the game), and I fell in love with him. I like the way he treats the human fears and the mythology created by him is simply astounding, effecting all authors from the last century until today in all fields.
TechRaptor: Thank you for your time.
Umberto: Thanks for the opportunity, and we hope that you will enjoy Chronicle of Innsmouth.
NOTE: This interview was edited for grammatical purposes with the permission of the interviewee.