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Horror for Two - Little Nightmares III Interview

We speak to game director Wayne Garland (Supermassive Games) and producer Coralle Fernello (Bandai Namco) about their upcoming horror platformer Little Nightmares III.

Audio transcription

"We're at Gamescom 2023, we're at the Bandai Namco booth and we are in this little space to talk about the little but... I think it's a little but super massive surprise that we got yesterday on stage with Geoff Keighley at the ONL."

"It was really nice for you guys to reveal this, I guess. I think it's the surprise of the show so far, so congratulations on that. So how did it feel to actually reveal the game? And let's talk about the changes in a bit later. I think it's great to see the player reactions to the reveal on the trailer and everything. Everyone is very hyped, I think, and already making theories about the trailer and what is going on here, so love it. What about on the studio side of things? Well, yeah, obviously it's great for us as well."

"I think it's really great for us as a studio to be working on such a well-loved franchise. Little Nightmares, obviously, we're fans too, so I think we're obviously very happy. And as Coralie says, the fan reaction has been nothing short of incredible and I've been up pretty much all night just scrolling through, reading it all, so yeah, it's been really exciting."

"Two main changes, if I'm correct. One is, of course, the change of the studio itself and another one is the gameplay approach, which this time around is co-op.
So first and foremost in terms of the gameplay itself, why did you guys decide to go co-op and, you know, sort of co-op always, which is, you know, you can use an AI character to go along with you or you can play together with another character, with another player, which I guess is the better way to play. So why did you guys decide to go this style? So the co-op was the main, like, the most requested feature from the fans, so it was really important for us to, like, incorporate that and we always came a bit in that direction with LN2, where you were able to play with the AI. So now you can experience the game both in single player with an AI or in online co-op with a friend. Did you eventually consider going full, like, it's gonna be mandatory to play co-op like other games such as It Takes Two, where it's split the screen or whatever, but you always need another player and they even give away the second code of the game for the second player. Did you consider that at any point? Well, the foundations of Little Nightmares is obviously single player and I think it's really important that we don't lose sight of that. So I think while co-op was a kind of a next evolutionary step for the franchise, we do want to make sure that we are not kind of saying that it's co-op only, right? So it's very important for us to say, yes, it's online co-op but it's also single player as well and I think that for a lot of different fans who prefer that sort of experience, so. And of course you guys... Just one thing, however, we do have a friend space, so if you want to play with a friend and you only have one copy of the game, you can still play with them. I didn't know that. So you guys are neither new to the series nor the general, of course, but at Supermassive you guys have been portraying horror in a very different way, in a more cinematic way. But you are kind of familiar to the franchise, of course, with the Definitive Edition or Enhanced Edition. So what can you tell us about these, you know, from the studio point of view, like the way you guys want to treat this franchise from now on? Well, I think that Dark Pictures and the sort of horror games that we make obviously tell very explicit stories, very explicit with the horror. It's very kind of..."

"It's really kind of at the forefront, whereas what Little Nightmares is about is it's really about kind of the implicit narrative, the implicit horror and the storytelling. So all of that comes from the environment, through the sounds, through the actions of the antagonists, all the characters and all that sort of stuff. So I think all of that sort of thing helps really to create this sense of pervasive unease as you kind of traverse through the world of Little Nightmares. I think that was... Obviously we were able to draw on our vast experience with horror, but kind of tune it in a slightly different way for a more Little Nightmares experience. And a little bit of the creepiness and the flavor has changed, too. Is it a different sort of touch that you guys are adding to it?
Yeah, it's all still there. I don't want to go too much into it, but yeah, obviously there is... I think through the demo that you played and through the trailer, you can see a lot of the horror elements coming through. You've got the giant monster baby, for example. You have the dwellers. There is a story to be told there, but again, as I say, it's told really through the environment. And I think it allows the fans to really kind of pick at those and kind of really discover the kind of the horror underneath, if that makes sense."

"I think there is something that is really great for Little Nightmares that the world is so big. Like, we revealed the podcast where it's taking place in the country, so it's the real world, but we also have the nowhere, which is the place where the games are taking place. And that's more like the nightmarish place. And I think that's a good thing, because I think it allows Supermassive Games to have space to create their own place in that environment. So it's the spiral here. And so, yeah, I think that's a good thing."

"Anything else that you would like to add in terms of switching the studio in terms of the main entry of Little Nightmares and the reasoning behind going Supermassive this time around?
Well, Supermassive Games already worked with us on Newton MMS 2NS Edition. So, yeah, I really think it was the right fit also because we are really passionate about the franchise. So we already have the experience and the passion, so I think that's all we needed."

"Okay. And we've seen Lo and Alon performing some actions together, but of course it's just a tease because it's an early version and we weren't spoiled so much so far. So we've seen like basic actions with the bow and arrow, the range, the way you can jump together on a hat, etc. But what can you tell us about how these puzzles will evolve during the progression of the story and the things that we can expect them to do together?
So it is the first chapter of the game, so, yeah, indeed it is also like incorporated the tutorial phase and everything that you have seen. But, yeah, the idea is that we have several chapters which are each with a unique main enemy, unique smaller enemies as well, and unique story. And we want to make sure that in each chapter the two players will have different ways and we are renewing the gameplay to make sure that it's always like good to play for each player."

"Yeah, and of course as you saw as well we also have not just the tools that the characters use like the bow and the wrench, but we also have other interactions as well like the umbrella for example that create more interesting kind of moment-to-moment gameplay. So it's not always just about the tools. But of course as you go through the game the cadence of the puzzles will become more advanced and more challenging to complete. So that will be the kind of the natural progression as you go through that. But, yeah, so what you saw is the kind of the the early stages of getting used to the tools that you use."

"Now that we mentioned the story, it's also a tease of it. So we've got the spiral, we've got these catacombs, we've got the overarching nowhere world, and at the end of the demo they wake up in an asylum-like place which is horrible. So they are not safely at home. So perhaps the nightmare continues in their real life and they are surrounded by this black smoke. What can you tell us about that? Not much, unfortunately. Yeah, we don't want to spoil the player right now, so you will have to discover it later."

"Does it in any way connect to the previous entries? So, this is a brand new story and you will be, like, if you have played Detonators 1 or 2, you will be able to see some links and some secrets, but if you didn't, it's okay as well. You can experience each game separately. I think engaged fans of the franchise will probably be able to pick up some elements of the previous games, for example, some hints at some sort of storytelling, all that sort of stuff that will kind of connect. But, yeah, that's probably as far as we'll say right now."

"Alright, anything else that you would like fans to know about Little Nightmares 3 that wasn't explained or revealed yesterday that they might be looking forward to? Well, first, I hope that they really like our two new characters, like we love them and I hope they will become iconic and also I can't wait to see them playing the game in 2024. Yeah, exactly that. We're super excited, really stoked to play the game. As Agata said, we're big fans ourselves, so it's great to see the reaction. Again, I won't spoil anything, but I'm hoping that people will like what they see. Little Nightmares 3 is releasing in 2024. We don't have a specific window at all, but it will release on PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch and PC on digital. And there is this monster baby here at Gamescom this year at the show floor that I'm not so sure I'm gonna visit. Thank you so much for your time, guys."

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