Remothered: Broken Porcelain Interview – Inspiration, Evolution, and Working Through the Bumps
The successor to the hit Clock Tower-inspired survival-horror game Remothered: Tormented Fathers, Remothered: Broken Porcelain (released in October 2020) acts as both a prequel and sequel. Taking the role of the rebellious teenager, Jennifer, players quickly find themselves evading the murderous grasps of the deranged dwellers of the Ashmann Inn. As you scramble to find a way to escape and uncover the mystery behind why the staff are so fixated on pursuing poor Jennifer, you will use any items you come across to keep her assailants at bay, be it bottles, snow globes or kitchen knives. Additionally, closets, lockers and the like will be your new best friends as you shuffle inside to take cover and wait as the killers (hopefully) lose your trail. While the series has been championed for its return to classic survival-horror, some feel letdown by the sequel’s buggy launch. I was able to speak with multiple developers of the Remothered series about this highly anticipated second installment in the series.
SPOILERS BEWARE, as important plot points are discussed!
-First, an introduction of each of the interviewees, as well as each of their roles in the development of Broken Porcelain.
-Hello everyone! I am Chris Darril, Game and Creative Director of the Remothered series and of Darril Arts.
Basically, Remothered is my brainchild. I started thinking about it a long time ago—around 2009—when I was still in school. Then, after several years of experience in the field of video games and cinema— which forged my skills and allowed me to enrich my experience as a team leader—I decided to start my own business and founded Darril Arts, together with three close friends of mine: it all started from there. Subsequently, after I re-wrote and re-designed the whole project, I asked my friends at Stormind Games to join forces, so we partnered and started working on the game. And now the second title, Remothered: Broken Porcelain, is already out!
-Hello! I’m Antonio Cannata, Co-Founder and CEO of Stormind Games.
In 2012, when I met Chris Darril and was introduced to his project, Remothered, I immediately thought that the game had great potential. So in 2016, when I founded Stormind Games together with my business partner Federico, who is also the company’s Art Director, we had no doubt which game to develop first. Today I can confirm it was the right choice!
-Hi all, I’m Antonio Cutrona, Producer at Stormind Games.
I’ve been a member of the Remothered team since the very beginning, working on Tormented Fathers as a game developer and later becoming Producer for Broken Porcelain. I oversaw the development of the game from the start, working closely with Chris Darril and the dev team to create the second title of the Remothered saga, and I loved every second of it!
–Broken Porcelain saw many new gameplay additions that weren’t present in Tormented Fathers, including a more robust item-crafting system, a leveling-up system, and the “Moth Eye” ability. What new additions were you most excited for players to experience?
Cutrona: Each of the new gameplay additions has the scope to make the game experience more enjoyable, so no “favoritisms” here, although I must say that the Moth Eye is actually as bigger feature than the others, and, even if I don’t want to give any spoilers here, it’s also deeply connected to the story of the game.
-The “Moth Eye” ability is unlike anything we’ve seen in the series so far. It’s a huge source of power for the protagonist to fight back against the antagonists. In fact, there is also more of an emphasis on actually fighting back with the addition of boss battle sequences this time around. Was there a reason behind this shift from Tormented Fathers of putting more power in the hands of the player?
Cannata: With Broken Porcelain, we wanted to give users the possibility to experiment with new features and to fight back, widening their options to play, so this is one of the main differences between this new title and Tormented Fathers. Remothered, though, is still a hide and seek game with a strong stealth element, which is definitely one of the main pillars of the saga.
-The relationship between Jennifer and Linn was one of the most compelling aspects of Broken Porcelain for me as a member of the queer community. What was it like exploring a queer relationship in this setting?
Darril: I never focused in particular on the idea of making it a queer relationship. In fact, I just told a love story between two common people. Love is just love, no matter the gender, and so theirs is as well, growing from a friendship that soon turns into something bigger and bigger, a true love story. I’m happy about the result: their pureness shines bright and survives the events’ evilness, and I’m so happy to have given my personal contribution to the queer community’s game stories.
-You’ve previously mentioned inspiration from horror films in the past, such as Rosemary in relation to Clarice (Jodie Foster) from Silence of the Lambs, and Andrea s inspired by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) in Misery. Are there any other references from horror films or horror media in general that inspired in particular for Broken Porcelain as well?
Darril: I’m a cinephile and many movies (not just horror titles) have influenced my work: from Jacob’s Ladder, The Ninth Gate, Rosemary’s Baby, Hereditary, Mulholland, to Psycho, but also La La Land and Cinema Paradiso! Also, more than once, Remothered has been labeled as the successor of the Clock Tower saga, and I’ve always admitted that as it was one of my main inspirations, together with Silent Hill.
-Who were your favorite characters to flesh out and create in Broken Porcelain?
Darril: Of course Rosemary Reed, the red chameleon. She’s enigmatic and, almost until the end of the game, she just looks external to the main events but, as you know, the imminent plot twist changes everything forever. Not just the very events, but also her position in them. She lives with so many guilty feelings, resentment, and sad memories, and she has grown so abrasive due to the bad experiences throughout her life. She has a purpose that, more than anything else of her ambiguous psychology, prevails: finding Celeste Felton, and resorting justice. She made this her reason to live. She’s a lonely creature and she’s never afraid of the nightmares waiting to creep in on her. Her biggest feats, in fact, are being forgotten, and forgetting about her own past forever.
-There has been a lot of discord since the initial release of Broken Porcelain regarding bugs and glitches. I experienced quite a bit during my play through. Was there any specific reasons behind the rather bumpy release?
Cannata: Well, bumpy roads can happen—especially in a period where we had to move everything from our office to our homes and then back to the office, twice in the last few months. What counts is the driver’s ability to face the bumps! In the first month after the release, Stormind Games has deployed over 16 new patches in 30 days. We often joke about the fact that it might be a world record, but no one has actually checked yet!
All jokes aside though, we haven’t stopped working for one second in order to release new patches every one or two days. We’ve fixed almost everything now on Steam and Gog, where you can immediately publish patches, whereas the console versions take a couple of weeks more to be approved and certified by platform holders. We’ve fixed the same issues on every platform and we are still working on the last minor issues to fix because we want to give people the experience they were looking forward to.
We love our players and I think that, as developers, this is the best way to show our respect for them and to solve this situation, which definitely didn’t start the right way when the game was launched.
–Broken Porcelain deals with a lot of heavy subjects, including child abuse, drug abuse and grief. What would you say the main themes of the game are and how they relate to this?
Broken Porcelain is mainly an allegory of human fears as they relate to mankind’s illnesses. No matter if mental or physical, the characters of the game struggle with deep stories that have seen them desperately trying to cover and bury them forever. The drug, the Phenoxyl, the parasite, and the moths are used as a common denominator and help to turn the story into a paradox since we’ll see people struggling with some bad memories that upset their lives forever. In the end, we’re actually living the odyssey of an individual struggling with Alzheimer disease who is given the task of remembering and preserving everything forever, for those who instead forgot.
-A third game in the Remothered series has been speculated so as to complete the series as a trilogy. The ending of Broken Porcelain seems to wrap up Jennifer and Linn’s story arcs. What could we expect to see in the next (and presumably final) installment?
It’s too early to speak about the third installment, which by the way hasn’t been officially announced! Of course, the story and main document design are ready, and maybe we’ll see some beloved comebacks but at the moment, hoping you will understand, it’s definitely too soon to talk about it. Right now we’re only focused on Broken Porcelain!
Speaking to the developers has really reinvigorated my interest in the series and stoked my excitement for the (hypothetical) next title in the series. Self-admittedly, I was included in the crowd of players disappointed in the state of Broken Porcelain upon its release. However, in the year of our lord 2020, hiccups have proven to be inevitable, so I understand things may not have gone according to plan. Furthermore, Broken Porcelain has received many patches to date, so the current version is certainly much more playable!
Remothered: Broken Porcelain was released on October 13th, 2020, and is available on multiple platforms including PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One!