Oct 31

The Dark Inspirations of Contrast on PS4

Sam Abbott's Avatar Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 // Community and PR Manager, Compulsion Games

Contrast, 03

Why hello there, Playstation.Blog readers. We hope you’re sitting comfortably. If you’re not, please do — grab yourself a tumbler, take a load off. Tonight, we’re taking you way back to the 1920’s, to a time where jazz was king and the world was getting back on its feet after a devastating war. It was a world of class, depression, and the working stiff. A time where suits weren’t just what you wore to a job interview, and evening dresses fit women like gloves.

Welcome, to Contrast. I want to ask you a quick question before we start: when you were a kid, did you ever wish you could become your shadow?

Contrast is… unique. Set in a film noir inspired “dreamscape,” the world of Contrast is centered around a little girl named Didi. Didi lives alone with her mother, Kat — a cabaret singer at the biggest show in town. Her father abandoned the family a little while back, which left them in real trouble.

In Contrast, you play an imaginary friend, Dawn. We were inspired by Pan’s Labyrinth, where the main character is a little girl who invents an imaginary friend to deal with some very troubling times. Dawn has a very special power — and this is what sets Contrast apart from anything you’ve ever played. As Dawn, you will run around in 3D, but you can also shift into your shadow and run around in 2D by platforming on the other shadows. You swap in and out at will — once you run up to a lit wall, you can choose when to be in or out of shadow.

Contrast, 02

Contrast is about using your shadow shifting ability to solve puzzles — it’s a bit like Portal, except that it’s third person, and instead of creating portals, you can jump on shadows. It’s a puzzle platformer, in that you have to platform to solve a bunch of puzzles throughout our world.

The aim of Contrast is to help Didi explore why her family is so messed up. She’s a nine year-old girl so, of course, all she wants to do is get her family back together. However, while you travel through the world with Dawn and Didi, you’ll realise that Contrast is also a story about fatherhood and parents, and about how a little girl perceives adult relationships and situations.

Contrast, 01

We designed the world around our shifting mechanic — we wanted everything to be related in some way to shadow. Film noir traditionally uses shadows heavily to tell stories. We loved that idea, so all of our cutscenes/narrative sections are told using shadows, and you only ever see Dawn and Didi in 3D.

We were also inspired by a number of different artistic styles, the chief among them being German Expressionism. The slightly warped, unnerving feeling that type of art evokes helped us create a sense of foreboding — as it should, when you realize that there’s a little girl, alone, in a bunch of places that she shouldn’t be. We also loved Tim Burton’s ethereal characters — long limbed and all sharp angles.

Contrast is also a world full of performances. We have a circus, a pirate ship, and a lighthouse — areas that would have loomed pretty large in a kid’s eyes back then. We have cabaret, theatre illusions, and a soundtrack to match, created specifically for Contrast.

So that’s a wee snapshot into the world of Contrast — for more information, come check out our official website. Contrast will launch alongside PS4 for $14.99, and will head to PS3 on November 19th.

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35 Comments   2 Replies


+ thebgj on October 31st, 2013 at 9:06 am said:

looks good


+ ruffneckc on October 31st, 2013 at 9:19 am said:

I am liking what I’m seeing here. Will this be a part of PS+ as well?

    Sam Abbott's Avatar


    + Sam Abbott on October 31st, 2013 at 9:42 am said:

    Yes – it’s free for PS4 owners on PS+ at launch.


+ KHUSTLA on October 31st, 2013 at 9:25 am said:

Looks like it will be great.. I love the art style, will it run in 1080p 60ps?


+ lisatsunami on October 31st, 2013 at 9:35 am said:

I’m not good at platformers so my first reaction is to pass on this, sorry.

    Sam Abbott's Avatar


    + Sam Abbott on October 31st, 2013 at 9:46 am said:

    Well, that’s totally up to you!

    But, fyi, the game is more about solving environmental puzzles, like in Portal, than it is about platforming (although platforming is part of the puzzles). This isn’t a meat grinder where you die a million times a second – it’s a chocolate cake – and is pretty approachable.

    I suggest you take a look at a Let’s Play after release. The first 30 minutes is enough to show you what the game is about, and can help you decide whether or not to play it.


+ TigerStealth on October 31st, 2013 at 9:39 am said:

Really excited for this! I hope the developers get compensated for having this be free in ps plus. I was going to gladly buy it. Hopefully they get a flat fee or something from Sony to cover missed revenue


+ Elvick_ on October 31st, 2013 at 9:51 am said:

I wish the animation was a little smoother, looks stiff.

Otherwise, I think the game looks awesome and was planning on buying it, but getting it with PS+ is even better. So yay.


+ Katriona on October 31st, 2013 at 9:51 am said:

This looks gorgeous! I can’t wait to play this on my PS4.


+ etscott on October 31st, 2013 at 9:53 am said:

Really excited about this one.


+ soundandvision77 on October 31st, 2013 at 9:58 am said:

This looks great and I’m really excited to get it on PS Plus.

I also think it’s refreshing for you to be open about your influences for the game such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Portal and Tim Burton. It’s cool to see a developer use these types of styles or themes and use their own take on them for the game.



+ lisatsunami on October 31st, 2013 at 10:32 am said:

@Sam Abbott, thanks for your reply. I’ll take your advice. I loved Portal 2 because it was a creative, humorous, challenging puzzler with no platforming that I can remember.

I’ll try it on my PS4.


+ Gorvi on October 31st, 2013 at 10:40 am said:

I’m really looking forward to this, I was going to buy it anyway so to get it with Plus is a nice bonus. :) I love the art.


+ Sharingan_itachi on October 31st, 2013 at 10:48 am said:

This looks like a difficult game to play around with it, switching to shadow and 3d between for puzzles?


+ tusunami on October 31st, 2013 at 11:55 am said:

This is a most excellent replacement for drive club!!!


+ Welmosca on October 31st, 2013 at 11:56 am said:

Oh man this game looks so incredible and interesting…great artwork and very good concept…was about to say this “what a shame this is for PS4 only”….but then I read this..”and will head to PS3 on November 19th.”….thank you so much….you have a buyer right here.


+ kmetek on October 31st, 2013 at 12:03 pm said:

this not for PS3 ever?


+ BrianMcGuinness on October 31st, 2013 at 12:06 pm said:

Looks great. I see a little Echochrome influence in this maybe? Very cool. And kudos for the PS+.


+ Ryumoau on October 31st, 2013 at 1:02 pm said:

i still would have rather had Drive Club replaced with Knack.


+ ReverendSID on October 31st, 2013 at 1:15 pm said:

This game looks great. I love the concept and the art style. I was already planning on this being one of my first purchases when I get a PS4, but it’s very cool to see it as a Plus offer.


+ plaztiksyke on October 31st, 2013 at 1:59 pm said:

Been looking forward to this since I saw it at PAX. Love the character design and the gameplay was really cool. it did remind me of Echochrome insofar as I got the same “wow, I’ve never quite seen anything like this” factor.

Can you confirm 1080p native rendering on PS4? any plans for 3D support? are the audio assets on PS4 24-bit and/or losslessly compressed?


+ HeavyToka on October 31st, 2013 at 2:00 pm said:

This game looks fantastic! I almost wish it wasn’t free so I could pay for it and help support the developer.


+ guitarded77 on October 31st, 2013 at 3:10 pm said:

Can’t wait to play it. While it doesn’t look like a pixel pusher, the art style is fantastic.

Whitney Clayton is easy on the eyes. (creepy voice)


+ luvmyR6 on October 31st, 2013 at 4:00 pm said:

@ Ryumonaer,

pulling this *** again? Really?

This is a spot for the games makers to field questions and talk about their game, do you really need to post just to say that you preferred DriveClub over Knack (Which have NOTHING to do with this post)?

I cannot wait until they implement a feature to hide posts that are so moronic and stupid, so your posts can automatically be hidden because they are downvoted so much(at least I hope they eventually implement something like that ala Reddit).

@ Mr. Abbot, please don’t pay attention to this fool, he the known troll(AKA dunce) around here and just likes to post the dumbest things relevant to the topic or not, essentially fulfilling his role of an internet troll.

Game looks great and I strongly prefer it to a racing game (which will eventually be free), but still its a fresh of breath air and I will download this asap after the PS4 update is done.

@Lisastunami, how do platformers seem difficult/not good to you? IMO, they are the easiest type of video games to get into they all seem pretty straightforward to me.


+ JROD0823 on October 31st, 2013 at 4:14 pm said:

This game looks very cool.

I look forward to downloading this game and trying it in a couple short weeks. :)


+ Hayterfan on October 31st, 2013 at 4:56 pm said:

Looks like Portal mixed with Lost in Shadow, and that makes be happy


+ meygaera on October 31st, 2013 at 7:16 pm said:

When will this be available on vita?


+ PrimeroIncognito on October 31st, 2013 at 9:56 pm said:

Mmm… Looks unique. Music sounds great too. I love unique settings/eras that you don’t see often in games, specifically older eras (20s, 30s, 40s) like L.A. Noire did, and even the Champion Pub pinball table…

I probably won’t be getting a PS4 right away (I’ve never been an early adopter), but I’ll surely check this game out when I do finally get one.


+ PrimeroIncognito on October 31st, 2013 at 9:58 pm said:

+ Ryumoau on October 31st, 2013 at 1:02 pm said: “i still would have rather had Drive Club replaced with Knack.”

I wish we could replace YOU.


+ Elvick_ on November 1st, 2013 at 3:09 am said:

@17: Yes, they were going to replace a freemium version of Drive Club with a full retail game. NOPE! The derp that spills from your finger tips reaches new lows every time I see you making a comment.


+ chavez1138 on November 1st, 2013 at 9:26 am said:

to me it looks way better than drive club…


+ XenoNative on November 1st, 2013 at 12:45 pm said:

Loving the art…can I borrow one for my art class; I have a project due next week.


+ EvoAnubis on November 2nd, 2013 at 10:41 am said:

To me, losing Drive Club and getting it replaced with this was the winning move. Can’t wait to get my hands on this game – I’m really impressed by the concept and the art style, and it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun!


+ Rezolution77 on November 2nd, 2013 at 11:51 am said:

Looks like the storyline and attention to character is there.
Gameplay may be a little lacking though.

*Personally, a little tired of the father abandoning the mom and child story though. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact she is a Cabaret singer though, would it?*

Anyway, it will be free this month on Plus, so will definitely be trying this out at some point.


+ Rezolution77 on November 2nd, 2013 at 11:59 am said:

As for lisatsunami , and Ryumoau .

Those are THEIR opinions, just because you do not like it, does not mean you should feel the need to address them or ridicule them.

If you were defending against what they have to say, at least give a good reason as to why.

“Sorry, just trying to stop the Crybabies, crying about who they deemed as a crybaby”


+ PrimeroIncognito on November 2nd, 2013 at 9:10 pm said:

@ Rezolution77

I guess you’re the new blog nanny…

I have no problem with Lisa, in fact, I like her. She’s clearly intelligent, friendly, and never shoots herself in the foot with moronic contradictory posts unlike the other person you mentioned…

And as for Ryumoaner, oh believe me, we have all given numerous good reasons as to why his comments are almost always completely unnecessary. But I guess you only see what you want to see…

As far as your comment on the gameplay in Contrast is concerned, well, any opinion on the matter in an uneducated opinion, and therefore ridiculous, because gameplay is something you can’t get a feel for until you actually play the game, which I doubt you’ve done. You must not know what the word “gameplay” refers to if you think you can measure it by observing a pre-release trailer…

(By the way, you can’t fool smart people by pretending to be smart yourself. We see right through you, phony.)


+ RewVitalize on November 5th, 2013 at 5:09 pm said:

Might get on day one. Will there be a demo to help me decide that?
I think it’ll be a nice early indie title.

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