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Daylight on PS4: Designing the Hero

Jessica Chobot's Avatar + Posted by Jessica Chobot on Feb 12, 2014 // Writer, Daylight

With the Daylight launch just around the corner, I wanted to give PlayStation.Blog readers a bit of background on our protagonist, Sarah Gwynn.

The reasons we chose to go with a female main character were twofold. The first reason being that because I was writing the game, she became (in a roundabout way) an extension of myself. I came up with the outline for Daylight based on some urban exploration I did in my high school days. Specifically, a blighted little spot within my small Michigan town by the name of The Sheldon Buildings (officially known as the Wayne County Training School for Feeble Minded Children).

Daylight

The Sheldon Buildings were a dilapidated set of buildings from the early 1900s linked together by a set of underground tunnels running throughout the grounds (they’ve since been torn down). A town within a town, the outer perimeter of the Training School was bricked-in by a 7+ foot tall wall.

Within the gates, the school hosted a hospital center, a gigantic, old-fashioned theater, dorms, an indoor and outdoor pool, its own police and fire stations, as well as other buildings and machinery that would allow it to remain completely self-contained.

Back in the 90s, when I was in high school, I would circle around the back entrance and climb up a hill through the woods to get to a part of the outer wall that had caved-in, giving me access to the area and allowing me to explore to my heart’s content (or, at least, until I had to run out to avoid the cops that constantly patrolled the area trying to catch people trespassing). With Daylight, Sarah is my attempt to recapture that particular moment within my life. When jaunting through an abandoned insane asylum by myself seemed to make total sense.

DaylightDaylight

The second reason for going with a female character was because I wanted to write a game where the main character, although confused and afraid, eventually pulls herself together. Despite all the other-worldly odds against her, she manages to save herself (Or not, depending on how good of a player you are, I suppose!) with nothing more than her wits and strength.

Choosing to go with Sarah was not an instant decision. Nor was it an easy one. My biggest concern with having a female main character was that I might disconnect male players. It helps that Sarah’s voice over is minimal, which also adds to the fear factor and creepiness. Nothing is less scary than being hunted by demon-spawn while someone chit-chats your ear off.

In addition, the player will always play from Sarah’s point of view. Everyone within the studio agreed that keeping the game in first-person would allow for additional immersion so that the player actually forgets that they’re “Sarah” and instead starts to view their adventure into the macabre as a personal one. One that they’re trudging through on their own — regardless of gender or age.

While inspired heavily on my personal experiences, Sarah is not a thinly-veiled, game version of myself. The writing process turned Sarah into a part of me, but definitely not the other way around. We purposefully worked on making sure you can’t see her face in reflective surfaces, mirrors, etc. So players project their own visions of themselves into Sarah and experience the world of Daylight for what it is: a mash-up of abandoned, haunted, and mysterious locations and disasters; tragedies linked together by a storyline that will guide you, willingly or not, towards daylight.

//Add Your Own

48 Comments   10 Replies

1

+ Gorvi on February 12th, 2014 at 9:02 am said:

Is the release really right around the corner? When is this coming. It looks great. :)


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 9:52 am said:

    Not too much longer now!


2

+ SureBigBuster on February 12th, 2014 at 9:03 am said:

Can’t wait to get my hands on this. It looks like the focus on horror games is back. Outlast, Dying Light, Daylight,Evil Within,….keep’em coming!!


3

+ MaDogNik96 on February 12th, 2014 at 9:18 am said:

This game looks sweet. Can’t wait to play it.


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4

+ John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 9:51 am said:

Jessica’s going to try and get in here to field questions soon, but I’m in here answering what I can, FYI :D


5

+ PanTheMan16 on February 12th, 2014 at 10:01 am said:

Daylight sounds very interesting. I’d love to see a trailer or some gameplay footage.

How scary/creepy is this game? I can handle a reasonable amount of creep, but I don’t like games that are super scary. After reading peoples’ reaction to Outlast, I am staying far away from that! lol

Does Daylight have combat and weapons, or is it more about trying to avoid the enmies?


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 10:15 am said:

    Here’s a video of our office staff testing out how scary Daylight is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5Jen0jqzdI&feature=c4-overview&list=UU7hgDFSPvJVIUx_b8i1cILA

    And here’s some gameplay footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSYdvUaOsQs&list=UU7hgDFSPvJVIUx_b8i1cILA&feature=c4-overview

    The point of Daylight is to be scared, but I think Zombie’s done a great job with finding a balance in it. Since it’s procedural, you’ll never know where/when the scares are going to come from, which is really cool. But it doesn’t have any of the splatter or gore that Outlast has. It’s much more eastern-style psychological horror; Think “The Ring” (Ringu) or “The Grudge” (Ju-on).

    In terms of combat/weapons, there aren’t any. Not any traditional ones at least. Sarah can pick up flares and glowsticks. Glowsticks will help reveal secrets in the game, and flares will help keep spirits at bay….for a little while.


6

+ From_Concentrate on February 12th, 2014 at 10:12 am said:

Been looking forward to this for a while now. Might need some new underwear after I get my hands on this.


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 10:16 am said:

    I tried to lock in some co-marketing with Depends, but they have yet to return my emails.

    j/k.

    or am i?


7

+ fededonna2 on February 12th, 2014 at 10:22 am said:

is it going to be free for plus users?


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 11:30 am said:

    I don’t think I can get into specifics just yet, but I believe we’re exploring a deep discount.


8

+ Matieo10 on February 12th, 2014 at 10:26 am said:

“My biggest concern with having a female main character was that I might disconnect male players.”

It’s a sad precedent, especially for someone older, like me, that grew up on 70s and 80s horror films that almost always had a female protagonist or lone survivor. Times, eh.

I read the human angle piece about Miss Chobot on Polygon last year, and that shed some necessary light on her as a writer and gamer, in my opinion.

I know developers don’t like the whole comparisons thing, but this does remind me of Outlast, which I love and am still playing, so it’s a definite check for me atleast.


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 11:31 am said:

    Thanks for the comment!


9

+ OmegaDyne on February 12th, 2014 at 10:40 am said:

@8

Considering the good majority of survival horror titles since the 90s, from Clocktower to Silent Hill to Resident Evil to Amy to Fatal Frame to Alone in the Dark to Parasite Eve to Dino Crisis to Rule of Rose to Kuon to TWD S2 (not to mention DOZENS of fanmade and indie games) have featured a female protagonist I’d say no precedent exists and times haven’t changed.


10

+ anti-altair16 on February 12th, 2014 at 10:43 am said:

I see where you’re going with the whole gender thing but I would have preferred knowing I’m playing as a female character and not forget that she’s there (just to clarify, I’m a guy). You might as well had made an option to play as a male or female if this is what you guys were going to do. Being able to see her reflection and a little bit of dialogue would have been a better idea. Mainly because I can’t stand silent protagonists. But oh well, it’s not my game so I’ll just shutup now. Either way, I’m really looking forward to this game because I just beat Outlast and I NEED more horror games in my life. I hope this game manages to scare the crap out of me and by that, I mean makes me scream, pause the game, cover my face with one hand and say “This game is to stressful… I love it!”.


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 11:33 am said:

    Oh, you hear her voice…she reacts to things in the environment. (ex: “Hello?” “I know you’re out there…” “What the f*@K was that?”)

    Definitely NOT a silent protagonist.

    And yeah, Daylight is NUTS with the amount of tension it builds. :D


11

+ Seluhir on February 12th, 2014 at 10:59 am said:

Looks really impressive… hope you succeed and that you guys someday make a third person game in a similar vein ’cause I’d love to play a game with themes like this.


12

+ stalepie on February 12th, 2014 at 11:00 am said:

Playing as a female character should add some welcome variety, because we just had Outlast on the PS4. I think this game will be good.


13

+ Vcheese on February 12th, 2014 at 11:00 am said:

I just logged in to say hi to Jessica, she is gorgeous and sexy!


14

+ Ayane1989 on February 12th, 2014 at 11:13 am said:

“Choosing to go with Sarah was not an instant decision. Nor was it an easy one. My biggest concern with having a female main character was that I might disconnect male players. It helps that Sarah’s voice over is minimal,”

wow ….that makes me very sad as woman…


15

+ nolo451 on February 12th, 2014 at 11:28 am said:

@OmegaDyne,

seriously, quite a few leads in games have been women and not just in scantily clad attire. I just see the main character as the protagonist, gender does not even come into play when I am enjoying the game.

Its such a shame this was felt needed to be addressed, I wouldn’t have even thought about this, but now its like a forced issue in my head. Can we get with the times and not have to address whether a character is male/female? I don’t see how this is even a big deal. Mountain out of a molehill, looking for a problem when one does not really exist.


16

+ Miadaskate on February 12th, 2014 at 11:34 am said:

Whoa…Chobot writing for Sony? I guess licking those consoles really paid off! Awesome. Looking forward to this one!


17

+ Miadaskate on February 12th, 2014 at 11:36 am said:

Err Zombie Studios I mean…


18

+ SmokeAdellic on February 12th, 2014 at 11:43 am said:

Will it have 3D support?


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 11:47 am said:

    HELL YES IT DOES. Daylight uses RealD3D, which is the same tech they use in theaters. There’s insaaaaaaaaaaaaaaane depth of field on it (source: I spent ~4 hours demoing it in 3D on Monday for Sony peeps).


19

+ snakeeyes211 on February 12th, 2014 at 12:20 pm said:

Yes 3-D
Now it’s a must buy :-)


20

+ tusunami on February 12th, 2014 at 12:22 pm said:

Ah yeah more horror based games this is cool, hopefully at some point I will have a chance to play thes stellar games.


21

+ PanTheMan16 on February 12th, 2014 at 12:50 pm said:

I may just go ahead and buy this, but will there be a demo? Personally, I don’t know why more/all games don’t have demos. “Try before you buy” is good and some developers have verbally embraced it, but maybe Sony doesn’t always allow it? I don’t see why they wouldn’t. Maybe devs/publishers are worried about people Not being interested after demoing?
I vaguely remember, when the PS4 was announced, they said all games would have demos. I know PS4 is still in a barebones state, but hopefully it won’t be too long until that is a reality, if it ever does become one.

Thanks for the previous reply, btw. You actually made me feel more apprehensive telling me it’s going to to be scary, but I’m still interested. :)


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 5:24 pm said:

    I’d LOVE it if we can have a demo; I think we proposed it to Zombie, but I’m not sure if it’s going to be possible. (Daylight was made by ~8 people, so it’s pretty tough)


22

+ anti-altair16 on February 12th, 2014 at 12:54 pm said:

Thanks for the correction John! I vaguely remember some footage of it at E3 so I don’t remember if she talked but that’s good to know that she does. Either way, I’m excited to play this when it releases. I love (I HATE!) me some horror. A good scare is always fun and knowing the game is procedurally generated every time you restart, ooh man. Let’s just say I am a bit to excited to have my heart racing.


23

+ shb23 on February 12th, 2014 at 12:57 pm said:

This looks pretty awesome, there’s a lot to like here, scary, female protagonist, 3D, scary.
Will purchase Day 1 to show my support.


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 5:24 pm said:

    <3


24

+ shb23 on February 12th, 2014 at 1:05 pm said:

Jessica- you come across as nearly apologetic that it’s a female lead. Please, don’t be. If it was an organic, artistic choice that feels innate to the story, it makes no difference if you go male or female.
As long as you didn’t choose female because “boobs”, or to exercise some Tumblr-tier Social Justice Warrior nonsense, have faith that your audience will enjoy it for what it is.
I for one prefer female leads, video games are generally filled with super-human feats, playing as something I’m not (alien, female, robot…or, God willing, an alien robot woman) is actually more immersive.


25

+ KwietStorm on February 12th, 2014 at 1:26 pm said:

Another indie horror game. Another dollar gone from my wallet.


26

+ Figboy on February 12th, 2014 at 1:47 pm said:

I don’t decide what games I play based on character gender. Male, female, alien, I don’t care. I can connect and empathize with anyone! HA!

Really intrigued by this one. I’m looking forward to it!


27

+ AizawaYuuichi on February 12th, 2014 at 1:50 pm said:

Wow… a 3D horror game. I’m not really a fan of scary games and still haven’t gotten around to playing Outlast, but 3D? Really?

Now I’m gonna have to play this, haha.


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    + John Hardin on February 12th, 2014 at 5:25 pm said:

    Yeah, it’s so good. SO GOOD. The Unreal Engine 4 lighting, plus 3D when looking down the long corridor…chilling! The 3D looks fantastic (and is still being improved upon!)


28

+ supvic on February 12th, 2014 at 3:12 pm said:

THANK YOU JOHN! Finally, someone is paying attention. This game is all about being immersed in the environment and experiencing the fear of being there, and what better way to add immersion than 3D support! RealD3D? even better!

With Trine 2 being the ONLY other game on a system that is more than capable of stereoscopic 3D, it’s great to see another dev with some common sense. I was on the fence about this game, but now it’s an absolute day-one buy. I’m voting with my money and this is a vote for 3D.


29

+ westendmatt on February 12th, 2014 at 3:12 pm said:

As a male player, I like to see female characters written by women, as opposed to tarty big boobed wet dream girls. If it helps break up male douchebaggery in games I’m all for it


30

+ inFAMOUS-787 on February 12th, 2014 at 3:25 pm said:

Jessica Chobot, I love you. XD Sooooo stoked for this game.


31

+ IDrinkYourBlood on February 12th, 2014 at 4:02 pm said:

SOLD! Looks like great fun! Can’t get enough Horror games!


32

+ Brink-2-Chaos on February 12th, 2014 at 4:51 pm said:

wayne county im from there :)


33

+ JROD0823 on February 12th, 2014 at 4:52 pm said:

I’m excited to see more about this game closer to its release. Keep up the good work, Jess!


34

+ EJStrat on February 12th, 2014 at 7:25 pm said:

Hey Jessica,

I was wondering whether you’ve done much other writing outside of Daylight, and whether the transition to writing for a video game was a difficult one, or maybe more natural given the nature of Daylight’s story?


35

+ Orionsangel on February 12th, 2014 at 7:44 pm said:

This looks dope!


36

+ MikeyBoy02NY02 on February 12th, 2014 at 7:58 pm said:

LOVING THESE GAMES!!!! KEEP IT UP SONY!!!!


37

+ NickMulder on February 12th, 2014 at 8:55 pm said:

First off, Jessica Chobot is arguably the most attractive woman in the gaming industry lol second off, PLEASE tell me this is coming Tuesday!!!! I need some Daylight with my Outlast ;)


38

+ honkayjeezus on February 13th, 2014 at 8:01 am said:

Wait, Chobot is writing it? Is this a bad joke?


39

+ EatmyShorts984 on February 13th, 2014 at 10:08 am said:

can i do the story for part 2


40

+ S_L_I_C_K–T on February 13th, 2014 at 11:49 am said:

All that supposed power of ps4 and yet this and outlast is all we get? Ps4 is so lame. Xbox one is better and actually has FEATURES that actually work and have been available since launch. Ps4 is a desert wasteland in features or any good games. I don’t care for ps3 ports. Been there done that!


41

+ EatmyShorts984 on February 13th, 2014 at 12:50 pm said:

now that i think about this game looks like a rip off of outlast instead of a camcorder you have a cell phone


42

+ Surfaced on February 13th, 2014 at 3:55 pm said:

Didn’t know Jessica aspired to write….
This is a surprise.


43

+ PooPface560 on February 13th, 2014 at 4:58 pm said:

Ghost in any game is a day one buy for me. Looks very sick.


44

+ Clover904 on February 13th, 2014 at 8:40 pm said:

Yay, Daylight is supporting 3d. Is 3d only supported on the PC, or will it also be in the PS4 version? I believe the only PS4 game currently supporting 3d is Zen Pinball, so Daylight supporting 3d would be a very nice welcome to us PlayStation 3d lovers.


45

+ Folkeye on February 14th, 2014 at 8:08 am said:

I never used to be interested in horror games, but after playing Dead Space 1 for the first time I branched out. Always looking for a good horror/survival game. This one sounds promising, more suspense and less splatter gore? Sounds good to me. Still means I probably won’t play it right before bed!

As for the whole first person male/female thing. It doesn’t matter too much in the end. As long as they don’t prevent me from feeling immersed in the game, its all good (and I’m a woman).

Will be keeping my eye on this one!


46

+ ChainClutch on February 14th, 2014 at 12:19 pm said:

great…another first person view horror game that looks like it should be on the ps3… passss… .. im starting to get a little disappointed in these ps4 titles coming out. so far only metal gear solid in march looks next gen.


47

+ callumnorris12 on February 16th, 2014 at 5:51 am said:

is this game going to be on ps4


48

+ GuymelefX on February 16th, 2014 at 4:10 pm said:

Coming to Europe at the same time???


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