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Neverending Nightmares Creeps Onto PS4 May 3

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Neverending Nightmares Creeps Onto PS4 May 3
18 Author Replies

Hello, PlayStation fans! We’re pleased to announce that our psychological horror game Neverending Nightmares will hit PlayStation store for PS4 and PS Vita (with cross buy support) on May 3 for $14.99. To reward the most loyal PlayStation gamers, we’re offering a 20% off discount to PlayStation Plus members for the first two weeks after launch.

Neverending Nightmares is a psychological horror game that draws on my struggles and experiences of dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. Through eliciting feelings of darkness and despair and drawing on strong metaphorical undertones, I’m seeking to express my feelings of struggling with mental illness through the game.

Neverending Nightmares, PS4 and PS Vita

You play as Thomas, who wakes up from a terrible, violent nightmare only to discover that he is still in an inception-style nightmare. Throughout the game Thomas has to continue to explore horrifying nightmares filled with his darkest demons and fears only to finally wake up in reality.

While the story isn’t autobiographical, the feelings in the game very much are. Everything in the game was designed to recreate the feelings and thoughts I experienced at my darkest point in my mental health struggles. We are expressing this through all elements of the game including the game’s story, the environments, art style, and soundscapes.

The stylized impressionistic black and white art style influenced by Edward Gorey creates a bleak, dark, dramatic atmosphere and emphasizes the feelings of hopelessness. We used animated pen shading lines constantly animating towards you, designed to make you feel as if the world is closing in — a feeling often associated with mental illness. The haunting dark ambient score amplifies the tension as you explore progressively worse nightmare-scapes as the game progresses.

In the game, Thomas is completely defenseless and unable to find a solution or a way out. He has asthma, so when trying to evade the hellish apparitions, he can’t flee for very long without having to catch his breath, giving the monsters time to catch up. In most games, there’s a huge emphasis on feeling empowered or defeating something, but when I was dealing with the worst of my mental illness, I felt completely powerless, which is something we seek to convey and explore in the game.

When you reach the end of the game, you “wake up” into reality. Featuring a branching narrative, there are three completely different realities you can wake up into that redefine the character relationships and the meanings of the nightmares you have throughout the game. The endings are contradictory and are designed to still feel like an extension of the dreamlike state where the entire game takes place.

People often ask me which is the “good” ending. I would argue that none are. Neverending Nightmares doesn’t have an emphasis on winning or losing. This is not a game you can win, just like you can’t “beat” mental illness. It’s an ongoing struggle, and I wanted the game to represent that.

Neverending Nightmares, PS4 and PS Vita

Unlike horror games designed to create fear through jump scares, Neverending Nightmares is meant to have a creepy unnerving atmosphere and disturbing events that get under your skin and haunt you long after you finish the game. Part of the reason that I was able to make it so disturbing was that because of OCD, I struggle with intrusive thoughts of violent self-harm. They are horrible images that are sick, wrong, and incredibly hard to shake. I worked with the team to translate these images into the game, and they are absolutely horrifying nightmare fuel.

One of our goals in making the game was to connect with others suffering from mental illness and help them realize that they’re not alone. The feeling of mental illness is often one of isolation and fear. We wanted to create a game to resonate with people who also suffer and give them an outlet for self-expression as well.

Neverending Nightmares is an extremely personal and uncompromising game. It definitely isn’t the type of game that you’d see a big company making, but even when I first started working on it, the people at PlayStation rallied behind the idea and worked to bring it to PS4 and PS Vita.

I’m so happy that it will finally be released on May 3, so you can play it and share in these experiences with me. I have to thank everyone at Sony Interactive Entertainment who helped me bring my nightmares to you.

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40 Comments

18 Author Replies

  • Excited for this game. When I first saw screen shots last year, I thought it looked neat, but not scary. When I watched a gaming site play it, however, I realized how creepy it really was. I can’t wait to play through this. Congrats on the PS release!

  • JamonSerranoSky

    Awesome, the game looks cool! Any word on the trophies? Will it have a platinum?

    • Matt Gilgenbach

      Thanks for your interest in Neverending Nightmares! We have 3 gold trophies and a silver trophy. Unfortunately, we do not support a platinum trophy.

  • Very excited to grab it for Vita! I played an early version of the game on Ouya and really enjoyed what I saw! Good luck with your launch!

  • This looks fantastic! T is for Thomas who…

  • Was already planning to get this day 1. Great to hear that the Vita version will be released on the same day with cross-buy AND a 20% discount. Can’t wait :)

    • Matt Gilgenbach

      Thank you for your support! I can’t wait to get it out there in the hands of PlayStation gamers! :)

  • Edward Gorey is comically macabre, but this game sounds downright dark.

    • Matt Gilgenbach

      We definitely went in a much darker direction than Edward Gorey. While all the violence in Edward Gorey’s work happens out of frame, we have some really sick and twisted gore in Neverending Nightmares.

  • DunningKrugerMD

    I commend you for making a game dealing with such important subject matter. Also for Vita support!

    • Matt Gilgenbach

      Thank you so much! We are huge Vita fans, so we are happy to bring a game to the platform. :)

  • Yes! This game and The Park both come out on the 3rd and both are horror games. I’m getting a double dose!

    So looking forward to this. I have a question though. Will you be allowing let’s plays? And if so will those Let’s Plays be allowed to be monetized?

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      Let’s Plays are encouraged and feel free to monetize them! I hope you enjoy the game!

  • Thank you for listing a price in advance….so many don’t do this. Glad also the game will be on the Vita.

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      We are happy to support Vita. I am surprised more people don’t announce a price in advance…

  • So, why no platinum? Thats important for many gamers and a lot of times dictates whether one buys a game or not.

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      We focused on immersion, so we wanted to avoid trophy pop ups during gameplay. Because of this decision, it limits what we can do with trophies. Three are awarded at the end credits (for the 3 different endings) and the final silver trophy is awarded when you unlock all the paths, which happens after you’ve already beaten the game. I’m sorry if that affects whether you want to purchase the game, but we feel that we made the right decision for what we were trying to express. If it makes a difference, the trophies are all easy to get. :)

    • Thanks for the honest reply. Ive read other devs give the same explanation for why they opt to stay away from trophies/pop ups. Ill still buy your game because I want to support you guys for putting it out on the Vita. However, I think there is some way to delay trophy pop ups,

      http://kotaku.com/5426839/heavy-rain-to-introduce-delayed-trophies-solve-common-achievement-problem

      Might be worth looking into for future projects. Thanks for keeping the gamers and he mood in mind though, it really is appreciated.

  • Hell of a day for games! Will definitely be picking this up alongside Battleborn. Thanks for bringing this over to PS4, Matt!

  • Definitely not for me, this dark theme is not what I want from the few moments I have to spare for gaming… BUT I do want to thank you for developing the game on the Vita!! I sincerely hope sales exceed your expectations just for having considered Vita, good luck!

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      That is super nice. Thank you! I’m glad to hear that there are people so passionate about Vita out there. Hopefully many of them will pick up Neverending Nightmares! :)

  • Sweet. Looking forward to finally playing this. The dev always seems like a creative dude.

    Will be buying day 1 since it’s a Vita release.

  • Hi Matt,

    Massive fan of Retro/Grade, which was an amazing piece of work that really reflected how much care and attention you lavished on it.

    I’ll be picking this up both on the strength of your previous work and also the art style / concept of this game. Games featuring or about mental illness are really great ways to provide an insight to those who are not directly affected by it.

    Lastly, thanks so much for supporting Vita!

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      My pleasure! Thank you for your continued support. There aren’t that many Retro/Grade fans out there! :)

  • Holy Crap! The art looks like the drawings for these John Bellairs books I used to read as a kid! Amazing!

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      The art for his books was done by Edward Gorey, who was the main influence for the art in our game. :)

  • pablikenemy79

    Thanks for supporting Vita !

  • I am so very excited to finally get to play this! As someone who deals with the very same mental afflictions with which this game deals, I am incredibly curious to see your as presented in a game perspective. Beyond that, the Edward Gorey-style art direction would have sold me regardless of the rest of the game’s content.

    Also really happy to see it comes out before Uncharted, so I’ll actually get to give it the time I feel it deserves.

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      I am always glad to hear those with mental illness are interested in the game. While I think there is a wide audience that will enjoy Neverending Nightmares, I think people who have battled the demons of OCD/depression get the most out of it.

  • This looks really intriguing! I applaud you too on translating your own personal struggles in to an interactive medium for us gamers; I can only imagine how difficult it is to share those inner-most thoughts and private thoughts and occurrences so intimately with others so they can be dissected and analysed. For that alone I will likely purchase this (but the PS+ discount helps!, haha)

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      It was definitely a challenge. Since the story itself isn’t autobiographical, I was able to hide a little behind the mystery and metaphors of the game, which I think helps me feel a little less exposed. There have definitely been some interesting challenges when speaking to people about what exactly is autobiographical. My sister played the game, and Thomas (the player character) has a sister who plays a significant role, so that created some awkward conversations. hahaha

  • Have it on PC, I’ve only played a little bit so far but its great what I’ve played. I definitely recommend it.

  • Another huge fan of Retro/Grade, which had fantastic little art details, a phenomenal soundtrack, and really fun gameplay (both guitar and DualShock controls were wickedly great)! I’d love to see it come to PS4 and/or Vita — who has the publishing rights?

    I first saw this game at PAX a few years ago and asked about PlayStation possibilities then. I’m so excited its coming to both platforms!

    Can you talk about your underlying engine/tech and some of the tricks you used to bring it to Vita?

    Will the PS4 version have 24-bit FLAC audio assets?

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      We have the publishing rights for Retro/Grade. The problem is that we built a ton of technology to squeeze every ounce out of the PlayStation 3, so porting it is a lot of work. Since it was actually a financial failure, I can’t justify the time/money to bring it out anywhere else. :( I’d love to see it enjoyed and would hope it could find another audience elsewhere, but it is just too much of a risk.

      We are using our own engine that was originally based on OpenGL ES 2.0. The static backgrounds are just images, but anything with animation is a 2D polygon mesh that we use a proprietary system that works like morph targets to bring it to life.

      I’m not sure how much I can talk about the specifics of Vita because of NDAs, but we designed around the hardware and rearchitected things to make sure it runs at 60 fps. :)

      We aren’t using 24-bit audio because the composer only authored in 16 bit. We designed the audio for the game very carefully, so I promise you won’t be disappointed despite it being 16 bit. :)

  • ardwinna_mel77

    Oooh this has an Edward Gorey artistic look! Is this a point and click kind of game, or will the characters be more interactive?

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      To some extent, it is more of a “walking simulator” style game than a classic adventure. There are few puzzles, and the game mostly focuses on presenting an experience. There is more gameplay and challenge than what most people categorize as a walking simulator, but we wanted to focus on dis-empowering the player and taking away control, which is why I think “walking simulator” sort of fits. (I don’t use that term negatively. I think there are amazing games that people categorize as walking simulators)

  • Im quite excited for this title! Looks amazing! :)

  • saw some pc gameplay. I am eager to get a hold of this title.
    I suffer from adhd and bipolar so I know depression as well as highs. I can only imagine what feelings I will share with you when I play.

  • i’d love to learn how to ean more in my life

  • Pirate_Kitty

    As someone with mental illness (bipolar disorder), I appreciate this so freaking much. I can’t wait to see it.

  • mrcooldrummer

    Congrats!! I use to watch videos of this game when it was first released on PC so I’m really looking forward to finally playing this.

  • I am so excited my it making my clit quiver with excitement!

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      I can safely say that is the first time I’ve ever heard someone say that. hehehe

  • As someone who has struggled with depression and suicide, I want to feature this game on my gaming channel. Beyond the deeper meaning, this game looks stunning and I cannot wait to play it!

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      I’m really glad to hear it. I hope the game connects with you. I definitely think that it is more powerful for those who have struggled with mental illness. I also love to hear that people will feature the game on their channel. Thank you for helping spread the word!

  • Neuromantix42

    I am a long time member of the Black Dog club and I am very interested in the experience this game offers.

    Please tell me that it will be available in Australia. Pretty please.

    • Matt Gilgenbach
      Matt Gilgenbach

      It definitely available in Australia and all the SIEE territories except Russia. I hope you enjoy the game!

  • Huxer_than_hux

    Will this game be available to download from the PS store in the UK? Would love to buy it!

  • i haven’t seen it in the ps store of HK. May be needed sometime or not?

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