We know you have questions about the making of the Goosebumps HorrorLand Video Game, so here are some answers! In this final InkSplot 26 entry about the game, we’re giving you Splotters an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what went into creating the game. For this insight, I went straight to the source! I sat down and got the scoop from Sam, Senior Producer for the Goosebumps HorrorLand video game:
The game features a unique Goosebumps story, and it’s your job as the player to earn frights to unlock the five areas in HorrorLand to move this story forward. How did the team come up with the brand new plotline?
Well, the story of HorrorLand has been told in a lot of places over
the years, and we looked at all of them. There was R. L. Stine’s
classic book One Day at HorrorLand, and also the sequel, Return to
HorrorLand. In addition, there was an episode of the TV show based on
the original book. And of course, there was Stine’s terrific new
HorrorLand series, which was only partly written at the time we were
developing the game.
We took inspiration from all of these, but in the end decided
to tell our own story, with our own twists and turns. The game starts
with the idea that one of the Horrors (my favorite characters from the
books) decides to start a brand new HorrorLand, kind of like making
Disney World when there was already a Disneyland. Without any human
supervision, this new park could be scarier, deadlier, and crazier than
ever, with no exit and a total disregard for safety.
As the Splotters learned from last week’s blog entry,
each area of HorrorLand has its own theme with different characters,
rides, and attractions. What inspired some of these cool ideas?
When designing the game, we started with the idea, ‘What if we
were making a real horror-themed amusement park? What would we
definitely want to see?’ We tried to hit all of the Horror staples:
vampires, mummies, swamp monsters, evil robots, scary clowns.
For the rides and attractions, we started
with things you might find in a “normal” amusement park, but with a
fiendish twist. So we have a Batting Cage, but it features live bats. Instead of Bumper Cars we have Bumper Carnage, which has a giant pit in the middle of the arena and where the drivers are really trying to destroy each other. The Calamity Canyon
ride was inspired by the Cyclone at Coney Island, which if you’ve ever
seen it, looks like it’s about to fall apart. I’m sure the Cyclone is
entirely safe, but our ride really is falling apart. In fact, the
announcer tells you so at the beginning of the ride, and your job is to
dodge missing tracks and duck under collapsing overpasses.
For the looks of the
park and the monsters, we tried to draw on classic horror sources for
our inspiration. The vampires, for instance, are loosely based on
Nosferatu from the old movies, sort of halfway between creatures and
people. These are a lot scarier than the “Count Chocula” style of
vampires, who are basically guys with pale skin in capes.
Early Vampire Concept
|Revised Vampire Sketch||Final Vampire|
It took over a year to develop
Goosebumps HorrorLand, and before even starting to build the game, two
months were spent on the “Concept Phase.” What did you do during this
This time was spent writing the script, coming up with game
ideas, and making sketches of areas and characters. Lots of game ideas
ended up in the scrap heap . . . like there was going to be a reverse
“Whac-a-Mole” game where you stick your head up through a hole and a
giant animatronic mole tries to hit you with a hammer. Our tentative
name for it was “Whac-a-You.”
Making video games seems hard! So what did you think was
the most challenging part of creating the Goosebumps HorrorLand video
game? Was it designing the Horrors? Was it writing the script?
The hardest part of developing the story was getting the unique
narrative elements from the Goosebumps books into a game. If you’ve
read a Goosebumps book, you know that every chapter ends with a shock
or a cliffhanger: “I opened my closet door and a monster jumped out,
ready to devour me” — that kind of thing. A lot of times the monster
just turns out to be your dog, but it’s still scary and it makes you
want to start the next chapter right away. We wanted to get that same
energy into the game and did it with some of the “cut scenes,” which
are breaks in the gameplay of a video game — sort of like mini-movies
used to advance the plot. In Goosebumps HorrorLand, a lot of the cut
scenes leave you at really desperate moments. Without giving anything
away, I think the cut scene when you first get into Vampire Village
does this really well; suddenly the whole situation becomes much more
serious, and you realize that HorrorLand might be really deadly.
Finally, I want to know what your
absolute FAVORITE part of making the Goosebumps HorrorLand Video Game
was (after all, everything sounds pretty cool!)?
Bringing the Horrors to life.
They were a lot of fun to create because they’re not so much evil as
extremely cranky and not at all concerned with your safety or
well-being. If you run up to a Horror and tell him that your hair is on
fire, he’ll probably tell you he’s on his break. We cast two voice
talents for the Horrors, one male and female, and I think they both do
a great job of capturing this attitude.
So there you have it Spotters — an insider’s look at the
inspiration behind the Goosebumps HorrorLand Video Game. The game comes
out this week, just in time for Halloween . . . enter if you dare!
— Robin, Scholastic Interactive Staffer