An interview with Decay creator Fredrik Westlund

May 18, 2010

Following on from our review of unsettling old-school point ‘n’ click indie game Decay -Part 1, we managed to elicit the answers to a few questions from the founder of Swedish-based Shining Gate Software, the developers behind the game and its upcoming installments, of which Part 2 has already been officially announced. Fredrik Westlund tells us how Decay came about, what the future holds for his fledgling company, and which game he would most like to have on his own CV. Full interview after the jump.

infinitecontinues: Hello Fredrik. Who are you and what do you do?

Fredrik Westlund: I’m the founder of Shining Gate Software. I have been working within game development for about 10 years now. My primary position within game development is programming and design.

ic: Tell us more about Shining Gate Software. Other than Decay, what else has the company been producing?

FW: It’s a young company, founded at the very beginning of 2009. Decay – Part 1 is the first release for us. Normally we work for other companies and clients, mostly as consultants and contract work. As a game developer, the most interesting work for us is to have been a part of the development team for Battlefield Heroes at Electronic Arts/Dice in Stockholm, Sweden.

ic: How did you come up with the idea for Decay? It’s a dark game – what sort of influences and inspirations was it born out of?

FW: In many modern thriller/horror games the game is as much about action as it is about the story and atmosphere. We wanted to create a game with focus on the atmosphere and story, and to get back to the old  classic adventure games that deliver the story to the player by the challenge of riddles and puzzles. We are fans of the early Resident Evil and Silent Hill games and of old horror/adventure games like Phantasmagoria, 11th Hour and Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within. Personally, I’m a big fan of Stephen King and have read most of his books. Much inspiration comes from these games and books. I know many players, as well as ourselves, have been waiting for games like Decay to be released for a long time. So we decided to create it ourselves, instead.

ic: Decay has a Part 1 subtitle attached to it, which suggests you would like to do more installments. How many episodes do you have planned? Are these dependent on the success of Part 1?

FW: Yes, we are currently working on Part 2, 3, and 4 – which will be the final part. The story and design for Part 2 is completed and it will hopefully be released in June 2010. Most of the development for Part 3 and 4 will be financed by the sales from Part 1 and 2. So far we are very pleased with how popular Decay – Part 1 has turned out to be.

ic: Looking beyond Decay, do you have any other projects in mind for future development? Are you looking to break into the XBLA scene, or, even a full-blown retail release? Will we see further games in this genre, or would you like to try your hand at something different?

FW: For now all focus is on Decay and to finish the whole story on XBLIG. We have other ongoing projects for XBLIG and PC but it’s too early to say anythig more than that. It would be a dream come true to break into the XBLA scene and we hope that publishers and other developers will be interested in working with us in the future. Windows Phone 7 and iPhone are other platforms that we are interested in. Decay will probably be released on Windows Phone 7 and maybe on iPhone as well.

ic: On a more personal note, have you managed to find time to play games yourself recently? If so, what are you enjoying at the moment?

FW: Yes I always try to find some time to play games and to check out the news on Xbox Live. At the moment I’m playing Burnout Paradise a lot, a game that I haven’t played for a long time but now I’m really hooked on it. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on Alan Wake, so that will probably be my next buy.

ic: Finally, Fredrik, if I could tell you that you could take credit for one videogame from the past, to put on Shining Gate Software’s CV, which game would it be? And why?

FW: That would be Descent from 1995, I’m still in love with that game and always will be. The reason is nostalgia.

ic: Thanks very much for your time, Fredrik, and good luck with the remaining episodes of Decay.

You can download Decay – Part 1 on the Xbox Live Indie Games platform from the Games Marketplace section on your Dashboard, or alternatively you can purchase it online here, for the low, low price of 240 MSP. Too skint this month? You’re in luck – Fredrik was generous enough to provide infinitecontinues with three FREE codes to download the full version of Decay – Part 1. To be in with a chance of snagging one, all you need to do is come ‘Like’ us on Facebook, where we will be posting the codes over the next day or so. Easy peasy.

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