Night School Studio's Sean Krankel was at Fun & Serious Game Festival 2020 in virtual capacity last week to talk about adventure games, and we at Gamereactor had the pleasure to talk to the founder and creative director during the following video interview.
For the length of our chat Krankel reviews the studio's history and its recent growth into a 20-people operation, as well as their role as potential "modern graphic adventures" champions.
We of course touch upon the company's different games, including the beloved Oxenfree, the more recent Afterparty, or Next Stop Nowhere, an iOS-focused space adventure where "the ship itself is your best friend". And even though "the door is definitely not closed for sequels", we tried our best to get more details about the secret game Night School Studio have been cooking for 6 months already:
"No game announcements or even time line announcements yet", Krankel warns as he won't spill the beans just yet, "but I will say that the stuff that we're doing is a return to scary settings. It's definitely something that we want to feel more serious and have more layers of mystery to unravel beneath it as well".
Besides, looking back at their best-known titles, "I think something that we kind of took a detour from post-Oxenfree was a world that felt like the stakes were extra high and that to explore the world it's important to feel like a smart almost detective, which is what happens in Oxenfree, like yes, you're a teenager thrown into this mix but there's so many strange layers in that game, and where Afterparty and Next Stop Nowhere both have some of those layers, I think to players on the surface they might not think that, they might just think 'oh this is goofy comedy', or 'oh this is just some road trip'. But we're going to make a much more concerted effort in our next project to return to kind of scary stuff and have some real mysteries - we want the player to feel really smart and a little bit underpowered and endangered basically. That's kind of all I can say, but yeah it'll be scary shit again".
Elsewhere in the interview Krankel reflects on how a pandemic year can be inspirational to come up with interesting, trying situations for narrative games, and he also shares his personal vision on Disney as a "massive city with multiple factions" as he worked at the entertainment titan for three different periods.
What do you expect from Night School Studio's next project?