Still Wakes the Deep Developer Details the Specific British ’70s Influences on the Oil Rig Horror


Still Wakes the Deep developer The Chinese Room (Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture) is bringing a very distinct set of British influences to its oil rig-set horror game, ranging from its North Sea setting to the British prison sitcom Porridge.

Still Wakes the Deep Influences: From Ken Loach to Ronnie Barker

Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun’s Nic Reuben, Rob McLachlan, the game’s lead designer, goes into great detail about the team’s approach to making a cosmic horror story at sea in a far from typical fashion.

He speaks of discussions with oil rig workers and how that informed the sound design in the game’s pre and post-event states. He also talks about balancing the game to be both a good horror experience and accessible enough to finish.

When it came to citing specific influences on the way the game looks and plays, there were some fascinating choices with a very British flavor.

McLachlan references the films of director Ken Loach, King of the Kitchen Sink Drama, as a heavy influence on the look and feel of the setting, and for the game’s characters, he notes they looked at ’70s everyman types such as Ronnie Barker’s Norman Stanley Fletcher in BBC sitcom Porridge.

McLachlan says studio art director and project creative director John McCormack and associate art director Laura Dodds did “a massive amount of work on this, talking about the films from the 70s.” included were Loach’s Abigail’s Party, Care, and Bill Forsyth’s Scottish comedy That Sinking Feeling. “We got photos of Porridge with Ronnie Barker and photos of actors from the 70s. That whole feeling of ordinary people, there was something beautiful about that, with working-class actors who looked like characters,” McLachlan said. “It was the heyday of the character actor, when the people you saw on screen, they really looked people that could be on oil rigs.”

Still Wakes the Deep sees players take on the role of an off-shore oil rig worker, fighting for their lives through a vicious storm, perilous surroundings, and the dark, freezing North Sea waters. All lines of communication have been severed. All exits are gone. All that remains is to face the unknowable horror that’s come aboard.

Still Wakes the Deep is out on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC on June 18, 2024


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