Interviews

Kip, the developer behind Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I., reveals details of his new game, Among The Whispers – Provocations

D&A Studios developer, Kip, has announced a new game set to release this year, Among The Whispers – Provocations. The first game to come out of the studio, Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. was met with praise, sitting at a strong 94% positive rating on Steam. In GamingTrend’s review of the game, we gave Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. the score of 70: Good. We interviewed Kip, and he revealed what he’s adding and refining to make his next game a success.

This time around, you play as Stephanie, a New Eidolon local whose first experience with the supernatural has pushed her to investigate further, seeking help from Conrad Stevenson himself. Kip mentioned his inspiration for his new character, saying, “I really tried to think about the paranormal field in general and make a character who’s relatable and represents the statistics of it. There’s a large number of women in the paranormal field.”

One factor that could make Stephanie more relatable is that she’s just beginning her ghost-hunting journey and players can grow with her, whereas Conrad is already seasoned in the profession, has his own office, and has nerves of steel. “She’s not as experienced with Conrad, there will be certain moments where she’s a little more excitable than Conrad was,” Kip said.

Stephanie’s vulnerability addresses one problem from the first game, the lack of stakes. “Focus is your main attribute for provocations, and depending on if you fumble a provocation, it could affect your nerves. As you lose your nerve, you’re not able to investigate properly,” he said. However, Kip is still working out exactly what that means, “Maybe if you lose your nerve, you pass out like Conrad did with the demons. Maybe certain provocations could be harder to do. I don’t want to have a death mechanic, but I want to be able to hinder her ability to investigate normally, as her nerve has been shaken,” Kip added. He also pointed out that you can see Stephanie’s focus and nerves displayed on her watch.

The fact that Stephanie is new to ghost-hunting opens the door for RPG elements, “For me, the major thing is just having a protagonist who develops their ability along the way. I’m a huge RPG fan,” he said. In the same vein, there will be various trainers who Stephanie will be able to learn from, and Conrad himself will step up to the role. “In most RPGs you’ll go places to learn; same thing here, Conrad will be helping with a certain element of your training. I’ve got some ideas for different trainers with this RPG aspect,” Kip stated.

Stephanie will also be able to progress her base of operations, “I’d like to kind of have a similar strategy like in Conrad where you have your hub, you had your office in Conrad. Stephanie comes from more humble beggings, so there would be a bigger progression that goes on there,” he said.

Kip also shared information about how he’s improved the ghost-hunting formula. One element of Paranormal P.I. that Kip wants to change for his new game is the pacing, “It was that there weren’t a lot of deductions that the player had to do. You were able to complete the story just by collecting the evidence. With that formula, you were very sparingly given the ghost events. Since there wasn’t a lot of deduction, I didn’t want to ruin the story right away,” he said.

The new deduction-based system will put the ball in the player’s court, rather than them having to wait for the ghosts to do the talking. “The formula itself has shifted, it’s more the player is going to have to review the evidence, interpret what the ghost is saying, and find out who they were in life. There’s a new deduction mechanic that allows the ghost events to happen more aggressively,” Kip explained.

That brings us to the Provocation system itself. Kip says, “Stephanie will be able to ask questions throughout her investigations. If you’re in the vicinity of the ghost you can buff them with the question. You can try to get them to make noise, make cold spots, or electromagnetic fields.” He then elaborated further, saying, “Ghosts have different levels. When you start, some ghosts will be lower level. It’s levels one through five. The provocation will increase the likelihood of their manifestation abilities. A ghost could manifest right away, but most likely what you’ll see is mist or orbs. The provocations system coupled with the evidence you collect is going to create more startling experiences.”

In addition to the way you hunt the ghosts, the game will also feature new ghost behaviors to add immersion. Kip talked about how ghosts “did their own thing” in Paranormal P.I., saying, “I think there’s an element I missed in Conrad: having intelligent ghosts interact with the player more, like shadow people peeking around corners.” In Among The Whispers – Provocations, ghosts will interact with the player, and new animations will be used to convey the way they died. “Essentially, the ghost will have animations that will be another description of how they passed. Maybe if a residual ghost drowned, they’d float in the air. A more intelligent ghost would be able to float towards the player. It could create a more immersive experience for the player,” he described.

As for where these ghoulish investigations will take place, Kip comments, “The game will be within the mansion, and it was built in the mid-1880s. It’s got a crazy sinister past as to how the family who lived there acquired their wealth, and the player will find information throughout the house. The mansion is large, very large, and players will get lost in it.” The map will have plenty of surprises to keep the player engaged, “I feel like having a bit of exploration with all of the maps is just satisfying for me as a player. Same thing with the mansion, I want to get lost in secret rooms, I want it to feel adventurous,” he explained. Kip also mentioned that areas on the map in Paranormal P.I. that were not accessible before would be available now.

The new setting ties in with a new system, procedural generation. Kip elaborated, saying, “In Provocations, it’s five generations of family members who have lived their lives in this mansion. Each individual of those five generations will be procedurally generated, including birth dates, death dates, and how they died.” He goes on to explain, “You would review their Fallen Apple database, it’s like Ancestry.com, and you’ll pick suspects based on who you think ghosts are. The lore of the house is unwavering, the folks who make up the story will change with each game.”

Among The Whispers – Provocations will be the first game of the Among The Whispers series. Each game will focus on a different element of the gameplay, hence why this installment’s subtitle is “Provocations.” This series will culminate in a final game simply titled, “Among The Whispers.” Kip described his thoughts saying, “The concept is that I can make a game, refine a concept, and plug it into the bigger game.” He went on to state that this will allow him to respond to fan feedback, ensuring he can adapt as he creates the series.

He emphasized that he is doing his best to make every game in this series a strong standalone experience, saying, “If someone’s going to buy something I made, I want them to get their money’s worth with it. Among The Whispers is a large game, and Provocations is a part. I don’t want people to think Among The Whispers – Provocations is a minigame.” He went on to say, “I’m very mindful of replayability and I want people to cherish this just as people enjoyed Conrad.”

In the end, Kip expressed gratitude for the fans of his games and the community he’s fostered, saying, “I’m very grateful, it’s my appreciation to the fans, to get them products they can keep playing and enjoying.”

Stay tuned to GamingTrend for more indie horror news, and check out the trailer for Among The Whispers – Provocations on Steam and join Kip’s Discord server for lore and updates!

Jackson loves to play and write about video games. Rogue-lites, FPS, and RPG games are his favorite. He's a big fan of the Battlefield series and Warhammer 40K.

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