I hope you weren’t planning on getting much sleep anytime soon because Infinitap just announced Devastated Dreams, the long-awaiting follow-up to their psychological horror hit Neverending Nightmares.
For the first game, creator Matt Gilgenbach drew inspiration from his own experiences with depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), symbolizing his struggles through Thomas, a character who cyclically “wakes up” into progressively more horrifying nightmares.
This time around, Gilgenbach’s muses take form in new fears – “being an expectant parent and feeling totally in a rural area of the Philippines without any electricity or running water,” as he describes on Infinitap’s website.
On a trip to his in-laws in 2013, Gilgenbach was struck with the vulnerability he felt in the developing areas of the Philippines. “I imagined myself in [a nipa hut],” he says, describing the common grass and bamboo houses without electricity, “and I felt a very visceral fear that I was unsafe.” This feeling, he decided, would be perfect for a horror game.
In an effort to craft an experience respectful to authentic Filipino folklore, Gilgenbach has been working closely with his wife on the story and treatment of the game’s principal antagonists, the aswang – “a blanket term for all the different types of monsters . . . most prey on children born and unborn, which makes them the perfect manifestation of fears for someone expecting a child.”
“Most [aswang] prey on children born and unborn, which makes them the perfect manifestation of fears for someone expecting a child”
Gilgenbach’s own fears as a dad-to-be are projected onto Angel, the main protagonist whose own impending motherhood fluctuates throughout the game – sometimes she appears noticeably pregnant. In other screencaps, the baby bump is nowhere to be seen. Gilgenbach states that he’s “not sure [he] can really describe how terrifying [expecting a child] can be – how powerless you feel to protect something you love so much that at least at the beginning – is a formless blog.” This won’t stop him from trying, however, and he hopes Angel will ultimately be even more relatable to players than Thomas has proven himself to be.
Devastated Dreams is launching a Kickstarter in July. You can sign up for Infinitap’s mailing list on the game’s official site and check out its spiritual predecessor, Neverending Nightmares, through Steam’s promotional sale.