Clea Interview – Using More Than Jump Scares

Indie horror games have really changed the landscape of the spooky genre. Instead of relying on large graphically impressive set pieces, they look outside the box to provide scares to players. Clea is one of those games. Developed by InvertMouse, Clea takes players through some narrative that uses its setting and atmosphere to get make players feel uneasy, which is exactly what we look for in the genre.

Now, Clea is available on Nintendo Switch, and we were able to interview the developer to learn more about its systems and modes.

Azario Lopez: Clea is described as a jump-scare free survival horror game. Was it tough to remove the jump-scares from the horror genre? I imagine you’d need to rely heavily on the atmosphere and immersion to accomplish this.

When I game if I can say “okay, that one was on me,” I never feel cheated over a setback; I apply this rule to the scares in Clea. Indeed, atmosphere and immersion. Also, let’s say you hear footsteps on the other side of that door. If you go through anyway, you have a potential spook. The scares are in your hands.

AL: The Switch version of Clea will include new costumes. Was it fun to go back to the game and design these for the console release?

It was! I admire the source materials, which made the process enjoyable. Narcissu, Side 2nd in particular, is one of my all-time favorite stories. It is an honor to be able to collab with developers Stage Nana.

Clea 3

AL: When it comes to the game’s aesthetic, Clea features doll-like character designs. How did you end up with these designs, and do you feel like it correctly sets the adventure’s tone?

I brainstormed a few iterations before settling on Clea’s aesthetic. For a time, even the backgrounds would pop up like in picture books. I also considered having everything appear like glass stained windows, including the characters. However, while these would be appealing in an art piece, I am not sure about using them across an entire game.

I recall the moment when Clea’s sprite first reacted to the nearby lights. Her colors adjusted, and with that eerie shadow cast against the wall, I knew we had found our tone and style.

AL: You have some well-known voice actors playing characters in the game. Was it essential for you to have voiced characters during development?

Since the script is not extremely long, it was viable to include full-voice, and I opted to provide as much content as possible for the players. It can be a lot of extra work, but each time your character speaks that first line in-game, it always feels worthwhile.

Clea 2

AL: Your team seems to update Clea each month regularly. Will the Switch version include all of these updates and add any additional quality-of-life touches to the Switch?

The Switch version will use the latest version of Clea! Arcade Mode, Chaos+, and Invisible Modes, plus a camera feature.

AL: Will the Switch version contain the game’s Arcade mode? Could you explain this mode a little bit?

It will, though, I do wish to be transparent about something. Steam’s version of arcade mode features online leaderboards, while the Switch version’s leaderboards will be local. The reality is, most players engage with arcade mode for the bonus costume it comes with. Arcade mode is a bonus feature and was, in fact, not added until a few months after release.

In arcade mode, players must weigh risk versus reward and engage with their enemies, lurking as close as possible to boost their high scores. Knowledge of both the maps and Clea’s mechanics are essential to a good result.

Clea 1

AL: Are there any projects that your team is currently working on that you can tease?

Yes, grinding daily! Most of the time, several months before a game’s release, our next project is already in the works. As mentioned above, we should have an announcement in the coming month or two.

AL: Is there anything that you’d like to say to fans awaiting the Switch release of Clea?

As I developed Clea, I always thought, “Man, this game would fit great on the Switch!” I am thankful for our partnership with Sekai Games for making this possible. Clea is a skill-based survival horror title, and I hope you will find a ton of fulfillment out of playing it. Most importantly, let’s stay safe and take care of one another. 2020 sure has been rough.

Thank you!

Clea is available now on Switch and PC-via Steam.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.