As i have worked on a lot of concept developments on this game and designs also with the line art cut scenes i bring you my Featured Colleague Ljuba Kašiković

Hi Ljuba! Can you give us a brief introduction about you and your work?

Well, I'm a lead narrative designer for Eipix Entertainment. This job entails writing narrative elements for HOPA (Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure) games that our company produces. These elements include cinematics, dialogues, diaries, notes, and generally taking good care of texts that appear on the screen. There is nothing in particular I can tell about "my work" mainly because I still haven't amassed enough experience or material that I can justifiably call "my work".

 

What sort of training did you go through to get where you are today?

Not a single day of training, and with a lot of luck. When you start getting paid for doing what you like, you have to admit "luck" is the key element, because there are so many people who are hardworking and devoted, but cannot catch a break.

 

Where are you today, and what projects have you done in the past?

Today, I am still with Eipix, still learning and hoping the lessons and challenges will not diminish in a foreseeable future. As far as previous projects are concerned, they are exclusively HOPA games under the wing of Eipix Entertainment.

 

Can you tell us more about this game Phantasmat 4?

Phantasmat: The Dread of Oakville is a pure-blooded gothic tale disguised as a HOPA game. It has all the academically approved elements of American gothic fiction – an impressionable silent protagonist whose role is to bear witness to the horrors unfolding, the unreasonably elaborate and obscure setting, the forces of nature turning against the decadent and self-indulgent families on the brink of madness and, in the figure of malevolent Mister Nightingale, a singular personification of punishment for the unspeakable sin. It also has one hell of a villain played with some vigor and gusto by Livia Radvanski.


What inspired you to develop this game?

Well firstly, I didn’t develop this game, there was an entire team of people devoted to this project. As far as the narrative side is considered, it was a familiar territory because I was always infatuated with horror. I didn't care if it was in written form, celluloid or interactive, I just find it extremely alluring. Tale of dread is a younger brother of the morality tale and a slippery slope if handled wrongly. Thankfully, my supervisor Nikola Rakic was willing to take a chance with a loose pitch I’ve concocted. He simply saw something in it and the finished game would have never happened if it wasn't for him. I was also very relieved and grateful that lead game designer Ivan Jankovic, and fellow game designer Igor Rajnjak liked the story, and gave me suggestions on how to improve upon numerous elements. They kept me honest because, truth be told, I can be a bit of an airhead sometimes.


Who are your inspirations?

With Phantasmat, it was a mixture of sources – Shirley Jackson's novel The Sundial, Clive Barker's suggestion of demonic horror; we tried to avoid Lovecraftian sense of otherworldliness, because it is such a popular trope right now. Visual cues were taken from movies like The Haunting and Dead Silence. One of the more drawn out influences was a classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, and its theme of the connection between nature and women that men cannot comprehend. 

As far as my other inspirations, they are manifold, my favorite writers include Mervyn Peake, Umberto Eco, Isabel Allende,  Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I’ve actually written five more names, but realized it was sensible to trim down a few. Did I mention I can be quite an airhead? I am also always fascinated with the directorial work of Paul Thomas Anderson, and I’d say Hollywood rightfully considers him to be Orson Welles of our time.


So a lot of artists (writers, musicians, dancers etc.) have little rituals or specific settings or needs to immerse themselves in their creative world? What is yours? 

Hm, I don't really have a specific ritual. I guess music can immerse you, if you choose correctly. I’m afraid there is not much of an answer I can give here.


Do you have a favorite subject or genre? Why?

Honestly, I am not genre specific. Everything works for me as long as there is a hefty drama behind it. I guess my favorite subject would be - finding oneself through interaction with individuals and defining one's place in the world through relationships. Humans are social animals and I see each individual's life as, for better or worse, a shifting map of people.


Is there something about you that folks consider “different”? 

It’s nearly impossible to answer this question without sounding pretentious or dishonest. We are all different in our own, demented little ways.

 

You have worked with Harvey Bunda on Phantasmat 4. How did you guys come up with all of those creepy designs?

First and foremost, we both believe the best horror imagery is conjured up in dreams, so we spent some time trying to remember the striking nightmarish visions, especially the ones from our childhood, and discussed it. Harvey is very good with intuiting the meaning behind words and going far and beyond that in his visual representations. We were both happy about the end result, which is the greatest victory two collaborators can ask for.

And see the bigfish video teaser here

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