When developing Alone in the Dark for Infogrames, Frederick Raynal said he had many ideas regarding how to scare players but found the best way to do it was to implement it into something they do all the time: walking.
Speaking during a lecture at GDC, and covered by Gamasutra, Raynal said that imagination is much stronger than “than polygons” and while a “very heavy and dense, dark story, helps”, he felt there was still something missing as far as the fear factor was concerned.
“In an adventure game, you walk 80% of the time,” he said. “So if you want to put big pressure on the player, just scare him with what he does all the time — just walking.”
Another way to cause the heart to race was the addition of traps which, unavoidable, kept the player not only careful, but also scared of opening doors, going down hallways, and even reading books in the game – all of which was required.
Limiting the players inventory was also part of it, as it created a sense of helplessness whereas a big gun would “make people more confident”.
“You didn’t need, actually, a lot of munition,” said Raynal, “but if you read all the books, you have all the clues to kill the monsters… I really wanted to force the player to find other solutions [besides] brutal force.”
Raynal closed his talk with an audience Q&A, during which he stated he “would love an HD remake” of the game and he hopes it happens.