OPN. How did you end up at LKA?
Luca Dalcò: I founded LKA several years ago. For a long time LKA mainly worked in fields of theater, scenography, documentary and cultural heritage. We only recently started developing games.
OPN. What games did you grow up playing?
Luca Dalcò: The first games I have played were the coinops of the 80s, and “LKA” was the nickname I used to sign my records, because at that time games allowed you to use only 3 letters, and there were plenty of “LUC”! My most loved games are Half life 2, Morrowind, Guild Wars 1, Simbin’s GTR2, and Bioshock.
OPN. What games do you currently play?
Luca Dalcò: Unfortunately I don’t play so much lately, at least not as much as I would like to. I typically play indie, since for some time now AAA titles are no longer able to offer anything remarkable, in my personal opinion. The last titles I played are FranBow, The Park, Among the Sleep, and Neverending Nightmare.
OPN: Who is LKA?
Luca Dalcò: LKA grew up with “The Town of Light” and the team itself took shape with it.At the moment, we have 8 members, but the team will dynamically adapt itself on new projects.
What is the indie scene like in Italy?
Luca Dalcò: Italy is sadly not a good environment for video game developers. We don’t have public funding or tax relief, and we live in one of the more oppressive European fiscal systems, both for tax rate and bureaucracy. There is a lot of passion, for sure, and also a lot of talented people. However, there are too few opportunities, so as a result, a lot of guys moved to other countries. It's a shame, but it seems that our government isn't interested in creating jobs and wellness with the video game industry. It's a big problem! We have 40% youth unemployment, after all.
OPN: How was LKA founded? Does LKA self-publish their own titles?
Luca Dalcò: So far, yes, but I don’t know what we’re going to do in the future. Unfortunately, self-publishing is not easy for a really small indie team with a small budget.
OPN: Why did LKA decide to make Town of Light?
Luca Dalcò: There are several reasons for that. We had personal interest in the topic and its beauty. There was also our fascination with the location, as well as all the terrible horror that came from studying the history of mental institutions in Italy and all over the world. It is incredible, trust me. Nothing imaginable could compete with it.
OPN: Which games influenced the making of Town of Light?
Luca Dalcò: None in particular. I loved a lot of games like "The Cat Lady", "Dear Esther", and "The Path" but they didn't influenced the development of "The Town of Light". I'll take advantage of this question to express a personal opinion: there are not a lot of great horror titles, if we considered horror to be about causing fear and discomfort (let's call it deep-horror). Most horror titles are designed to frighten with jumpscares or entertain with zombie and splatter scenes. The deep-horror category in the video game industry is not as well represented as it is in cinema. Deep-horror video games are quite rare, which is a pity because video games are the perfect medium for deep-horror experiences. Eventually, I really hope to find more great deep-horror games in stores.
OPN: Did movies, books, or other media influence this game?
Luca Dalcò: Yes, particularly a lot of books, which allowed me to build the story of "The Town of Light" in a realistic and credible way. We referenced books written by former patients, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and historical researchers. Movies have also been a great inspiration, but this time more on an artistic side rather than research and documentation.
OPN:. Specifically, did horror movies/books etc. influence this game?
Luca Dalcò: There are no specific titles, though I always loved horror, especially horror movies. Our personal culture and experiences had a great influence in our choices, even if not directly.
OPN: Why did LKA decide not to include any “paranormal” horror elements?
Luca Dalcò: We are showing a terrible reality, where hundreds of thousands of people suffered; adding paranormal elements would have lacked respect.
The reality itself is a stronger slap in the face. It hurts deeply, more than any fiction, and it leaves a bigger impression that fades away slower, because you cannot hide yourself from reality. You cannot relieve yourself by thinking “It's ok, it's only imagination”. The title of the game itself aims to underline this aspect: you can hide yourself in the darkness, but not in the light!
OPN: What is your opinion on Steam?
Luca Dalcò: I think Steam offers great services. It is a great opportunity, but I would be happier seeing more stores (bigger stores), each one with its own peculiarity, policy, and ideas. GOG is a good example, I hope it will grow up. I feel that the almost monopolistic position of Steam is not a good thing.
OPN: Why did LKA decide to add VR support?
Luca Dalcò: VR allows the player to immerse himself in the game in a totally new and effective way. In our game, the immersion is an essential element. With a VR headset worn, some scenes in the game become really shocking. I think these first VR headsets and controllers are the beginning of a huge innovation, though it will be necessary to wait several years to understand the real power of VR, both for hardware and new gameplay mechanics. I think horror games are one of those kind of games that can immediately take advantage of VR, while in its first primitive phase. As I said, the boost of immersion that you can experience with a VR headset is hugely important for a horror game, in order to cultivate tension and fear.
About the Game
The Town of Light - Game Description
12 March 1938. Renée, 16 years old, is ripped out of her world, locked up and deprived of everything. Her only fault was that she didn't know what her place in the world was. "A danger to herself and others and a cause of public scandal" wrote the police headquarters. The only horror you will find in this game is the truth: a blow to the solar plexus, much more intense than any supernatural presence
The Town of Light - History
The Town of Light is a psychological adventure told in the first person. The story is set in Italy in the first half of the 20th Century in a place which really existed and has been meticulously reconstructed. Exploring and interacting with the environment you will relive the history of the main character through her confused viewpoint and on the basis of your choices, the story will develop in different ways.