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How cyberpunk spook-'em-up Observer is built to elicit 'catharsis 2.0'

Bloober Team's Rafal Basaj joins us as we play a bit more of the studio's latest game, cyberpunk horror game Observer, and learn what the studio means when it says it makes "hidden horror" games.

October is upon us, and that means we've got spooky games on the brain. 

To that end, we asked Bloober Team's Rafal Basaj to join us as we streamed a bit more of the studio's latest game, the cyberpunk horror game Observer, on Twitch.

He was kind enough to acquiesce despite the fact that he was joining us from Poland, nine hours in the future. In the course of our hour-long play n' chat, it became clear that Observer is a deeply Polish game -- but Basaj told us that Bloober was quite uncertain about whether or not it should pepper the game with cultural touchstones. 

"I remember at one point were discussing whether doing all these references in the game would make it hard to understand, for a Western audience," said Basaj. "We figured out for a lot of people, it would be aesthetics. They won't see those things, but it will be different for them. It will feel different."

Later in our conversation, we dug deeper into what it means to make a horror game and why Bloober pitches Observer specifically as a "hidden horror" experience.

"Hidden horror has two principles to it," said Basaj. "One, it has to have a subject...for Observer, it was the boundaries of humanity. "

"The other part of hidden horror is something we call 'catharsis 2.0'," he continued. "We wanted to not only relieve fears or tensions, but also go into the emotions, and how we as people think about the world. So, catharsis 2.0...[we want to] make the players think about how would they behave in such a situation."

You can listen to our full conversation with Basaj (and watch our playthrough of the game’s opening hour above). Also, make sure to follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more gameplay commentary, developer interviews and editor roundtables. 

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