Hell is a pretty wide-ranging concept, but even as cultures depict it in hundreds of different ways in their stories the common perception of the underworld today includes plenty of blood, violence, and fire. That’s why “Oxenfree” developer Night School Studio wanted to go in a different direction with their new game “Afterparty”.
“It’s hell, but not your typical hell,” Night School Studio co-founder Sean Krankel tells Variety. “These demons are getting paid to work a 9-5 job a processing plant, doing horrible things to humans during the day. But at night all the humans and demons coexist, they go off and party.”
“Afterparty” is a sillier take on Night School’s adventurous style. It’s about getting wasted with demons, dead serial killers, and Satan himself. Hilarious dialogue and charming little mini-games of beer pong filled my time with the game at ID@Xbox at GDC. It was delightful from start to bitter end.
The story follows two kids who die and get sent to hell. They learn that they can resurrect themselves if they find Satan and drink him under the table. Quite the change from the studio’s last project.
“It’s been a big change for and free just because everybody expected prominently and another supernatural teen thing,” said Krankel. “The fact that we’re doing a thing that feels like Rick and Morty meets Super Bad meets Beetle Juice mixed together is probably a little surprising.”
“Oxenfree”, Night School Studio’s previous hit, was a somber, supernatural coming of age story that hit some pretty dark tones. Krankel and team wanted to switch things up so they wouldn’t be sad during development.
“We had a really great foundation with the open dialogue system in “Oxenfree,” you could communicate and move at the same time and never have any cutscenes,” Krankel said. “We kept that and built something completely different on top of it.”
“Afterparty” is a messed up version of the bar crawl from “The World’s End,” except the aliens are replaced with demons. Throughout the course of the eight hour experience, you’ll go through multiple bars, different types of mini-games, and various drinks that give you a variety of attributes (they also make it harder to play).
Outside funny dialogue and quirky mechanics, “Afterparty” explores a side of hell that we haven’t seen much of before.
“We’re establishing that hell has this daytime processing center for humans, but we’re also looking at the other professions and parts of hell– like demons have taxes too,” Krankel said. “Part of the fun are the demons you get to meet, and that’s why we made this the setting.”