Eyes in the Dark director on taking inspiration from Samurai Jack

Under the Stairs' Vladimir Bogdanic discusses the making of Eyes in the Dark: The Curious Case of One Victoria Bloom.


Back at PAX East, Gearbox Publishing revealed a fresh slate of new games. Among them was a fascinating stroll into a haunted mansion called Eyes in the Dark: The Curious Case of One Victoria Bloom from developer Under the Stairs. Naturally, its stylized black-and-white visuals are reminding some players of Limbo, but that's not the only inspiration that Game Director Vladimir Bogdanic has cited for the upcoming roguelike. Going beyond games, Bogdanic notes that the team was inspired by a Cartoon Network classic.

"What's really cool about [Eyes in the Dark] is initially, our initial concept for the game jam was... there's a Samurai Jack episode where he's fighting the shinobi and, stylistically, it's done like purely black and white," Bogdanic told Shacknews. "The basic concept, what we really liked about it, was the fact that there was this play between not seeing stuff in the dark or just like being completely exposed and there was like a little dance between them in that specific shot. So it started off as just a simple back and forth between, 'Oh, there's an enemy here, but I don't see what enemy it is,' you can just see... eyes, and that's kind of the inspiration for the title itself, and then we kind of expanded it by using this darkness layer, which basically functions as a sort of... I would say kind of a 'fog of war,' where you're using light to reveal what is underneath and it can be platforms, it can be traps, it can enemies, and so on."

Bogdanic goes into how Eyes in the Dark began life as a game jam title, how it iterated from there, the story behind the Under the Stairs developer name, working as a Croatian studio, and the various mechanics that players can expect to encounter in the game. Eyes in the Dark tells the story of Victoria Bloom, whose grandfather has been taken captive by the darkness, which has overwhelmed Bloom Manor. Victoria must explore the pitch black mansion, using her flashlight to fight off powerful enemies.

Eyes in the Dark: The Curious Case of One Victoria Bloom will come exclusively to PC (via both Steam and the Epic Games Store) on July 14. For more interviews like this, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews and GamerHubTV on YouTube.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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