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What Happened Interview: Exploring teenage angst in a horror game

What Happened

The upcoming psychological horror game What Happened launches on PC this summer.

The trailer caught our attention, so we decided to reach out to the indie developers behind the game. Hassan Mehdiasl, the studio founder at Genius Slackers, was kind enough to answer our questions.

What can we expect in terms of gameplay?

You can expect exploration, puzzle-solving, nightmarish horrors, and making the right choices.

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What other games inspired the development of What Happened?

The game was an amalgamation of our inspirations from The Evil Within, Layers of Fear, and Thirteen Reasons Why (TV series). In reality, though, they were only the bud that started the ideas for this project. Over time, it grew to be an entirely different creature on its own that we could not trace to any other games out there.

It seems like light and darkness are going to play a huge role thematically. Can you talk more about that and any other elements that are going to tie into that throughout the course of the game?

We have the diluted concept of time, forcing the player to go through illusionary ordeals that are rooted in his memories, and yet hours and hours of walking through a shadowy labyrinth are but seconds of his drug-induced life. The environment and the atmosphere is constantly shifting, and the player must adapt to the new challenges very quickly.

What Happened seems to grapple with teenage angst and possibly bullying. Is the team drawing from personal experiences?

There’s not a person alive who has not gone through some sort of dark times. Us especially. I think our struggles and our situation within the bowels of some of the most dire times helped forge this game. We’ve had members who struggle with depression, we’ve had members who lost their parents at a young age, and we’ve certainly all dealt with heartbreak and bullying.

Are there any plans for a console release?

Yes, we’re planning on releasing What Happened for consoles after summer and our initial Steam release.

Please tell us more about Genius Slackers and the team behind the game.

Genius Slackers are a small team of young, passionate, and talented individuals who have worked on this game for years, pushing through extremely limited resources and each of them doing the work of many developers. At this point, we’ve been through so much that we’re a family rather than a commercial team.

What Happened is coming to PC via Steam. Follow the dev team on Twitter @geniusslackers.