Deadly Premonition, the “most critically polarizing survival horror game” of all time, won its fans over thanks to its quirky take on American suburban life. However, creative director Hidetaka “SWERY” Suehiro had a very different vision for the game at first. He revealed to us that “I once considered the setting of Canada, because I lived there in my childhood. But, my producer refused it.”
Said producer, Tomio Kanazawa, was in the same room as us (and also awkwardly provided the translation). He added that the main target audience was Americans, “so I asked him to change the setting to America.”
Changing the setting would pose quite a daunting challenge for Suehiro, who had never visited the country. He knew that he would focus on smaller towns, avoiding cities because “the cost to create [an open world mystery] is very difficult when set in an urban city” from a production standpoint. Plus, “in a city, one life is too cheap compared to the countryside.”
“I didn’t have any experience in America, so I wanted to visit for research,” he told us. “I visited Washington for two weeks, and the Californian countryside for one week… [The game] is a ‘deformation’ of that kind of country town.”
By focusing his time mostly on the Pacific Northwest, the end result is a game that has been compared to Twin Peaks. However, Suehiro says that he didn’t take the idea from David Lynch’s iconic television series. He says that many of the events from the game were inspired by his visit to the countryside. “For example, I saw an old couple sitting at a very long table sitting across from each other. I thought it was so interesting, so I took that idea and put that into the game.”
With Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut out of the way, Suehiro is eager to work on his next “Deadly” game. When quizzed about where he’d like to set a follow-up, he told us “I’ve never been to Texas… [but] if I had a chance, I’d make a game set in Europe.” He specifically cited his curiosity with Hitchin, the small British town where publisher Rising Star Games is based. Of course, whether or not his producer will allow him to do so is a different story altogether.
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut will be available on PS3 on April 30th.