Jean Manzoni and Lucas Guibert from the Blue Rose Team have shared the development process behind Twin Peaks: Into the Night, a PSX-style fan-made game inspired by the first episode of the legendary TV show.
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Hi! We're two French developers from the south of France – Jean Manzoni and Lucas Guibert. We both followed a course in video game development, Lucas at Brassart Montpellier as a Game Programmer and Jean at ESMA in Toulouse as a Game Designer. That's where we learned how to develop video games.
Jean and Lucas:
We met at DigixArt, an independent video game studio in Montpellier, France, where we both worked on the development of Road 96: Mile 0. Previously, Lucas had also worked on Road 96 in the same studio and Jean in a small independent studio called Saltitude in Toulouse. That's when we found ourselves a common passion for both the Twin Peaks series and retro gaming.
Twin Peaks: Into the Night
Some friends helped us with some sound effects and the music we used for the reveal trailer. We also had the help of a voice actor for the intro cutscene of the game. Besides that, it's just the two of us!
Developing games with such a small team requires being quite resourceful and autonomous, just like most independent studios. We had to learn to do things that go beyond our skills, such as 3D, animations, sound design, writing, 2D, etc. The good point of being only two developers is that the communication is immediate. And, well, confrontation too!
We're keeping the game design and the global direction of the game as a common point. From there, Lucas mainly takes care of the technical part (programming), and Jean of the artistic part (3D, textures, etc.). We've experienced many things and learned a lot during the development.
The project started in early 2022 when Jean worked during his spare time on a PSX demake of A Plague Tale with some friends, an adaptation of modern games into old games that has become quite popular on the Internet. Lucas thought that the idea was super cool. When the demake ended, we talked about it and naturally wondered what it could have looked like for Twin Peaks. It was common for movies or licenses to have their own video games at the time, but that never happened with Twin Peaks.
In the beginning, the project was supposed to be much smaller. Then, Lucas had some ideas and came up with a bigger concept and the desire to produce more than a "simple" demo. We didn't think much and started to work on it in August 2022. Eventually, it became what it is today.
This demo took us almost a year to work on, and it has outperformed our expectations. We just wanted to fulfill an old gamer fantasy, "What would Twin Peaks have looked like if there had been a video game adaptation in the 90s?".
Direct references to the Silent Hill or Resident Evil sagas are present, games that we love. But other influences from Parasite Eve, Dino Crisis, Galerians, and Mizzurna Falls can also be noticed everywhere in the game.
For the next step of the project, we have a lot of ideas and would like to dig further into other "classics", but we're keeping it secret for now.
We chose to start at the beginning of the show for several reasons. First of all, to allow more people to easily enter into its universe. Even if this project is a love letter for the TP community, it is possible that people that don't even know the series but love retro games, or by "word of mouth", might want to give it a try. It would have been more difficult for them to be exposed to this universe, so particular and rich in its characters, by starting in the middle of something. And, well, if the project should stop today, the current format and content of the demo could still stand on its own.
The Visual Style
We are developing the game on Unity and using the HPSXRP render pipeline, created by the HauntedPS1 community, for the special PSX render style. For everything else, Photoshop, 3ds Max, and Blender are our best friends!
From a technical point of view, we also couldn't produce modern AA/AAA 3D quality graphics, even if contrary to what we could imagine, recreating old-school 3D art is not as simple as it may seem. We have dissected a lot of the process from games of this era and tried to create the most faithful experience we could.
The main dynamic of the demo is simple and quite directive: you can move forward, explore, and talk with various characters while letting yourself be carried away by the pace of the narration.
There is also an inventory system where you can inspect and combine items, and even use them to interact with any other character in the world. Every character reacts differently, and some of them might have important information to share with you.
We don't want to talk in much detail about the next direction the project will take right now, but it's sure the game will be less linear. For that, our more advanced inventory/interaction system is essential.
But we still want to keep that special narrative pace that matches with the series. You can maybe imagine what we're planning from some of the references cited above – but no zombies or triangular-headed men are planned.
We definitely want to continue the project, and that's the direction we’re taking. But this is still an amateur fan project, which has no commercial purpose behind it. We do not own the rights of the Twin Peaks license. Other fan-made projects have existed for as long as their respective license owners tolerate their existence.
We are surprised and very happy that the demo has been so successful. We'll see how it evolves in the future. Some actors from season 3 shared the project on social networks and sent us messages of encouragement! It's a real pleasure for us, many thanks to them! In our wildest dreams, we tried to contact Mark Frost, David Lynch, and Kyle Maclachlan, but no response yet. It's not easy to get in touch with such famous people when you're just two small unknown developers in their room.
We hope that the project will please them and would like to have their validation, to discuss the project with them. Anyway, the demo reception showed us that some fans are definitely waiting for it, and we think there's something really cool to do with it. We'll see how things turn out!