By Crystal Colwell / October 1st, 2014
Etienne Périn has announced his latest project, Jeanne, an action, adventure, horror game that is about women in their thirties. Here, I’ll give you the “about the game” from a press email.
About the Game: (From a Press Email)
It will talk about women in their thirties. That moment in their life when they have to choose between their carreer, having kids and all kinds of anxiety episods that situation can create.
Long story short : the game will be a mix between FEZ (for the platform/exploration aspects), Another World / Prince of Persia (for the action), and some old CD-ROM horror games, like Phantasmagoria (with that photo/video atmosphere) and, of course, Clock Tower (because I simply love this game).
Other inspirations for this game are very varied : there will be some David Lynch in there, some Dario Argento, David Cronenberg, Junji Ito, Roman Polanski… I don’t know if everything will fit in, but theses are my references.
Last but not least, Romain Gauthier will make the musics (with a buddy. Maybe I’ll join, if I can find some time to take my synthesizer out).
This could be something great, or something very scary that takes a wrong turn very quickly. I’m not sure how I feel about a man making a game that deals with the trials and tribulations of 30-something year-old women (of which I happen to be), but I am willing to give it a fair shot. I reached out to Etienne Périn to ask a few questions about this very subject and received what I thought was an honest and interesting answer that actually changed my initial impression of this game.
My question was regarding a male writing the story of some rather important things that women go through. I inquired as to if he had a woman’s input or not going forward.
Actually a (male) friend of mine will help me on the scenario. I didn’t choose him for his sex, but because I like his work, and because we are connected in terms of creativity. I’m also in my thirties, and my objective here is to talk about women around me, women I see on everyday life, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends… I guess it’s a way for me to try to understand them? I don’t know. The truth is, the more I write Jeanne’s character, the more I realise I take a lot of things from my own personality and experience. As long as you understand that most of the difference between men an women is only a difference of social pressure, I think you can talk about the opposite sex.
I have to say that I both agree and disagree here. I do see that there are many similarities between men and women, but the few differences between the sexes are rather important. I think that you absolutely can talk about the opposite sex. As long as you are willing to admit that you might not get it right. You are going to put your own experiences into it as any writer knows. The problem is this will be a man’s perspective. Hmm. I’m still intrigued and I think that the game could go either way. At any rate I applaud his honest answer, and I think that as long as he is as honest in Jeanne as he was in answering that, this title is something I am going to have to play!
Mr. Périn went on to say:
Also, I have many female friends, and I pay a lot of attention to their feedback. For instance, the actress who plays Jeanne (Mélody Maloux) helped me a lot to understand what kind of character is Jeanne… And to be perfectly true, I made this teaser specifically to work with her and to move forward on the project. Shooting this teaser was a big step for me in terms of understanding what I was aiming for. Thanks to Mélody, it cleared a lot of questions in my mind.
I try to depict a “normal” woman… Or should I say, a normal person. Will my look on Jeanne be sexualised? Of course, I’m heterosexual. Will it be violent? Probably, it’s a horror game. Will it be sexist? Definitely not.
A man willing to state that his character will likely be sexualized but not in a sexist way certainly gets my vote moving forward! I look forward to watching the progress of Jeanne and seeing exactly what the game becomes.
Because I was so intrigued by this title I wanted to know a bit more about the game so I also asked a couple of other questions regarding gameplay and the overall look of the game.
Q: Can you describe a bit about how the game will play? With so many references to other game titles, it leaves me wondering what the gameplay style will be like.
A: The game will be divided in two parts: the action sequences, and the question sequences.
In the action sequences, you control Jeanne like in a regular platformer. You can climb ladders and walls, look at some elements in the background, talk with NPC and so on. There is no inventory, only a stamina/life gauge that you’ll have to look for. The more you run, climb and fall from high heights, the more Jeanne will be exhausted, which can be annoying if you’re chased by an enemy. Those action sequences will also probably include some infiltration mechanics.
The question sequences will pop up (kind of) randomly during the game. A question will be asked to Jeanne and depending on the player’s answer (among 2 choices), the game and scenario will take some new orientations. The thing is, we don’t talk about 10 or 20 questions in the whole game, but around 300. Theses questions will act like a psychological test on the game and will also be a way for me to tell the story. After answering a question, the player will be sent to another action sequence and so on.
Q: The screens that you included in your press kit are all very intriguing! It looks as if the game will take place across many different areas. Would you like to go into any detail about the various areas available to players?
A: To be perfectly true, I’m still searching what “kind” of horror I will push, and I really don’t know yet if all the visuals I sent you will be in the final game. I’m still searching, now I’m just throwing out ideas, and I’ll see which ones I’ll keep on the way.
The things I can say for sure are:
– The action will take place in a “kind of” European city (mostly inspired by Paris and Italian cities like Milan or Rome).
– There won’t be any zombies in it or Silent Hill-esque monsters. I’d prefer to look more in esoteric themes.
– Jeanne is an actress, so yeah, some sequences will take place in theaters or on movie sets.
– The pyramid on the moon will be one of the key places of the story.
There is no denying that the gameplay mechanics sound interesting. I’m digging the bits about her becoming exhausted even if that could happen at inopportune moments. We will definitely keep up with Jeanne as the game is being developed and see what sort of look the game will ultimately take on, and the various locations that will be available to players.
Checkout the trailer and be sure to let us know what you think!