Monstrum is a procedurally generated survival horror game which finds players stranded on a labyrinthine abandoned cargo ship filled with traps, environmental hazards and another passenger in the shape of a terrifying and deadly beast.
With no way to take down your pursuer you must search the ship for possible escape routes while using your wits, guile and whatever you have at hand to outwit and outrun the predator that stalks the halls.
Combining permadeath, a variety of different hunters and a procedurally generated ship that changes its layout every time, Monstrum is a challenging and punishing game that aims to be a truly replayable horror experience.
Team Junkfish met during their 3rd year group project at Abertay University, when the (then) 9 of them stood in front of the several hundred other students pitching their project and looking for a sound guy.
We work together in a house that has a living room big enough to fit all 10 of them in it, and some spare room for some of them to live there too. We work in 2 to 3 week sprints with some people in dedicated roles, such as a few of the programmers and artists, with others taking on multiple responsibilities such as the directors.
We developed Monstrum as we wanted to make a horror game that was truly replayable, avoiding pre-scripted scares that lose their impact on repeated playthroughs. We took roguelike elements such as procedurally generated levels and permadeath and combined them with AI driven monsters which are always active on the ship, hunting for the player and responding to their actions. Players can use this to their advantage by using distractions and tools of their own to lure the monsters away from critical areas or keep them at bay, as opposed to simply running and hiding from the monster whenever it was nearby.
The decision for the setting was based on Grant's fear of being stranded at sea, and that we wanted players to feel trapped by their surroundings. We felt that landlocked locations such as hospitals and asylums have issues of being cliched, overused, and generally escapable through a number of means (such as windows), while the sea tends to be a bit more fickle. The actual decor of the ship is based around '70s stylings, referencing British influence and television shows/cinema from the time.
We were also heavily influenced by the likes of The Cabin in The Woods and Lost when it worldbuilding, with a focus on ambiguity about the player's actual situation. Players can find information scattered around the ship regarding the previous occupants and what happened to them, or regarding the hows and whys of their situation, if they chose to look for it.