The Whispers In Between

Sam Luckhardt

In a joint venture with the Cologne Game Lab, Sam Luckhardt and Sven David Gießelmann set out to build the base for their mystery Half-Life: Alyx Mod "The Whispers In Between". Follow Atlas as he descends into the mists of his family’s distant past. Welcome to Sleeper’s Shallows. The project itself is inspired by Knives Out, A Cure For Wellness, Silent Hill, and Bioshock, utilizing environmental foreshadowing concepts and liminal spaces.

Sam Luckhardt

Narrative game designer & freelance writer (Path of Exile 2 and others); co-hosts the Industry Idiots Game Design Show & Podcast

What is a good design for you?

When it isn't perfect. Nothing is more dull than a perfectly streamlined min-maxed design. Provide your players with variety, fun before function. Story to bring life to the game world, not a story with a bit of game inside.

Who or what inspires you?

My brilliant father, who has been goofing off with me throughout my life no matter how dire the times and no matter who disapproved and rolled their eyes. His disregard for age restriction labels on games has brought me many blissful memories. My loving mother who has been telling me to make games and write for a living since I was but a wee lad (and has some amount of grey hairs for it, sorry mom, should've listened sooner), my best friends and brothers Jim, Sven and Robbie who I love wholeheartedly, Ted Lasso, Shawn Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Brandon Sanderson, Steve Erikson, Gruselkabinett, Tim Burton, Tucker's Abenteuer, Dean Tate, Susan O'Connor, Edwin McRae, The Stanley Parable, Frog Fractions, Rayman Hoodlum Havoc, Crazy Fliers, Spy Fox: Dry Cereal, Crusader of Centy, Ratchet and Clank, Bioshock Series, Digimon Rumble Arena 2, Witcher 3, Crazy Machines, Max Payne 2, Knives Out, Metal Slug Series, Autos bauen mit Willy Werkel, Looney Tunes: Marvin Strikes Back!, Pokémon Yellow & Ruby, Simpsons Hit and Run, Red Dead Revolver, Tales of Maj Eyal, Tonic Trouble, Citi Mining, Empire Earth, Metal Arms Glitch in the System, War of the Monsters, Mäusejagd im Grandhotel, Kellogs Tony and Friends the new Adventures, Alien Tequila, Liere, Counter-Strike, Lord of the Rings, The Hateful 8,

How do you approach a new project?

Establish shared understanding, develop a visual mood and atmosphere, design locations and characters, design narrative timeline and rough story beats, write.

What advice would you give to students who just started studying in your programme?

As Mary Poppins said: “We are at the brink of an adventure, children, don't spoil it with too many questions!" Enjoy the ride.

Have you changed during your studies? How?

For the longest time, I was scared I had lost my way, but over time and through the help of many wonderful friends, empathy has found its way into my heart, and in the process, resuscitating my love for forging words and building worlds now and forever brimming with passion.

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – André Gide A man can only take so many repetitious law lectures and secure finance jobs until he does what his heart desires.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

After a good and long night's sleep, I'll be wandering off into the depths of the forest, filling my lungs with the fresh country air.

Say hi!

3 comments in total

Bro99 2021-02-13 00:10:49

Sven is right doe!

ednarine 2021-02-12 21:01:58

das ist so insane!!! arghhhhhh

Sven 2021-02-12 19:08:09

Greatest project ever submitted to UE, checks out

Gema Parejo-Martin