Neverending Nightmares scared its way onto Steam on September 26. Highly praised for its dark, personal story, sound design, and artistic direction, it’s one of this reviewer’s favorite horror games of the year. I reached out to Infinitap Games’ Matt Gilgenbach to get the scoop on his spooky indie title.
Jake Richards: So Matt, you’ve said that Neverending Nightmares is in part inspired by your own struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. What would you like to say to fans of your title who also struggle with mental illness?
Matt Gilgenbach: It gets better! When I was at my worst point, I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but through therapy, medication, and a lot of hard work, I was able to find happiness. It’s still a struggle, but I’ve gained tools to deal with my illness.
JR: There are multiple endings in Neverending Nightmares – is there a “true” ending? Does Thomas’ nightmare ever end?
MG: There is no true ending. Even though Thomas wakes up, he still struggles with mental illness, so his nightmare is not over.
JR: You touched on several phobias throughout the game – fear of dolls, hospitals, asylums, etc. Are there any you’d like to explore in a future game?
MG: Definitely! I have plenty of fears left, but I want to keep them as a surprise for future projects.
JR: The pen-and-ink, Edward Gorey inspired style of NN has been very well received. Were there other stylistic directions left on the cutting room floor, perhaps something in the Shel Silverstein or Quentin Blake vein? Would you go in such a direction for another title?
MG: We did concepts in a variety of styles including ones inspired by Tim Burton’s work before we settled on the style of Neverending Nightmares. For future titles, we are definitely looking at other styles and may revisit some of those or come up with new styles.
JR: As Thomas descends into his nightmares the world around him becomes increasingly decrepit – most notably, his childhood home. What is this supposed to represent?
MG: The way the nightmares get worse mirrors my personal battle with mental illness. I thought I hit rock bottom and things couldn’t get any worse, but things always managed to find a way to get worse. That’s what we wanted to portray with the mansion falling apart and the increased gore. Even the “reality” of the nightmares begin to fall apart as things get really surreal at the end.
JR: There are many enemies Thomas needs to avoid in NN (the blind inmate/patients, horrific baby doll, etc.). What do these foes mean to Thomas?
MG: They represent different emotions that Thomas is struggling with – things like guilt, regret, loss, and self-loathing.
JR: What are your plans now? Will we be seeing a sequel to NN, something similar, or something entirely new?
MG: We are waiting to see how Neverending Nightmares does in terms of sales, but we are interested in improving on what we built and creating a similar game. It wouldn’t be a direct sequel though since I don’t really have more to say about Thomas and his journey.
JR: You can pick up Neverending Nightmares for $15.00 USD on Steam. I recommend it for frightenthusiasts everywhere.