"There is not place like this, it's magical and rare..." These are the haunting words used to describe Space Lizard Studios newest nightmare, Paper Cut Mansion. An Amazon employee's worst nightmare, you play as a cardboard man trying to escape the multi-roomed prison you find yourself in. In an interview with The Indie Game Website, Space Lizard Studio's Gabriele Caruso teases the character's origins. “You start in one little room as a dude who was once human but then turned into a paper doll via some sort of crazy ritual.." It is possible that the ritual was performed by the performer of the song in the announcement trailer, who sings "two arms, two legs, I've cut you good..." and "if you say no, my efforts will be in vain." Though it will be interesting to see if the faceless singer makes an appearance in the game itself, and what their role is in all this.
Moving from room to procedurally generated room; players must solve the various rooms puzzles, like picking locks and finding codes, in order to proceed. This can only be done by picking up and examining furniture, which could randomly contain cardboard-cut enemies that will pop out and attack you. These random attacks can occur at anytime, as enemies have the ability to fold themselves up in order to hide in plain site as different objects. While the enemies can't attack you, you do carry a cardboard rifle of some sort and are able to shoot enemies. Though the real danger lies in the "terror mechanic" which can permanently send your character to the graveyard if levels raise to high. Sort of reminds me of running through the halls of the dungeon being chased by the Gatherers in Amnesia.
According to Space Lizard Studio's Gabriele Caruso "My colleagues and I were in a transition phase after the launching of our previous game Dragon Bros for Xbox One, and during that time I was moving home and was surrounded by cardboard boxes." This experience is what inspired Paper Cut Mansions crafty aesthetic, akin to games like Bendy and the Ink Machine. Though this handcrafted arty style did not come without its pains and labor. The team created real-life cardboard models of the characters and environments, and then used 3D modelling software to bring their world to light. It was vital to the team that the cardboard didn't lose its imperfections in the scanning, as the defects are what emphasize the characters eerie structures that in turn brings about feelings of fear and anxiety through the experience and game play. Caruso looked to these feelings for inspiration, saying "The emptiness of the new house, and being surrounded by cardboard boxes, made me think that being alone with them one one of the most terrifying things. This is how we came up with the concept, the fear of the darkness of the unknown in a cardboardish atmosphere."
While there is no release date for Paper Cut Mansion, fans can support the Kickstarter that is set to launch this Spring. You can watch the full trailer, complete with a Danny Elfman-esque song below: