We wanted the narrative of the game to move from the outdoors, to the indoors and then finally to the unknown nightmarescape. The concept I had for the first level was to make the forest look like wallpaper patterns while still maintaining the feel of a forest space.
The one thing that I felt worked the best visually with my design was the very visceral paper rip. Even if the player became so immersed that they forgot that the scenery was not just stylized nature, the obvious paper quality of the rips would pull them out of that leaving them unsettled.
One comment we heard repeatedly was that tearing the paper was very satisfying which was in keeping with the feeling we were hoping to inspire in the player.
All other characters, save for the player, were meant to look like shadows in the wall.
For these designs I was looking to take the key terms that came up in “The Yellow Wallpaper” such as: medicine, the nurse, babies, fungus, dank rot, etc. and use them to inform the shape of the enemies.
When designing the Shadow Woman, the boss that sends out the smaller enemies, I wanted her to come from the player’s own shadow, to make it clear to the player that they are fighting against themselves.
As the game dealt with issues of mental health and depression I wanted the enemies to be the things that this character would be worried or paranoid about. So I had the Shadow Woman’s mouth rip open to spew out smaller enimies at the player.
When the concept of the Shadow Woman was placed in the game it became apparent that greater exaggeration needed to be made to her mouth otherwise she ended up looking more like a muppet than a scary shadow monster.