The Last Door: Low-Res Graphics, High Suspense

by on Mar.13, 2014, under developer diary, featured, the last door


One of the major inspirations for telling the story of The Last Door is through the works of H.P. Lovecraft. In the same vein as this master of horror fiction, the game takes you down ever more subtle dark paths, never quite sure what is exactly going on or who to trust.

Howard Phillips “H. P.” Lovecraft

Lovecraft was an author in the 1920s and 1930s, known for weaving stories full of dark and madness-inducing themes. Back then his works never fully caught on, but as time went on the popularity of this style of writing horror grew. While his works were heavily influenced by authors before him, such as Edgar Allen Poe, a lot of the themes used in his tales have been found to heavily influence recent tales of the dark and macabre.

What does this all mean?

Perhaps the most well-known theme used in Lovecraft’s stories is of humanity’s obsession and meddling in affairs of the occult. While the term can be used to describe a lot of things unknowable by man, in this style of horror it generally means dealing with supernatural forces that tend to look down on humans as playthings, food… or worse. The overarching story of The Last Door follows Devitt’s investigation into these otherworldly designs. In short, expect plenty of references to cults, rituals, and dark magicks.

A disturbing image or madness fueled delirium?

Another major theme that Lovecraft used in his tales of the macabre is that of slowly-encroaching insanity. Whether brought on by summoning an otherworldly being, reading a forbidden dark tome, or just coming face-to-face with unspeakable horror, it is enough to unhinge even the most hardened of wills. In The Last Door, you’ll find plenty of people gone mad and it’s these characters that help tell the story of what has happened before. Some just mutter incoherently while others actively try to thwart Devitt while still more have succumbed to their madness and commit suicide. Even Devitt himself sometimes questions his own sanity as he progresses through each chapter.

Dreamscape imagery leading towards more disturbing revelations?

Another plot device that Lovecraft often uses is telling a story through a dream or with dream-like imagery. This is most notable in the tales that take place in what is known as the “Dreamlands”. He posits that the human mind is subtle and complex and in a dream state someone’s deepest desires or fragments from past memory often surface. The Last Door makes liberal use of memory as Devitt struggles to remember his past in order to figure out what is happening to him throughout the game. Most of these flashback segments are told through dream states, usually as a surreal passage through a dark and foggy forest.

The game borrows heavily from the stylings of H.P. Lovecraft and his contemporaries. Fans of this subgenre of horror will be treated to an experience that pays homage and respect to those who have come before.

Serena Nelson
Social Media Intern
Phoenix Online Studios

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