Sense - Interview @TheGG
TheGG interviewed Benjamin Suzaku, developer of Sense - A cyberpunk ghost story, about Cyberpunk waifus, horror, and thoughts on censorship and cancel culture.
What could you tell us about “Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story”? And how did you even come up with the idea for the game and title name in the first place? And is “Sense” a game that you have wanted to create for a long time?
Sense is a game I’ve wanted to make for nearly a decade. Fatal Frame is in my top three favorite game series of all time, and the sparse releases (particularly in the US) left this giant hole in my chest, especially after the butchered US release of Fatal Frame 5.
I wanted to make a game that wouldn’t just fill that void, but be something different that I personally would kill to play. I loved Fatal Frame 4, and especially 5’s attention to the waifu player characters, and pushing that line further was always a core idea of mine.
The narrative, though, was meant to be a Japanese ghost story set in the cyberpunk world I had been creating.
No culture gets ghost stories better than the Japanese, and pulling as much as I could from literature, movies, and even manga I wrote something that was based on a true story from where I was living at the time.
It was my wife’s suggestion to switch the Japanese setting to Hong Kong, which is where she’s originally from.
We realized that Hong Kong is a rarely used setting in video games. Even cyberpunk stories, which pull a huge amount of their aesthetic from Kowloon and other older areas in HK, rarely go the full mile.
We also found almost no Cantonese culture presented anywhere in media. I fell in love with Hong Kong the first time I visited and wanted to share that with the world in my own way.
The other key aspect was the biggest and most unique thing, hence the title “A Cyberpunk Ghost Story”. Horror and cyberpunk are very rarely mixed, Observer did it 3 years after I started writing what’d became sense (and a few months after I began earnest development), but at the time Cyberpunk Horror was a totally untapped genre.
It was really exciting, and still is because almost no one’s doing it, and no one is doing an old fashioned ghost story in the setting but us.