It’s a thought we’ve all had at least once in our lives. When the lights go out, our bedrooms transform from the sanctuary of play and imagination into a frightening, pitch-black void where anything and everything is coming to get you. We think there are monsters under the bed, in the closet, in the shadows… anywhere we can’t see with our own two eyes becomes a potential portal for some creature to come into our world and drag us back into theirs. That’s why mom or dad does a monster check before flicking off the lights. That’s why we have little nightlights, to provide us with a weird little sense of security from the dangers that only exist in our imagination. Monsters hiding in the shadows is a classic concept of childhood and has inspired stories older siblings use to torment their brothers and sisters, and one fantastic Pixar film.
It’s also the inspiration for Sleep Tight, the new twin-stick shooter coming in 2018 to the Nintendo Switch and Steam. It’s being developed by We Are Fuzzy, a new development team made up of video game, television and movie veterans. Their resumes are damn impressive, working on such games as Far Cry, League of Legends, and Rainbow 6, as well as the HBO series Westworld and the hit Disney films Wreck-It Ralph and Zootopia. Oh, and also The Walking Dead. And Iron Man. And Iron Fist, but don’t hold that against them.
An impressive CV for sure, for everyone on this small team, but it doesn’t mean squat if they ain’t making a fun game. From what I have experienced of Sleep Tight, it has the chance to be something special. I had a chance to get a hands-on with the title last month in San Francisco. We Are Fuzzy co-founders Maxx Burman and Banks Boutté — yes his real first name is Banks — joined me for the session along with Chris Gouche, the wildcard. As they walked me through the game, I could see all those little, shared childhood memories present it the game.
“Everything we put in this is about hitting that nostalgia bone for everyone,” Burman told me. “That’s been a cool thing regardless of people’s age. We’ve put enough things in there that are so common for people our age that I’ve had 40-year-old women look at this game and go ‘Oh my God I did that when I was a kid.’”