“Tarantino is another influence,” Mitton continues. “He covered the 60s and he has these incredibly colorful, influential characters. The aesthetic is so simple and we remember all these scenes and characters. Other movies can be a little more muddy. Since Deathloop is about remembering, I thought it was a good support. To move forward through the story you need to remember and you need to bring your memories from one loop to the next. So having that simplicity was important. We did not want a complicated game visually too much going on. ”
Deathloop‘s island is a strange mix of modernist architecture, Scottish stone castles – which will seem familiar to visitors to Dunwell from Arkane’s previous games Shamed– and a tight, treeless landscape. On top of the Faroe Islands, which Arkane has mentioned in previews, Mitton tells me that they wanted to capture the isolated landscapes of Northern Scotland (as shown in this short film by Scottish test cycling legend Danny MacAskill). “At the same time, we looked elsewhere with cold environments. Mostly around the two poles, ”Mitton explains. “Of course, I can not just buy airline tickets, so I would go on Google Earth and use Street View to walk around.”
Several places stood out off Mitton, such as the Falkland Islands near Argentina. “The structure of the mountain is striking. It is very deserted, woodless and not very inviting. There were also places in northern Russia – gas extraction stations that are extremely deserted and need a whole week to travel there. There are even some cities built in the 60s there. They look almost like something from Half-Life 2. In them you have all these shops and casinos, because when you go there, it’s a whole year, and planes and boats do not just come and go. ”
Arkane was eager to capture this idea of an extremely isolated but relatively built-up settlement. In addition to having its share of villainous lairs, concrete bunkers and secret laboratories, Blackreef has its own amusement park complex, a rooftop terrace and even a sumptuous, renovated castle with a dance floor and a comedy club. It also crawls with the hedonistic Eternalists, characters eager to get the most out of the recurring time loop by holding an eternal, hallucinogen-driven party.
“It’s like in the movie Things: Events take place far away from the rest of the world and you are only focused on what is going on there, ”says Mitton. “We wanted to place things in a place where no one would go on vacation, and then build our science fiction and narrative on top of that.”
The color of architecture
In terms of architecture, Deathloop builds on what Arkane started with Shamed. “Our goal with Dunwall was to make it very cold and dark,” Mitton says. “With Deathloop, we would contrast it with the 60s and with color. Color began to go on the walls, the interior, the island’s NPCs. It shows a little of their inner life; they want to live an eternal life and hold this eternal feast.
“Every day has to be a party, you can kill people or die, and it doesn’t matter. Everything is very easy and we wanted it to be obvious. So we painted whole buildings, a bit like some of the pubs you see in England, which can be quite graphic. There is also the movie High Plains Drifter, with Clint Eastwood. There is a scene where he comes to protect a village and everything in the village is painted red, right in the middle of the desert. It’s really beautiful and we thought, let’s continue like this! ”