Interview: Rime & The Sexy Brutale’s Tequila Works

The Sexy Brutale, a 3D Puzzle & Adventure game, developed by Cavalier Game Studios and Tequila Works for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, has been in development for the past several years, and to date the developers have working hard on creating the game, as well as masterfully building hype for the upcoming release. With the release of gameplay trailers, character trailers and more, you can tell that the developers mastered the art of the hype – as well as of game development – even long before they created RIME.

The Sexy Brutale Tequila Works RIME Steam PlayStation 4 PC
The Sexy Brutale unveiled its Reginald Sixpence character several months ago.

The Sexy Brutale is set to have a number of features, including:

  • Never ending “Groundhog Day” looping time gameplay, creating a unique way for players to freely engage
    with concurrent stories
  • Spy, eavesdrop and hide in order to learn each individual narrative playing out across the mansion. – Intriguing murder mystery puzzles to be solved through investigation and deduction.
  • The mansion forms a fully interlocked “clockwork” world that ultimately tells one grand, twisting story
  • A colorful and varied cast of characters and a stylish art direction make The Sexy Brutale a unique-looking game.

Developed over three years between Cavalier Game Studios and Tequila Works, The Sexy Brutale is the name of the grand casino mansion where a series of horrifying murders take place during the annual masked ball. Players take on the role of elderly priest Lafcadio Boone, and must hide and spy on guests and staff alike to solve and prevent each murder before the clock strikes midnight, during a never-ending Groundhog Day that will not stop until all the mansion’s dark secrets are revealed.

Ahead of the game’s release on April 11, we sat down with Tequila Works to talk about The Sexy Brutale.

Lionhead veterans Tom Lansdale and Charles Griffiths, along with his brother James Griffiths, brought an early build to Tequila Works for some criticism. What was about this build that made the team want to take part in creating The Sexy Brutale?

The concept behind The Sexy Brutale was absolutely brilliant. You have this clockwork casino mansion and those iconic characters – coupled with an enthralling story and fun game mechanics. In short, we loved the game from the moment we saw it. However, that early prototype was … let’s just say it wasn’t pretty, and we thought it would be a shame if prospective publishers didn’t appreciate how great the game is because of its looks. Thus, we proposed that Cavalier Game Studios co-produce the game – improving on the art style and visuals … and helping the game become as beautiful as it deserved to be.

Speaking of the early build, has much of the concept changed since then, aside from new features etc.?

Apart from the visual style and some gameplay polishing, The Sexy Brutale has remained the same since Tequila Works first saw it. The game mechanics, puzzles, characters, and the narrative were so well defined from the beginning that they didn’t change that much at all.

The Sexy Brutale is a co-production between Tequila Works and Cavalier Game Studios. What was it that you think each studio brought to the game, aside from the talent that both studios have?

In addition to our obvious contributions to the game (Cavalier Game Studios working on the concept, story and mechanics; Tequila Works defining the art style), we think the cultural mix really enhanced the production values of The Sexy Brutale. The narrative is very British, for example – but the artists who worked on the title are predominantly from Western Europe (Spain and France) … and that juxtaposition of cultures really made the game a more interesting proposition.

The game has a Groundhog Day puzzle concept – players repeat the same day over and over again through the eyes of different characters. Obviously, the movie must have been some form of influence. Were there any other movies, or other pieces of pop culture, that influenced the game?

The Groundhog Day film is indeed a clear influence for The Sexy Brutale. We also took inspiration from other video games, like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – and other lesser known games that explored the Groundhog Day proposition (like Gregory Horror Show or Chulip).

A couple of months ago, players got a glimpse of Reginald Sixpence, one of The Sexy Brutale’s characters, and he’s pretty unique to say the least. What other kinds of characters can players expect when the game is released?

There are nine guests that you need to save in the casino mansion, and each of them has a story arc in The Sexy Brutale. It’s imperative that player learns the characters’ routines during the day in order to find a way to prevent the murders. The player takes on the role of Lafcadio Boone – an elderly priest with a gambling addiction past. Other guests include Trinity Carrington (also known as “The Moth by Moonlight”) – a blind artist with a very acute sense of hearing. And of course, there is the mysterious Marquis…

The player can get occult-like powers through saving characters. What kind of powers can players expect?

The Sexy Brutale features a “metroidvania” style of gameplay. In order to progress through the game and visit rooms that were previously inaccessible, you need to gain the power of the guest’s masks. Every guest has his or her own abilities, which you will acquire after you save their lives and pick up their masks. In Reginald Sixpence’s case, you earn the ability to sync with the clocks around the mansion. With Trinity, we can obtain her “super hearing.” We’ll disclose more abilities in the near future.

The Sexy Brutale is a puzzle/adventure game. Many studios have tried to blend the two genres together and haven’t been too successful – either making it too much of an adventure, or by making the puzzles too difficult for players. Was it difficult to get the perfect blend of puzzle and adventure?

In The Sexy Brutale, the puzzles are the guests’ stories – meaning that they’re fully integrated into the game’s narrative. Making both aspects an integral part of the gameplay means that (in our opinion) we have balanced them quite successfully.

The Sexy Brutale is scheduled to be released on April 11, obviously not too long from now. Is there much else to finish for the game, or is it just a matter of polishing off its features?

Yes, the game is pretty much complete – and we are in the final stages of polishing and optimizing it for the different platforms. The wait is almost over!


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