Soap and skin
Serial Cleaner hands players a mop and some body bags
Serial Cleaner is a macabre PC stealth game in which you must get your employers off the hook by clearing up gory crime scenes while disposing of incriminating weapons and bodies. The salmon-tinted game looks like it has been wood-block printed, but the overall aesthetic is from a more recent era.
“We tried to capture the feel of the ’70s while figuring out a style that would be immediately recognisable and unique,” game designer and writer Krzysztof Zi ba tells us. “Everything from the angles to the colour palette is inspired by authentic ’70s design, but morphed through a lens that the art team worked out early in the game’s development.”
The flat art style has thrown up a few problems for the game’s designers, especially when the player character moves behind walls – an issue solved by displaying him as an orange silhouette whenever occluded. Each level is also inspired by a real crime scene from the era, which initially seems like an inapposite component of an otherwise irreverent-feeling game.
“We thought it would add an air of authenticity to the game’s ’70s setting – it was the decade of the serial killer, after all,” Zi ba explains. “We reference them, but rarely in overt ways, because we understand that it’s a grim, and still relatively recent, topic. The game’s story focuses on a mysterious character who is tied to historical murders, so it will become apparent as the player progresses through the plot that those ‘inspirations’ make perfect sense.”
Currently in Steam Early Access, Serial Cleaner is planned for release at the beginning of 2017.