Wailing Heights, a gorgeous hand-drawn comic book adventure, launches on PS4 today

Hello! Stephen Downey here from Outsider Games, proudly announcing that our hand-drawn adventure game, Wailing Heights, launches today!

Wailing Heights

Every line in the game was meticulously produced by our small development team, and I wanted to show how we went about creating the unique comic book styled world of Wailing Heights.

At the very formation of the idea – a body-hopping adventure game set in a peaceful, blood-curdling village inhabited by hipster vampires, gossiping ghosts and vegan werewolves – we knew we wanted the game to look and feel like a comic book brought to life.

To help us populate the town, we teamed up with some of our favourite comic book legends to create concept art for the characters. As a longtime comic reader, working alongside renowned artists like Preacher cover artist, Glenn Fabry, and John McCrea, who has drawn everything from Hitman to Batman and Spider-Man, was an amazing creative experience. As traditional artists, they worked with pen, paper and ink to create truly awesome pieces of original art to inspire our world.

Wailing Heights

Pictured: Soul Ghoulman, Public Defender, concept by Glenn Gabry hand-drawn in pencil

You start the game as Francis Finklestein, a washed-up singer-songwriter who hasn’t had a gig in 40 years. After a disastrous booking mix-up, you end up in a town full of modern monsters, and locked in a holding cell for the crime of ‘Not Being Dead Yet’. Fortunately an escaping prisoner shows you how to sing your soul into other monsters, and you find yourself on an escape attempt from Wailing Heights, body-hopping from one creature to another, and possessing their supernatural powers.

Translating the character concepts into digital animated characters fell on the shoulders of Outsider Games’ lead artist and animator, John McFarlane. John had the daunting task of hand-drawing and animating every one of our monstrous inhabitants and making the undead feel alive. John had drawn a few comics himself and was more than up to the task, with the characters walking, talking, flying and floating as if cut from the pages of a comic.

Having drawn a few comics myself, I was able to work with John and design some of the of the backgrounds. Our process followed the digital version of the traditional comic drawing method – starting with rough layouts, adding details in the pencils stage, finishing the linework in a black ink style, and adding colours under the lines.

Wailing Heights

The Town Hall – from linework to finished art.

Throughout your adventure in Wailing Heights, you’ll body-hop into quite a few of the locals. To complete the comic book feel, each character comes with their own Secret Origin comic book that’s only revealed when you possess them. For those quirky tales we recruited the best talent from the comic indie scene, tasking them with creating a little glimpse of our characters’ lives before they became the undead!

Wailing Heights

A snippet from Abnorm’s Origin Story – by indie comic creators Cy Dethan, Ruairí Coleman and Omi Remalante

Now that the game has launched, we’re really excited to hear what you thought of our body-hopping, monstrous adventure. If you manage to escape from Wailing Heights, please let us know what you thought on Twitter and Facebook.

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