Dusk Creator Believes The Game Could Work As A “Grimy Action/Horror Film”

David Szymanski has expressed that he has many plans for his existing IPs

Story Highlights

  • Dusk HD is a free optional remaster of the original Dusk and was released on December 11, 2023.
  • The retro FPS-inspired game is popular for its fast-paced, brutal, and fun gameplay.
  • We interviewed David Szymanski, Creator of Dusk, to get more insights into Dusk HD and his work.

Dusk fans have received a pleasant surprise this year on the game’s 5th anniversary as New Blood Interactive and developer David Szymanski released a complete visual overhaul of the base game with additional tweaks in the form of a free optional DLC. All the HD models, textures, weapons, etc., can be found on Steam Workshop, allowing players to create anything they want with the Dusk Software Development Kit or SDK.

David Szymanski has grown immensely popular for creating titles like Dusk, Iron Lung, Squirrel Stapler, etc. And to see him returning to a 5-year-old title for a complete remaster of almost every single texture was surely a surprise. As such, we spoke with David over an email interview to understand how a small project scaled into something this big and where he plans to go from here.

Read ahead for the full interview.

DUSK HD – New Blood Interactive.

Was Dusk HD something you wanted to make as a treat for the fans or as a basis for something bigger?
Szymanski: Dusk HD started years back as just a reskin of weapons and enemies as a way to showcase the Dusk SDK’s functionality. Over the years, it gradually and kind of unintentionally turned into a full remaster covering the entire game, which now gives fans a different way to experience the game. At the moment, there are no plans to use it as the basis for something bigger, but with New Blood, you never know exactly where things will go.

Aside from the remaster, is there a sequel or a spin-off you want to do within this IP?
Szymanski: We’ve thrown around different ideas for DLC or a sequel, but at the moment, we’re all busy with other projects, so it’s hard to say when or if something else Dusk might happen.

With Dusk HD now released and a separate, sort-of remastered release of Squirrel Stapler currently available, are there plans for a similar treatment for your other titles?
Szymanski: In a sense, yeah. A standalone polished-up version of The Pony Factory will be released in the near future, and since 2024 is the 10-year anniversary of my game, The Moon Sliver, I keep thinking about doing a big anniversary update that would bring the game up to current standards as far as things like compatibility, settings, etc go.
DUSK HD – via New Blood Interactive

Iron Lung is getting its movie adaptation, directed by none other than Markiplier. What has it been like working alongside Markiplier?
Szymanski: It’s been awesome. There are a lot of moving parts, so I’m not always in the loop about everything, but he’s gone above and beyond to keep me involved and informed whenever possible, to the point where I was invited to the set for the duration of principle photography and have been consulted during post-production for all sorts of stuff, from edits to music to a few rewrites and even some special effects. It also helps that Mark and I are mostly on the exact same page when it comes to the general vibe and vision of the movie, and even when we disagree on the minutia, it’s easy to come to an understanding because, ultimately, we both want the same thing: a really good horror film. It’s much the same as when Dave Oshry, Andrew Hulshult, and I were working on Dusk, where there were plenty of disagreements, but it wasn’t too difficult to all get on the same page because the main goal was always making good art, regardless of which ideas stuck and which ideas didn’t.

And how has the experience been working on a movie that differs greatly from indie game development?
Szymanski: Probably the biggest difference between the Iron Lung movie and the games I usually work on is just the number of people involved. Iron Lung is actually a pretty small film, and its creation still involves many, many times more voices contributing to it than I’ve ever worked with in games. I get the impression that managing people and organizing workflows and stuff like that is as much part of the job of directing creative decisions. That’s also true of team-based game development, but it just seems to be so much more so in film.

The movie received an official trailer some time ago, and it looks really good. Still, we don't know much about the cast, the development, the possible release window, and so much more. Can you shed some light on these topics?
Szymanski: Unfortunately, no, but you’ll see more soon enough!
DUSK HD – via New Blood Interactive

Is there any other title from your catalog that you would love to see turned into a movie?
Szymanski: I think Dusk could work as a sort of grimy action/horror film, but next on my personal list would be Squirrel Stapler. I think a lot of the basic concepts and the tone could make for a really weird and unsettling horror film if done right.

You also have another video game in the works, Butcher's Creek. Can you tell us more about it?
Szymanski: There isn’t much to share YET, apart from the fact that it’s modeled heavily off of the Monolith game Condemned: Criminal Origins, with a lot of atmosphere/tone references taken from Rockstar’s Manhunt.

Dusk was a brutal, fast-paced throwback shooter, but it also had various immersive sim elements that let you go through certain obstacles creatively, like stacking boxes to skip areas or clearing levels without fighting enemies. What is it like to go all out on the other end of the spectrum while working on a stealth-focused immersive sim with Gloomwood?
Szymanski: I think the AI is actually the biggest difference, although I haven’t done much firsthand programming with it. In Dusk, there wasn’t any need to worry about things like patrol paths, etc. You just had to consider when enemies would see the player. With Gloomwood, it’s much less about designing enemy encounters and more about designing enemy behavior, and the encounters the player has with those enemies can happen in all sorts of different ways and sometimes in all sorts of different areas. It has a sort of domino effect on everything else in the game, like level design and balance, etc.

Is there anything else you would love to share with the audience? Something we haven't touched upon yet.
Szymanski: Nothing comes to mind.

YouTube video

Dusk was developed by David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive. Dusk HD is a complete visual overhaul of the original DUSK and was released on Steam on the game’s 5th Anniversary, dated December 11, 2023

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Mudassir is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the stories behind our favorite virtual worlds. Armed with a trusty notepad and a keen curiosity, he dives headfirst into the gaming industry's most exciting personalities. His knack for insightful questions and his ability to connect with developers and gamers alike makes his interviews a must-read. While on the lookout for the next person to interview, Mudassir keeps himself busy by writing news surrounding the gaming universe. Experience: 4+ Years || Senior Journalist || Education: Bachelor's in Psychology.

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