It Lives in the Woods

It Lives Inside Choices.png

BOO! Halloween's almost here, and we at Pixelberry love celebrating the spookiest time of year. We've got pumpkin carving, tons of candy, and a new horror book! The newest Choices book It Lives in the Woods is a nightmarish look at past and present terrors. Can you fight off the monsters that lurk in the woods? And will your friends survive the encounter? It's all up to you in It Lives in the Woods!

I followed the sound of eerie, haunted wails to find the writers all crouched around a single laptop in the woods. To find out what the writers behind It Lives in the Woods have to say, keep reading... if you dare!

It Lives in the Woods is the second horror book in Choices. What is this one about?

Kathleen: Okay without spoiling too much, It Lives in the woods is a lighthearted woodland romp full of fuzzy friends and cool nature facts! It's fun AND educational! ...LOL, JK. Do not go into these woods. There's something in there. Something old and powerful. Something you and your little friends should never have toyed with. Now it's reawoken, and it wants you to come back to play...

Are there any new gameplay features in It Lives in the Woods? What's the deal with Nerve? More specifically, are we all doomed?!

Kathleen: The major one is Nerve Scores, which are basically a measure of how well a character is at dealing with the terrifying stuff happening to/around them. Nerve scores start out high, and are gradually chipped away over the course of the book as things get scarier and scarier. I think horror stories are most compelling when you can see the toll that the scary events are taking on the characters. With Nerve, we're trying to incorporate that feeling in a way that's realistic, but still gives players some control over the outcome (certain choices you make can boost those scores back up!). Other than that, we've got some awesome animations, and a sick new inventory system that I'm really stoked about :D

This is basically standard procedure for Inside Choices at this point, so you know what I'm gonna ask. Who can we date in this book?

Kathleen: So many people, hahaha. We've got guys and gals, tough rebels and popular kids, all super cool (and hot) in their own way.

To be honest, I was pretty freaked out playing the first two chapters. (I may have screamed in the office.) Do you ever scare yourself when you're writing?

Chelsa: Very few things scare me, except for like repaying my student loans and, in general, dolls. I will say I got chills playing some of the scenes in these first few chapters and there was some screaming involved, though less of the scared kind and more of the 'YAAAAASSSS' kind.

Kathleen: Never, except for those times when I was mid-spooky scene and you suddenly tapped on the window that's right next to my desk because you are an EVIL PERSON, JESSICA.

#SorryNotSorry, Kathleen! So in this book, you've got both friends and foes. Who is your favorite character?

Brandon: Ava is really fun (snarky characters all day every day). I'm also enjoying writing for Andy a lot. In general, it's just pretty cool to write for such a diverse cast as It Lives has. It can feel a little scary sometimes—putting these characters through the unsavory stuff that pops up in a horror story, while still trying to be inclusive and respectful—but it's also super important. It's exciting to explore the kinds of characters and subject matter that videogames don't tackle very often.

Chelsa: Ava hands down. Around the office we've been describing her as 'if me and Kathleen had a baby' but somehow more sarcastic? I also really love Britney, but I will never say no to writing a mean girl.

Kathleen: Hahaha, I was gonna say Ava but I had a feeling everyone else would pick her too so I'm gonna talk about someone else. I have a special soft spot for Jocelyn, partially because physically intimidating women are so rare in fiction, and partially because she's a much-needed source of comic relief in a pretty dark story. Here's hoping she learns the error of her ways and stops being such a jerk to people.

What's it like to write for a horror book as opposed to a series belonging to a different genre?

Chelsa: When I first started working for Choices I was asked what my dream book to work on would be and horror was number 2 on my list. Up until now I've been leading The Sophomore, so working on It Lives was definitely a change but one that I couldn't be more excited about! It's been really fun branching out and working in the romance genre, but working with these guys on It Lives feels like getting back to basics.

Brandon: So, when I wrote for The Crown & The Flame, one thing I think I leaned on pretty heavily was a lot of big florid event texts and descriptions. In practice, though, those don't work very well in a horror game, as they really kill the momentum. So that shift has entailed a lot of adjustment. And red ink. And sobbing.

Kathleen: I'm just stoked that I get to use modern slang in dialogue. Writing in fantasy-speak all the time is hard, man.

Sounds like It Lives in the Woods will be the ultimate test of courage. Any final advice for players?

Chelsa: For the maximum spooky experience, PLAY WITH YOUR SOUND ON. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Kathleen: Be nice to your friends <3

Brandon: (frantically scribbled in blood) RUN

Yikes! To those reading along: What do you think of the new horror book? With the holidays on the horizon, we've got plenty planned - including a brief return to Rules of Engagement with Newlyweds, a holiday special epilogue, and other new books that might just be set on a certain mysterious island...

-Jessica