Often, the game world is complete chaos. You are fighting enemies, bosses, trying to survive or are constantly on your toes, going through the next difficult stage of the game. Therefore, a special place in this whole stream of clutter is occupied by safe rooms in games, or save rooms, as they are called. Safe rooms are not found in all games, but where the environment and design are conducive to their appearance, they are a real sacred value and the only peaceful place in a hostile world. In a way, creating a good safe room in a game is a little art.
Music and Peace
A common and important element of safe rooms is music to create the right atmosphere. You may recall the Hollow Knight bench theme "Reflection"; Darkest Dungeon's "A Brief Respite" camp theme or Dark Souls' melancholic bonfire theme. But few game series have perfected safe room music like the Resident Evil series. And it's not hard to see why - over the years, the series has taken us through a hell of intense gameplay. It is precisely because of the specifics of the genre, when the player is in a running state and an atmosphere of suspense, that developers have created safe rooms as an opportunity for respite.
The theme song and typewriter are iconic elements of the Resident Evil safe room. But while each calm music theme has become synonymous with the idea of safety for many players, they are actually much more insidious than you might think. They may be safe, but the feeling is fleeting. You always understand that as soon as you leave the room you can face the nightmare that awaits you outside the door.
This deviousness, which is so often reflected in music, is a key element of the dynamics of the safe room - on the contrary, the state of security in such a dangerous world cannot fail to remind you of what remains to be encountered.
This makes the horror series effective, giving the player some respite and a moment of peace before another dangerous foray. The series has always respected the rule of inviolability of the safe room until Resident Evil 3 Remake came out this year. Nemesis insolently disturbed your peace, bursting into her. And here the solution is twofold. On the one hand: "Hey, this is the only room where I can take a breath!" But on the other hand, didn't it seem silly to you when Mr. X in RE 2 Remake got stuck in the doorway to the safe room, crouching down and staring at you like an idiot?
Such a safe room is needed in a project like Rain World. In the game you have to survive in a hostile world where absolutely everyone hunts your hero. At any moment, someone can emerge from the water or descend from the sky to grab your character. The developers set themselves the goal of making the player feel like a small scared animal and they did it well.
Your only safe haven, your little lair, is your sleeping chamber. Developers have been designing it for a long time, and at the initial stages they had a completely different idea. For example, make it pass-through. But exactly as it was a game [with one entry and exit], it made the desired effect, delimiting the refuge and the hostile world.
Safe room as a separate mechanic
The term "safe room" does not always mean small spaces, on the contrary, there are entire safe hubs and even locks. One of the best examples can be found in Warhammer: Vermintide, in The Red Moon's hotel format, in which players can upgrade equipment before embarking on their adventures. The original goal of The Red Moon Inn was to create an interactive space for players to spend time between missions.
However, when the campaign was over, the developers decided that the attack on The Red Moon would be something that would shock the players. The destruction of the hotel is symbolic in all respects - it is associated with the story of the end times, that the enemy is invincible and becomes stronger with each blow.
However, this is a rare instance of such an in-game plot twist, although we saw something similar in the recent Doom Eternal.
The Stronghold of Doom serves several functions at once as a safe room. In it, the player can not only pump using the batteries found at the levels, but also open access to secret weapons. The stronghold can be described with terms such as "man cave" - a man's lair where you can collect collectibles and decorate it with music records.
Also, according to the plot, Kan the Creator attacks her, trying to lock you in your own lair. As a result, the Stronghold acts as a safe room where you can take a break and enjoy collecting, as well as a plot element.
From the point of view of narrative, similar was in the restart of Tomb Raider, where bonfires act not only as a place where you can pump, but also as a plot element, where the heroine keeps a diary, reflects and remembers what she experienced. Moving from bonfire to bonfire, we see the growth of the heroine and perceive the new bonfire as our personal victory over the hostile world and a new chapter.
But if you remember the same bonfire in Dark Souls, in general it is a sacred thing that consolidates all your past torments.
Safe rooms affect many goals. In their simplest sense, they offer a temporary respite for those tired of the game world, but for the most part they represent centers of community interaction and overarching storytelling. In many ways, these are treacherous spaces, the very existence of which cannot but remind players of the upcoming challenges. But this strange balance best reflects their true nature.
Safe rooms in games are fixed points, a simultaneous reminder of everything you've done and what you still need to do. But they also represent an agreement between the player and the game: here we will mock you, and here you can be safe, and we will lag behind. It doesn't matter if it's a giant space station, a pitiful bonfire, or a storage room with a typewriter. .
The Topic of Article: The Art of Making Safe Rooms.