GOG Interview: learn more about Kholat from its creators on anniversary of The Dyatlov Pass Incident

Kholat – an amazing survival horror FPP title with core elements of adventure and exploration was developed and published by IMGN.PRO studio. Unsettling atmosphere, combined with its eerie soundtrack, sense of unease and suspense, and its impeccable setting makes it an absolute gem of a horror genre. In Kholat you’ll navigate through vast, snowy wilderness and uncover the truth while avoiding dangerous supernatural forces, all with a non-linear story, allowing your own pace of exploration.
But at the heart of it lies an unsolved mystery. The game is based on the real-life Dyatlov Pass Incident, a tragic event which this year marks its 64th anniversary. As a tribute to hikers who lost their lives in the Incident, we’ve prepared a special interview with Łukasz Kubiak from IMGN.PRO. As one of the creators of the game, he’ll tell us more about the Dyatlov Pass Incident, its connection with Kholat, possibility of a sequel to the title and more!
We hope you’ll enjoy reading the interview, as much as we’ve enjoyed talking to Łukasz.
The Dyatlov Pass Incident marks its 64th anniversary this year. This tragic event in the Ural Mountains managed to influence many pop-culture works, as well be the inspiration for Kholat. Could you elaborate more on the Incident and why you chose it as an inspiration for your game?
The Dyatlov Pass Incident was a mysterious event that occurred in the Ural Mountains in 1959, where 9 experienced hikers died under strange circumstances. The official cause of death was hypothermia, but the circumstances surrounding their deaths and the state of their bodies (such as missing clothing and internal injuries) have led to numerous conspiracy theories and speculation. The incident has been the subject of many books, movies, and TV shows due to its mysterious nature.
We chose the incident because of its eerie and unexplained elements, which are perfect for a horror-themed game. The setting and events of the Dyatlov Pass Incident provided a backdrop for the game's story, which features the player exploring the Ural Mountains in search of the truth behind the hikers' deaths. We used some motives of the incident to create a suspenseful and atmospheric experience for players, using the mysterious elements of the incident as a basis for the game's lore and story.
It seems that when it comes to the horror genre as a whole, what makes people experience fear the most are things that originate from real life. Do you agree with that? And if yes, why would you say that is?
Yes, I do agree. People experience fear the most when they can relate the horror elements to real life situations, events, or possibilities. This is because fear is often rooted in the unknown or uncertain, and by grounding horror elements in real life, the fear becomes more tangible and therefore, more intense. Additionally, people often find it easier to imagine themselves in real-life scenarios, increasing the fear factor.
Mysterious and unsolved story, inhospitable yet beautiful scenery, chilling (both literally and metaphorically) atmosphere and tension. Looks like Kholat was bound to be a successful horror game from the very concept. But what was the hardest part in making it work?
I would say the atmosphere was the most challenging part of the game. As we knew that gameplay wouldn't be too complicated, we needed to craft a suspenseful and creepy atmosphere. That can be demanding, as it requires attention to detail and a strong understanding of what makes players feel scared.
Kholat was well-received by both critics and players. With such a great story we would love to have a continuation. Why didn’t we receive it? Are there perhaps plans for it?
I can most certainly say we have toyed with planning the next Kholat game. That would be a whole new story, but yet rooted in the first part. We are actively exploring options, as our biggest constraint is budget for the vision - we do not want to make any compromises in production. Until we are confident that Kholat 2 can be executed in full scale of our conception, I cannot share more details.
Is there a message you’d like to give to players discovering or rediscovering Kholat with the Dyatlov Pass Incident anniversary?
Keep your eyes wide open, listen to the incredible soundscape created by Arek Reikowski, and immerse yourself in the highly intriguing world of Kholat. At the same time, keep in mind the memory of the Diatlov group, whose death remains a partially unsolved mystery due to the machinations of the Soviet authorities.
We’d like to thank Łukasz very much for talking with us and shedding more light about this incredible game and its inspiration. If you are interested in playing Kholat (which we highly recommend), now is the best time to do so. Until February 7th, 11 PM UTC, you can enjoy a -85% discount. All of the aforementioned elements of Kholat create a unique and memorable gaming experience that will stay with you for a very long time.
Oh, and if you'd like to grab beautiful postcards from Kholat given to our community by IMGN.PRO just click HERE. Enjoy!