Our interview with Chris Darril, the brilliant creative mind behind Bye Sweet Carole, the disturbing and gruesome interactive giallo-adventure that blends Disneyesque aesthetics with Hitchcockian style, coming this year to PC and Consoles.

Bye Sweet Carole

Mario Cristopher Darril Valenti, better known as Chris Darril, is an Italian game developer and author born in Catania on April 13, 1989. He’s also the founder of the independent game studio, Little Sewing Machine.

Known in the gaming world as the creator of the Remothered series and for his contributions to Project Scissors: NightCry, Chris has worked alongside industry luminaries such as Masahiro Ito and Takashi Shimizu. Chris is a versatile individual with exceptional talents. Since childhood, he found his calling in both cinema and video games.

Clearly, Remothered and NightCry only scratch the surface of Chris Darril’s expansive portfolio. A single page wouldn’t suffice to list all of his creative projects.

Driven by his deep passion and nostalgia for Walt Disney’s iconic style, he set out to revive traditional animation to its former grandeur. In doing so, he sought to merge his love for animation with what undoubtedly stands as his primary predilection, seamlessly integrating the quintessential Disney aesthetic into a horror-themed adventure. His aspiration was to capture the essence reminiscent of classics like Clock Tower and Alone in the Dark. This vision is executed with a distinct and modern game design approach, keeping up with contemporary standards, yet without compromising his original concept and maintaining fidelity to the timeless classics of the genre.

And thus, Bye Sweet Carole is born, an intense, gruesome, and spine-chilling interactive adventure (you can find our main coverage here) with which Chris is ready once again to astonish the gaming world and leave an enduring imprint on the independent game scene.

We had the pleasure of having him with us on our microphones, in a comprehensive interview where much was discussed about Bye Sweet Carole. Chris Darril unveiled intricate details about its development, as well as insights into his future projects and background. In short, don’t expect to find only details about Bye Sweet Carole in this interview. But enough preamble, let’s get into the heart of the conversation!

Indie Games Devel:

There’s no denying that you’ve made a significant and essential contribution to elevating the visibility of the gaming industry in Italy, especially through your contributions to the horror genre. However, looking back, who is Chris Darril? What are the main milestones that have shaped your background? And how would you summarize your artistic career in a few words?

Chris Darril:

You wouldn’t want to meet the old Chris Darril (Chris laughs, Ed)! Jokes aside, my passion for cinema and video games runs deep, especially my love for cinema, which has always held a special place in my heart.

My very first introduction to the cinematic world took place in a movie theater, when I had the extraordinary opportunity to watch Beauty and the Beast. Quite lucky, considering other options I could have had, like Home on the Range (he laughs, Ed). Thankfully, I can say I had the chance to appreciate one of the great pillars of traditional animation!

That’s why, clearly, my passion for cinema and the behind-the-scenes of any artistic work stems from a rather analytical approach, namely, an interest in the creative process. I still remember the moment I got hold of an English VHS tape showcasing the making of an animated film. That’s where I grasped the importance of frame-by-frame.

My journey in the cinematic world began as a graphic designer and illustrator. Later on, I had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with a Canadian development team. Concurrently, I made my entrance into the Project Scissors: NightCry project. Even though the outcomes weren’t spectacular, simply seeing my name, at the age of 25, alongside figures like Masahiro Ito, Hifumi Kono, Takashi Shimizu, and Nobuko Toda meant a lot.

Project Scissors: NightCry
An image from the NightCry project

From that point on, as they say, “One thing led to another,” and things took an interesting turn. A collaboration emerged between me and Nobuko Toda, who later, in tandem with Luca Balboni, curated the soundtrack for Remothered: Tormented Fathers. A project that unexpectedly gained traction and served as my first true experiment in my creative-artistic journey, representing a perfect blend of cinema and video games, given the pronounced cinematic essence of the original Remothered.

Shortly after, the second installment of Remothered was released, and not much later, I took my leave from the scene (Chris laughs, Ed). And from there, Bye Sweet Carole was born, a piece conceived as a tribute to young Chris, the boy I once was. That child raised on bread, movies, and video games from a tender age. When I think back to the 6-7-year-old Chris, I still see him, eagerly rewinding VHS tapes of “Snow White”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin”, and “The Lion King”, and those moments when, sitting next to my siblings, I watched them play titles that were off-limits to me, like Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark.

Thus, almost spontaneously, a harmonious yet contrasting union emerged: on one side, the animated film, positive, Disney-esque, with its happy endings, morals, songs, and values; on the other, its stark antithesis.

Indie Games Devel:

We know you as an all-round artist, passionate about filmmaking, video games, animation, and directing. Would you like to share how you first got involved in the gaming world, your “prologue” as a gamer? And if there was one, what was the spark that made you think, “One day, I’ll become a video game developer”?

Chris Darril:

Actually, I still don’t say to myself, “One day I’ll be a video game developer.” As you well know, it’s quite a challenging field, I must be honest. However, unlike the cinematic world, it’s an industry where there’s still genuinely little contamination.

For example, if tomorrow you wanted to take your first steps into game design or video game development yourself, you’d have the freedom to do so. Of course, you might not have all the necessary resources to realistically launch your project into the market, but the opportunity is there, and it’s within everyone’s reach. Specifically, the indie scene would grant you the chance to narrate a story without concerns about your family background, your country of origin, or even your current financial status. That’s the beauty of the gaming world!

Undoubtedly, the video game industry, for me, represents a sort of response to personal frustration. I’ve always had an equal passion for video games and cinema. However, while trying to build a career in the cinematic world, I faced many challenges: many doors were closed to me, despite my tangible commitment to screenwriting, assisting in directing, and other facets of the industry.

The crux of the matter was the difficulty of progressing in the cinematic industry, at least here in Italy. This is where a project born almost by chance on RPG Maker XP comes into play: not just an avenue to channel my passion for directing and screenwriting but also to awaken the enthusiastic gamer that has always been within me.

I felt this deep need, this necessity and urgency, to relive and rediscover the atmosphere, emotions, and experience that a game like “Clock Tower” used to offer, a title that has been absent from the scene for far too long. Therefore, we could say that this is the episode that best represents my authentic “prologue” into the gaming world.

Indie Games Devel:

We could talk about you as an artist, designer, director, author, developer, and beyond… In many ways, these labels might even be limiting. However, if we were to pinpoint a single definition to describe Chris Darril’s art, what would it be, in your opinion?

Chris Darril:

Thank you, but often, for me, the artistic adjective and the label of “artist” seem inadequate to describe the individuals being referred to. Even though Bye Sweet Carole is the first project where I engage as if I were an artist, personally, I do not define myself as such.

However, this project represents the first opportunity for me to act freely, following my inspiration, without being bound by public expectations. It’s the first where I allow myself the freedom to experiment as I wish. In my opinion, this is the true essence of what it means to be an artist.

Bye Sweet Carole

When one creates a piece primarily in response to the directives of those commissioning it, then you are behaving more like a craftsman than an artist. It’s akin to a highly esteemed director, perhaps with an Oscar nomination or award, having to adapt their personal vision to meet the commercial demands of major production houses. In such a scenario, their artistic vein and expression would inevitably risk being sacrificed or compromised, relegating them to the role of a craftsman rather than a true artist.

I don’t yet feel comfortable with the label of “artist.” I prefer to describe myself as “eclectic,” undoubtedly. From a young age, I’ve harbored a deep passion for various disciplines. I’ve honed my skills in drawing, delved into directing and screenwriting, and further perfected my abilities in the field of game design. My versatile nature has undoubtedly allowed me to navigate very diverse areas.

However, to me, being an artist carries a different meaning altogether… Let’s do this. Let’s wait until Bye Sweet Carole is released. Only afterward, based on the reception and feedback from the audience, might I possibly say, “You know, today I feel like an artist.” But until that moment, no, I don’t consider myself as such.

Indie Games Devel:

In 2021, in the heart of Catania, you founded the young indie game studio Little Sewing Machine, “a company made by artists sewing arts in the name of art”, that crafts art by hand, shaping living art, much like how a painter brings a canvas to life. This philosophy is also reflected in both your logo and the company’s name. Would you be interested in sharing how Little Sewing Machine came to be and what your vision of art and video game development is?

Chris Darril:

Little Sewing Machine represents, in my opinion, the quintessence of what I previously described as the concept of the “Little Craftsman.” This concept refers to a figure who, despite working from a small and humble workshop, crafts works of significant depth. Among his various creations, there’s one that holds particular importance and pride for him. I believe a genuine artist finds their most authentic satisfaction in their work, even before it garners recognition or appreciation from the public.

As a concrete example, I can mention “Remothered: Tormented Fathers”, which achieved considerable success and gathered a vast fan base, partly inherited from Clock Tower. Yet, a part of me felt incomplete—not because I held excessively high expectations for the project but because I felt I hadn’t been entirely honest and transparent with myself.

You know what truly makes a difference, in my opinion? Creating something that deeply resonates with you and reflects your personal tastes: if it appeals to others as well, that’s an added bonus. However, at times, an external element creeps in—a thought process like, “I’ll incorporate this particular element, a shock factor, confident it will capture attention and astonish the streamer during the gameplay session.” In that moment, the genuine artistic essence vanishes, yielding to external influences that push us to become more artisans than artists, more focused on pleasing an audience than expressing our true selves.

With Bye Sweet Carole, we followed our instincts and our heart, remaining true to our vision. I must confess that I find it quite challenging to classify the game within a single genre or label it as such. This is because during its development, we noticed how the gameplay evolves with each chapter, changing almost entirely from one episode to the next.

To give you an idea: in one chapter, players will delve into Lana’s story, navigating intricate puzzles, managing inventory, and engaging with the environment. In the subsequent chapter, the gameplay takes a radical turn: Lana morphs into a rabbit, prompting players must navigate her through various platforms by jumping and bouncing. This phase draws deep inspiration from puzzle-platformer dynamics and is enriched with various stealth elements.

However, with the introduction of Mr. Baesie in the subsequent chapter, the gameplay dynamics shift again. Players find themselves plunged into high-octane action sequences, challenging them to face unrelenting waves of adversaries in heart-pounding real-time combat.

And as the cherry on top, without giving away too many details, I can tell you that another chapter of Bye Sweet Carole will feature a unique surprise: a delightful mini-game where Lana will have to learn to dance.

I believe I’ve captured the essence of the typical Disney-esque fairy tale. Imagine a traditional story infused with the atmospheric shades of the giallo genre, combined with the unmistakable style and tone of Hitchcock. The narrative structure is richer than it might initially seem, yet it remains accessible to all, reminiscent of a pure and simple fairy tale. That’s Bye Sweet Carole for you!

Indie Games Devel:

We can say that Bye Sweet Carole was born from the fusion of two significant and distinct facets of your life and identity: on one hand, the part linked to your childhood and the classic animated films of Walt Disney, and on the other hand, the attainment of full maturity and your not-so-hidden predilection for the horror-thriller genre, through which you’ve carved your path in the Italian video game industry. How did these two distinct facets of yourself come together to conceive, design, and bring to life what we now know as Bye Sweet Carole?

Chris Darril:

Let’s say that fairy tales have always had this sort of subtle (not so subtle, actually) aftertaste of horror. I’m not referring to the original versions by the Brothers Grimm or Andersen’s tales, which contain a chillingly grotesque side. Consider, for example, the stepmother in Cinderella being forced to wear shoes filled with hot coals or the revelation that Aurora’s adoptive mother was actually an ogre who feasted on children—disturbing details that, I must confess, I wasn’t even aware of at the time.

However, this distinctly horror-infused side has always been present even in classic Disney tales. Just think of Maleficent emerging from the fireplace and, with her spell, luring Aurora. Initially, it might seem an extremely unsettling and grotesque experience, but it’s carefully balanced to instill a sense of fear in both young and old. Let’s be clear, the horror element has always been a constant in fairy tales.

Regarding the style, we made specific choices. I use the plural because two pivotal and influential figures in the project are Luigi Giuseppe Matrone, the producer of Little Sewing Machine, and Rocco Paladino from Meangrip Game Studios. My brainstorming sessions with both were instrumental and highly productive for the project. We agreed that an excessive use of jump scares, so popular today, would create a sudden, momentary effect, followed by a period of stagnation that could diminish the audience’s interest. Our goal was to sustain an enduring tension even after a potential “surprise effect.” If I were to point to a reference period in horror, I’d say we adopted a more traditional approach, aligned with the old-school style where jump scares didn’t dictate the rules nor constitute the predominant feature.

Indie Games Devel:

Bye Sweet Carole will be a video game with a powerful and communicative narrative that will also address various important and sensitive themes, which are more relevant today than ever. What will be the main themes, and how have you decided to approach them?

Chris Darril:

The main theme is undoubtedly female empowerment. However, contrary to how it’s portrayed today, be it from Disney or Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film, one cannot ignore that despite claims that times have changed, many realities sadly prove that they haven’t changed at all.

Someone might say, “Why should it matter to you? You’re a man.” The truth is, it deeply resonates with me: I had a mother, I have close female friends, and important women in my life. I want to carry forward this message with determination, just as my mother and other important women in my life have done for me, teaching me the importance of empathizing with such a significant issue. And I genuinely hope to convey this sentiment effectively in Bye Sweet Carole.

Another critical topic I’ve chosen to address is bullying, particularly linked to diversity. I’m deeply concerned about the indifference of many adults who, even when aware of abuses inflicted upon certain children, choose to remain silent, adopting an attitude like, “Hey, toughen up, react,” or “Just fit in with the others.” In essence, I believe it’s crucial to also consider the other side of bullying, the subtler, less visible form, yet equally cowardly and reprehensible as the overt manifestations that everyone can see.

Indie Games Devel:

Staying on the themes of Bye Sweet Carole, we’ve identified many others beyond those you mentioned, including disappearance, search, and this kind of duality between Lana Benton and Carole Simmons, as if there’s a separating barrier that isolates Lana in one dimension and Carole in another. Regarding this, could you tell us more? Is this underlying theory sensible, or are we veering off course?

Chris Darril:

In reality, it’s much more complicated than that.

If we were to translate the game title literally, it would be: “Goodbye Sweet Carole.” With the term “Carole,” we refer to it almost as if it were a melody or, more precisely, an authentic nursery rhyme.

I can’t pinpoint the exact origin, the essence lies in understanding that bidding farewell to Carole signifies accepting a goodbye, which doesn’t necessarily imply a definitive loss. I’m not insinuating, nor suggesting, that Carole has passed away. Instead, consider it as bidding farewell to that kind of nursery rhyme we’ve always been accustomed to, learning to live and coexist without it. It’s a concept far more intricate than it might seem and, indeed, even deeper than it already appears.

Chris Darril

As many might have noticed, Lana is clearly inspired by Snow White, considering the color of her hair and the bow she wears, but also by Belle herself. Although she shares similarities with Belle, it’s undeniable that Belle differs significantly from Lana, starting with the fact that Belle is a much more emancipated, independent, and fearless woman. She’s the true protagonist of Beauty and the Beast. However, it’s undeniable that there are similarities between Belle and Lana.

In Bye Sweet Carole, we will explore various themes, focusing on the journey of this young “princess,” without distorting the essence of her character. As time progresses, I’m realizing that I’m adopting a more precise approach, which I wasn’t fully aware of before. To give you context, in the past, I created Remothered feeling the need to fill a void left by works like “Clock Tower. Similarly, with Bye Sweet Carole, I aim to revive the magic of classic Disney fairy tales, that enchanting feeling that seemed to have faded over time.

Bye Sweet Carole

Although, as I’ve previously mentioned, Bye Sweet Carole leans more towards a Hitchcockian tale than a typical Disney fairy tale, as it will have a significant plot twist and becomes steeped in mystery, leading Lana to investigate what happened to Carole—she’s the only one who truly believes Carole is missing. During her investigation, Lana discovers enigmatic letters exchanged between Carole and a certain individual named “French.” These letters hint that Carole might have departed from the orphanage in a romantic escape, a plausible scenario given the circumstances.

From there, the investigations begin, and you will truly understand what this sort of breach is that has emerged between the mortal world and Corolla’s enchanted realm. The latter is an enchanted kingdom where Kyn, whom I describe as the personification of cynicism, is taking advantage of this breach to invade the magical world. So, we have the fairy tale, with its classic interpretation, paralleled by Lana’s investigations to discover what happened to Carole, and then, of course, all the characters we will encounter, including all the guests of the Bunny Hall orphanage.

Chris Darril

Indie Games Devel:

The game world is divided into two primary macro-areas: on one side stands the gloomy and dilapidated 19th-century Bunny Hall orphanage, while on the other lies the rich, thriving, and diverse realm of Corolla. Are these two worlds starkly different, existing as perfect antitheses, or are they perhaps two sides of the same coin?

Chris Darril:

To answer this question, I offer you this reflection: “When things do not go as we would like, change is possible.”

In essence, Corolla and Bunny Hall are one and the same, two sides of the same coin. They both represent different perspectives during a transitional period for a young girl, Lana, who finds herself alone without her best friend, Carole, in a boarding school where things have never truly gone well. Here, Lana must interact and engage with very stern and authoritarian figures and peers who exhibit oppressive and intimidating behaviors. In short, it’s far from an idyllic setting.

Chris Darril
Oppressive adults, bullying peers… It couldn’t get much worse for poor Lana, perhaps…

Although it may seem like a dreamlike state, the reality of her experiences is more tangible and concrete than one might imagine. Therefore, view Corolla as a genuine imaginary world where Lana retreats when the reality and external world become too constricting and oppressive for her.

Indie Games Devel:

The style of Bye Sweet Carole is delightfully refined, exquisite, and features frame-by-frame and hand-painted backgrounds, as well as stunning art direction. How you worked with the animation team from a technical perspective to achieve the visual aesthetics we see in Bye Sweet Carole today?

Chris Darril:

Firstly, let me emphasize how exceptional the team has been and continues to be in every aspect. In this regard, the origin of Bye Sweet Carole is truly unique. The game came into existence almost by “accident” when I rediscovered an old prototype of the initial version of Remothered that I had created with RPG Maker XP—a project I had subsequently lost track of. Unexpectedly, an old friend from an RPG Maker XP forum contacted me, offering a copy of that original Remothered prototype, an old build. Without a moment’s hesitation, I embraced the opportunity. As I tinkered with it during my leisure hours using Photoshop, I mistakenly disabled two layers—shadows and lights—and a frame of a character that looked precisely like Snow White appeared!

This particular event sparked inspiration in me, an idea that compelled me to think, “I absolutely must develop something similar.” Shortly after, Alexia Sapienza, who now holds the role of the lead animator for Bye Sweet Carole, reached out to me on LinkedIn, saying, “Your project is fantastic; I really love it. If you need an animator, I’m here.”

The very next day, I contacted her and welcomed her aboard the project. In no time, we expanded our team to include other animators, growing to a group of over 13 individuals. It was precisely from the moment Alexia joined us that I realized the project could become more than just a personal satisfaction; it genuinely had the potential to evolve into something bigger, something many others out there could appreciate.

Indie Games Devel:

With the gameplay reveal, we had the opportunity to get a closer look at Ms. Fisherin, one of the many gruesome “surprises” from the diabolical bunny-like staff at Bunny Hall Orphanage. Would you like to share the origins of the orphanage staff’s design and why you chose to give them such a unique feature?

Mrs. Fisherin

Chris Darril:

Everyone loves Mrs. Fisherin!

Well, having started in this industry as a graphic designer and concept artist has allowed me to move forward. Fortunately, about 90% of the characters, like character design are born from my idea. This approach provides a clear direction, starting with the color palette, which remains faithful to the original concept. Mrs. Fisherin was conceived as a character who embodies the stereotype of the arrogant figure prone to losing control.

Additionally, let’s not forget the influence of this rabbit contamination or infestation, which affects not only the realm of Corolla but also the mortal world. However, one might wonder why a rabbit… but I don’t want to give away too much just yet (Chris laughs, Ed). She’s not the only one; as you progress, you’ll reach a point where you’ll say (at least I hope) at the end of the game, “Ah, that’s why I saw her like that and why I didn’t see someone else like that instead.”

Indie Games Devel:

The gameplay reveal allowed us to take a first look at Bye Sweet Carole’s gameplay, including its interesting platforming mechanics. If you could provide more details, what are the main features that Bye Sweet Carole has inherited from classic platformers, and what new elements and points of innovation do you believe make it a unique adventure in its genre?

Chris Darril:

So, we definitely don’t intend to reinvent the wheel; we aim to provide players with a (hopefully) unforgettable experience from start to finish! Which then, hopefully, they can revisit it later; they can play it again when they’re feeling down. Because, in reality, it’s a great journey, but those familiar with my stories know that they often end in tears. I believe you’ve caught on to that by now (Chris laughs, Ed).

I‘m one of those individuals, one of those men who aren’t ashamed to admit they cry; sometimes it’s essential, it’s therapeutic. When I feel the need to shed tears, I watch a certain film. There are moments when one needs that emotional release, just as there are times to feel joy or fear. Understanding a story, I believe, encompasses phases of one’s emotional journey that shouldn’t be ignored.

Bye Sweet Carole, from this point of view, incorporates gameplay elements that draw from multiple genres. As I mentioned earlier, it begins as an adventure puzzle game. By “puzzle game,” I mean it leans more towards a graphic adventure in its initial phase. As the game progresses, it evolves into an action game with platforming elements, followed by a survival horror experience featuring hiding spots, stalking, and enemies aiming to get the better of you. Towards the end, players will encounter sequences that are more aggressive and adrenaline-charged. Further into the game, there’s a specific sequence that becomes a little more punishing, requiring quicker responses. However, players will have plenty of time to acquaint themselves with the gameplay mechanics and understand how to navigate specific moments or scenes.

Gradually, I realized that Bye Sweet Carole, in its current form, follows a poetic sequence of A, B, C, C, B, A. It’s never just A, A, A followed by B, B, B—absolutely not. There’s an alternation, a distinct metric. There will also be a more relaxing sequence, one where players can pause and admire the background, which is truly fantastic and beautiful!

Our background artist, Anton, in particular, is doing an exceptional job! It’s not just about paying attention to the intricate details; it’s also about ensuring that the game’s fixed view on that background is clear and effective. We need to communicate the objective clearly to the players! Additionally, we have two others handling the cinematic sequences and cutscenes.

With Bye Sweet Carole, I’m truly letting myself go on an artistic level. However, one observation I’ve made is that even the press, in general, missed a couple of references: one to “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which, in my opinion, shares many similarities with our game, and the second to “The Neverending Story.”

Indie Games Devel:

On the gameplay front, what stands out the most is certainly Lana’s unique ability to manipulate her form, transforming into a rabbit, which adds variety to the gameplay and opens up multiple solutions. Could you tell us more about this unique feature? Is it a freely usable mechanic at any time, or are there restrictions, and is it only applicable in specific situations? Are there specific narrative implications associated with this mechanic?

Carole & Lana

Chris Darril:

It revolves around the concept of dualism; feeling adequate or inadequate. The rabbit serves as an example or symbol of cowardice; while harmless, it remains one of the most mistreated, hunted, and killed animals, confined to its burrow and living underground. I believe this symbolism is quite explicit from this perspective.

The beauty of it is this: Lana could do everything but she also needs her fragile side to navigate certain sequences successfully. There’s often a tendency to underestimate the frail, the weak, and the seemingly inadequate. However, they possess unique strengths, most notably a strong survival instinct. Lana herself will choose when to assume the form of a rabbit, even though it represents a more fragile aspect of herself, as she requires this delicate approach to navigate specific situations.

By the conclusion of the first chapter, players have the option to maintain the rabbit form indefinitely. However, this choice comes with constraints since some tasks require Lana’s human form. There will be sequences where Lana must transform into a rabbit due to circumstances, and conversely, instances where she must revert to her human form.

Indie Games Devel:

What strikes us about Bye Sweet Carole from multiple perspectives is its pace, both visually and audibly. It’s relentless, anxiety-inducing, and unsettling… we’ve run out of adjectives to describe how it made us feel. Given our familiarity with your previous works, will the game maintain the same harrowing pace we’ve come to expect from you? If so, how would you describe it? Is it more macabre, anxious, chilling, or a true embodiment of horror in every sense of the word?

Chris Darril:

Compared to Remothered: Tormented Fathers, where I deliberately maintained a constant sense of anxiety throughout nearly the entire experience, in Bye Sweet Carole there will be more of a variation. The constant and penetrating feeling of anxiety won’t be there; instead it will evoke more of a Clock Tower ambiance, complete with more “theatrical” entrances, so to speak.

Indie Games Devel:

Another aspect to consider is undoubtedly the sound design and OST, aspects that we’ve always appreciated in your productions and that we know will once again be handled by composer Luca Balboni. So, what kind of sounds and musical atmosphere can we expect to find in the game? Will there be particular elements that evoke dark fairy tales or certain Disney masterpieces?

Chris Darril:

Luca Balboni is someone I would hardly replace with another composer, even though I’ve had opportunities to collaborate with other renowned musicians. Right from the start, a deep connection was forged with Luca, with our conversations sometimes lasting up to three hours, all for a three and a half-minute cinematic. At times, all it takes is for me to sketch out a verse, and he immediately grasps what I aim to convey. While I may possess a discerning ear, it’s not my cup of tea; I wouldn’t even know how to string together two notes. I firmly believe in the saying, “Never change a winning team.”

Luca has truly undertaken a painstaking study of all the Disney classics, from the Golden Age to the Silver Age, up to the Disney Renaissance. He has carefully selected the most captivating and emotionally resonant examples, delving into even the eerie aspects. Luca grasped how, behind certain images, there is a kind of vortex; it’s hard to explain, like when, for instance, The Evil Queen consumes the potion, creating a sonic correspondence—literally, a sound vortex. He incorporated all these elements while staying committed to a musical style that diverges from today’s typical OSTs.

Indie Games Devel:

We know that Silent Hill and Clock Tower will always have a place in your heart. And the question that naturally comes to mind after the kind words from Keiichirō Toyama is, do you think we will see you working together on a video game in the future?

Chris Darril:

In life, never say never! After the post about X, I had the opportunity to get to know him. I was still collaborating for an event like Lucca Comics and Games, but this time it was organized in Catania, so I invited him. We talked about it, but both of us had that desire yet at the same time, the awareness that we were so different.

He is closely connected to the worlds of Suda and Swery. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Swery, and we’re good friends. There was a possibility of collaboration for “Hotel Barcelona”, a project already underway by Swery, which involved contributions; a sort of gathering of horror masters. Thus, Suda, Keiichirō Toyama, and Swery (for some reason) also considered me. In the end, it didn’t materialize, but it was still an honor for me.

Indie Games Devel:

In conjunction with the development of Bye Sweet Carole, Little Sewing Machine is also working on the production of two animated films: “My Horrible Guests” and “La Restauratrice,” two projects in which your animation team will challenge themselves by producing something different. Could you provide us with some more hints about these upcoming films?

Chris Darril:

So, one is a live action film with real actors, and we’re still in pre-production. I set only one condition: to allow myself to finish Bye Sweet Carole first because it’s essential for me to dedicate myself to one project at a time. While others might juggle multiple projects, I aim to be entirely emotionally, mentally, and professionally focused on that project, ensuring it reaches its full potential.

The other project is an animated film, different from many other animated movies. While it won’t be a Disney film, it will cater to a more niche audience, in my opinion. I can’t reveal too much from this perspective, but understand that Bye Sweet Carole will be a first venture for me and my team into traditional animation. Additionally, there’s another project in traditional animation underway. It’s also true that some have approached us about a sequel to Bye Sweet Carole, but let’s proceed one step at a time. I don’t want to rush!

I can also inform you that the publisher has embraced the project with great enthusiasm, mirroring our own. To the extent that we will now expand from offering just digital and physical copies to introducing a Collector’s edition.

So, indeed, there are other projects… Those who do my job are never idle, and while working on one project, new ideas and dreams inevitably emerge, which we then strive to materialize and present.

Indie Games Devel:

To conclude this interview in a different way, we’d like to ask you a complex and perhaps unusual question: what does art mean to you?

Chris Darril:

Oh my goodness! Well, art is fundamentally a collective expression. Many artists create art for themselves, only to store it away in a drawer, whether it’s a poem or another piece of work. Yet, even this is a form of artistic expression. In reality, each of us can manifest multiple personalities within ourselves (I’m not suggesting we all have borderline personalities). I could say that within a year, I might not recognize the person I was previously; that earlier version of mine has evolved and matured. However, that personality remains a part of you. There’s a progression leading up to the phase you find yourself in currently. So, when you express yourself artistically, it’s collective in that it’s shared with friends, relatives, or the broader public. Yet, it’s also about understanding yourself better and capturing a particular phase of your life that’s ever-changing.

I acknowledge that, narratively speaking, I once had a certain naivety. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve come to understand this better—not only thanks to feedback from the audience but also due to my evolving perspective. Growing up is a given. Thus, in this regard, the collective represents the 23/24-year-old Chris who birthed the first Remothered, at least from a production standpoint, compared to the 34-year-old Chris working on Bye Sweet Carole today. Ironically, Bye Sweet Carole appears more like a project for children than Remothered did; that’s also something I’ve come to accept. Within us always resides our inner child—not Pascoli’s Eternal Child but another inherent force. We must remain true to our foundational selves, which isn’t detrimental since it’s what has shaped us into who we are today.

Let’s move on to the conclusions

And it is with these words from Chris Darril that we reach the end credits. A precious and beautiful interview where we had the opportunity to get to know Chris more closely—not just as the talented author he is, but also as the remarkable individual he proves to be, both on and off the screen.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to him, the team at Little Sewing Machine, and Just For Games for making this interview possible. We trust that your time with us today was both enjoyable and productive, offering you valuable insights into Bye Sweet Carole.

Bye Sweet Carole is scheduled for release this year (with the exact release date yet to be announced) on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.

For more information about the game, all you have to do is follow the upcoming updates on the official websites of Little Sewing Machine and Just For Games or on the game’s official account on X. And don’t forget to add the game to your wishlist.

That’s all for today. See you in Corolla, or perhaps at the Bunny Hall orphanage. Who knows…

Grown up with MediEvil and DOOM and fascinated by the video game world since 1998. This passion stems from a desire to discover and research the videogame at 360 degrees, with particular attention to the Indie scene.
Sara|28 years old| Educator and IT and telecommunications expert| literature, poetry and music lover| Singing, playing instruments and Writer| Passionate about the video games world since a young age|