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We analyze The Sexy Brutale: A thousand genres in one game – [Podcast & Transcript #31]

Welcome once again to 4 Hours of Gaming, the best video game analysis podcast in the world and the universe.

This time we did an analysis of one of the games I have enjoyed the most… it seems that I always say the same thing, but I really enjoy the games!

The reality is that The Sexy Brutale caught me off guard. I started playing it because it was strongly recommended to me, and I really wasn’t prepared for such a work of art.

I want to tell you that if you didn’t play it, stop reading this, don’t watch the podcast, stop everything, and after playing it come back.

Before the transcript, I leave you the link to Instagram so you can see the one-minute version of the transcript, and while you’re at it some follow and something nice in the form of comments.

Transcript of 4 Hours of Play Podcast #31: The Sexy Brutale

I leave first the link to the podcast:

Disclaimer: we mistakenly call the character “The Bloody Girl” “Blood Lady”. It can fail hahaha

The Program

Dui – I think 4 hours is enough, isn’t it? Or a little more.

Dave – Yes, a little more. I did 6 hours I think.

Dui – Yes, my first gameplay is around 7 hours. 

Dave – I did miss the last one a bit.

Dui – Yes yes, there are places where you get lost. I’m going to say that my mask today is from Venice. It was bought in Venice!

Dave – Mine is bought at a children’s party store hahahaha.

Dui – Anything goes! Hahahaha. The idea of the masks was Dave’s idea, I’m not going to take credit for it.

Dave – It is an ultra important part of the gameplay. And also the copy that you put for the post… it was necessary to honor him and come with the best clothes.


(explaining) I said on Instagram that we had to put on our masks today for the 19 o’clock Party (this is a joke referring to the game). Let’s see if we get there alive! Well we’re making inside jokes from The Sexy Brutale, now let’s give them a little bit of context.
(Here we invite our audience to the networks).

Dave – Let’s give some context to tell you where the game comes from. I heard about The Sexy Brutale from a person who worked in the industry, may he rest in peace, Totalbiscuit. He was the first person I heard about this game from. And as he said in his video, the name of the game doesn’t help it. Really, it’s not a representative name.

(Here Dave has a cross-commentary about Totalbiscuit with the audience).

Dave -I saw his video and I was very intrigued by what he said about the game: Sexy Brutale is a title that plays a lot with a notion of game genre. Because it’s not totally a puzzle game, it’s not totally a detective game, it has a lot of things mixed in that it doesn’t really allow you to classify it in one genre. 

“And the Spanish studio, Tequila Works… the game itself is really a great achievement of the studio. There are a couple of things that I think would have been good for the development, but I imagine that due to time and budget they couldn’t include it.

Dui – Should we talk about it at Cons?

Dave – Aha, come on. So, The Sexy Brutale is a short game, between detective, that plays with time, with a bit of puzzles, to stop the murder of all the guests at a party. 

Dui – Of course, that’s what the game is about. You relive the same twelve hours all the time. From 12 noon to 12 midnight.

Dave – And how important what you say: you, i.e. the perssonage, live the same twelve hours over and over and over and over and over again. 

Dui – Yes yes yes yes. And at the beginning there’s like an atmosphere of magic… like there’s something magical going around. You can’t define if you’re in a magical universe or not, with a certain steampunk vibe (because it has the whole setting with clocks, and steam engines and tesla bovines), mixed with the whole casino setting, the whole “Charlestone” atmosphere, the 40s cabaret vibe. 

“But well, you have the character who constantly revives for twelve hours, you don’t know why that happens until… well, until the end and all the plot twists happen at the same time hahaha.

Dave – And what a Plot Twist! I didn’t see it coming. I really didn’t think the game was that way.

Dui – No, me neither. The first time I played it I was… but well, let’s leave it for the Momento Ñoño! Let’s go by parts, let’s calm down. I want us all to be in the context of what Dave says: it’s a puzzle game, detective, in which one, in that 12 hours span, has to rescue the guests to a party that, let’s say, the staff of the mansion where they are (which also has a casino), has orders to kill all the guests at certain times. 

“So you’re first in one place and you save one, then in another part of the mansion and you save another, then in another place you save another. And so you progress through the game unlocking new masks – that’s why we are today with masks.

Dave – And unlocking new skills. The idea of the game is that you , reliving those 12 hours, is the day of the party in the casino called The Sexy Brutale, where the rich tycoon who owns the casino invites his friends to a party, they had to wear masks. So every time you rescue someone, you get a mask that gives you some kind of power to unlock new parts of the mansion, to get a little more of the story. 

Dui – It is essential that we explain how the mechanics and the context work because it is important to.

Dave (remembering something) – Because you move like a Point and Click, but it’s not a Point and Click. It’s not that you solve the puzzles because you carry things in an inventory, but you move as such, but it has very mixed things of various genres. It’s a good mix I would say. 

Dui – Well, let’s go then to Pros & Cons now that we’ve given some context.

Pros & Cons

Where we talk about the best and worst aspects of the design in particular and the game in general.

Dave – For you, what are the pros?

Dui – I don’t want to repeat everything we did with Senua (laughs), because it has a lot to do. Spoiler alert: the game has a brutal psychological component -pun intended-

Dave – That it really develops last. Because at the beginning you don’t see it.

Dui – No, you don’t see it. In Hellblade they tell you at the beginning, but here you don’t understand what’s going on until the end. And I think one of the fundamental Pros of the game is that plot twist at the end. In which, let’s spoil.

Dave – It is impossible to talk about the game without spoiling. Besides, it’s a game that has been on the market for 5 or 6 years. 

Dui – Of course, if you didn’t play it, it’s your fault (he laughs). And if you want to play it, stop watching the Podcast now, stop listening and come back when you’re done so this experience is much more enriching.

And if you’re reading now, stop reading and come back when you’ve played!

Dui – The main character, Lafcadio, is a priest who is like the right hand of the owner of the mansion, whose name is Lucas. And in turn there is another character, who is the antagonist, who is The Marquis. Who is… well, this is a Con for me, because all the time I thought that the Marquis was Lucas, at one point I got confused. And in the end it turns out that yes, the Marquis IS Lucas; so for me it was never a surprise that the Marquis was Lucas… I kind of deduced it too quickly because in fact from the beginning I almost thought it was Lucas.

“As I was saying, when they introduce them to you, Lucas is the owner of the mansion, and as the Marquis is the one in control of everything… I said “ready, the Marquis is Lucas”, and in the end it turns out that he is. And Lafcadio, who is like Lucas’ best friend, is also Lucas. And all the Staff is also Lucas!

Dave – Lafcadio would be Lucas in the Future.

Dui – Of course, bah, in reality, Lafcadio is Lucas in the present. And what you live, is a memory. That’s why you relive the same day over and over again.

Dave – One thing is important here: why is he always living the same memory? Because of a bad decision he made. Since his wife was pregnant…

Dui – Oh that’s the worst part…

Dave – As it is. When I saw that, it made me sick. The wife was pregnant, and Lucas decided he wanted to start from scratch. And for that, he decided to destroy the mansion and the casino to collect the insurance money. And to have witnesses, he was going to do it after the party. But due to a miscalculation, the detonators he set explode before the hour, killing all his friends, his pregnant wife, and he survives because he throws himself from the clock tower already seeing the explosion. He survives the fall but is not killed by the fire.

“So he relives this memory over and over again. And he’s the one who’s trying to keep his friends from dying at the party.

Dui – And at the same time, he is the one who kills them. Because all the staff members are also Lucas. All the killers are Lucas, because in his mind – this is explained to you in the game – he was looking for ways to kill his friends with the image of the Marquis, which is a personality that he invents, to be able to bear the pain of the loss of all his loved ones. And he kills them in different ways, other than in the fire that he set.

“He tries to convince himself that they died in another way, and that he couldn’t do anything about it. And a very important fact, and that has to do with the whole theme of the game, is that he was addicted to gambling, to betting. So it was also to start over and leave his life behind now that he was going to be a father. He wants to destroy the mansion and the casino to collect the insurance, start over, and get over his bad gambling habit. To this I put a pin because at the namby-pamby moment I’m going to pull it out.

Dave – Before you put your pin in, I see it as a Con to the plot. Because if you think about it too much, why didn’t he sell the mansion instead of blowing everything up? 

Dui – And well… of course, yes….


Dui – I don’t know, maybe he had a lot of debts. I don’t know…

Dave – And well, it doesn’t always have to make total sense.

Dui – But well, it’s a Con of the character, I don’t know about the game. I mean, the plot is well done. If Lucas didn’t do that, we wouldn’t have a game.

Dave – And talking a little bit about the pros. To me something that seemed absurdly well done, is the sound. Because you have the audio cues of everything that happens around the mansion. And then when you play the game, you can hear the different times when people die: at the beginning you hear a gunshot, then a glass breaking, you hear the sound of someone being electrocuted… you have all those cues at the times when people are dying that let you know that other things are happening in another part of the mansion. 

Dui – I think that plays very well with the player’s psychology, because you know that your friends are dying. Maybe you already saved them in another timeline, but in the new one, you hear them dying. You know they are killing them. And it gives a very sad atmosphere to the whole game. You are running against time to save your friends, without knowing why, and the Blood Lady appears…

Dave – The character that guides you.

Dui – That one, the one that guides you. Later, sappy moment, I hope I remember all the pins I’m putting: I say this because there is a reason why there is a character that guides you. She tells you “you have to confront the Marquis, you have to save Lucas”. The ultimate goal of the game is to save Lucas, who is trapped somewhere. 

Dave – Of course, during the whole time you are moving, you never see Lucas.

Dui – You never see it. So… No! Yes, you do! But you don’t know it’s Lucas. Because the sound of the glass breaking is him jumping out the window.

Dave – Oh, sure, you see the body, but you don’t know it’s him.

Dui – Exactly, you see the body and when you inspect it, it says a dialogue like “one more guest who died” or something like that. And the glass on top of that breaks pretty early, like 5:00 pm.

Dave – Yes, it’s super early. 

Dui – At the touch of the shot. About 16:00 is the shot and I think and at that time is the glass. Which is “early” in the day, so you have most of the 12 hours to go see it. And not knowing who is the character you have to save. That’s very good. 

Dave – Another pro I think the game has is the camera and the 3D it handles. The graphics they chose to make the game is really the best way they could have chosen. It has that cartoonish feel to it, but it is also quite clear in its camera showing everything you need to see. The peeking through the door mechanic also helps to make the way it shows you all the information you need to see very complete. 

Dui – As a pro, I think it’s a very interesting game mechanic, and I haven’t seen it elsewhere, it’s the map theme. You can position yourself at any time of the day on the map, and if you spy and observe other characters, it shows you on the map the route they take during the day. You can see what room they are in at what time. So this allows you to put together an investigation puzzle on the map. You are doing your detective work, and at no time do they have to see you.

“That’s part of the game’s own fiction, its narrative, they never have to see you. And in fact, they CAN’T see you: the other characters can’t see you until you save them. That is, until a character takes off the mask, they can’t see you. While they have the mask, the staff and all the characters you have to save, if you fall into the same room…

Dave – Time stands still.

Dui – Of course, time stops, everything turns red, everything is like shadows, the character’s mask begins to float and starts to follow you (the mask). If you leave the room, the mask returns to its owner, and it’s as if nothing had happened. In fact, the character doesn’t notice anything. That is the ability of Lafcadio’s mask, that they can’t see you. 

“That’s where we’re going with a design pro: the feedback that the game gives you is very well positioned. For example, the first cue, the first sign that you are going to meet a character that will “see” you, that his mask will follow you, is like a red aura around Lafcadio just before crossing a door. The amount of nodes that it activates in your head… that’s really cool. 

“So the sequence is: you get to the door, boom, you have the red aura, and it means STOP! Because if you go in, you will come across a character who will follow you. 

Dave – Of course, you can die.

Dui – Exactly. I think you get your day reset if you get caught.

Dave – Ah yes, that, the day is reset.

Dui – And well, if you enter the room, cross the door, you have another signal, it changes the whole color of what you are playing as a feedback of danger. And on top of that, he uses the color red… what a pity we could not watch Color Psychology before this program, we had to cancel it… He was saying, he turns everything red and black, which is the greatest symbol of danger and alert. 

“So, again, the feedback to the player is very well done. And it even changes the music, it plays like an alarm sound. As Dave says, it combines audio and visuals very well, so that you know what you have to do immediately. You don’t have to guess.

Dave – In that sense it’s super clear. And the auditory part, regardless of the feedback and stuff, the music itself, is super good. The music you hear in the different areas of the mansion is very good. And the singing part… I don’t remember the character.

Dui – I think the singer’s name is Tequila.

Dave – Aha, that part is a beast. Because the singer’s voice, the music, that part is super cool. And when she dies, it’s terrible. The game plays a lot with the abilities of each character and their death; each death has a lot to do with their abilities. Which is to a certain extent very poetic in the way the characters die, how in his imagination Lucas was killing them in a way that made more sense. 

Here we have an exchange of comments with the audience.

Dui – Before we change sections, I would like to mention a Con I have about the game, which is that it doesn’t have much replayability. I don’t know if it’s really a Con in itself, but for example, when you finish the game for the first time and you haven’t collected all the cards…

“The game has this Collectibles mechanic, that if you collect them all it unlocks an alternate ending, which, Pin, I’ll leave for the sappy moment. But, I don’t know if it invites you to replay it. I mean, the only replayability the game invites you to is nostalgic and emotional, and to play it again to say “aaaaah, now that I know how things are I understand why this happens”. 

“It may be a with for some, for others not…”

Dave – Sure, yes. Let’s move on to Core Loop & Fun Factor?

Core Loop & Fun Factor

Where we analyze how the game keeps you in its grip.

Dave – And in its clutches it keeps you eh? The Core Loop is super simple. You are first introduced to a character to rescue, and a section of the mansion. And the Loop is to try to rescue the character you get that time.

Dui – Yes, it’s a lot of trial & error. I think it’s a perfect game of a trial & error loop. I try one thing, ah, it’s not like that, I reset the day; I try something else, ah, I went somewhere else, bam, I reset the day; I try something else, it went well, great, I have to reset the day to make it faster. 

Dave – And while you’re trying to figure out how to keep that person from dying, that loop of repetition on paper sounds boring. But the way they’ve handled it, the fact that you have a whole new section of the mansion to explore, because not all the murders are in the same place, but it’s a fairly extensive mansion, which has a lot of rooms. 

“So when you see a room that has things that are not useful at that moment but that you have to use later, while you are exploring, you explore so much that you know where you have to go. And as you go through the day you realize that you’re missing one thing, and that you’re missing another, and it keeps you in that exploration that keeps you in its clutches while you’re playing.

“It happened to me that I started to play and, due to life’s circumstances, I was caught without my family at home, and I almost finished the game in one sitting.

Dui – It has that. I think it’s a game that, curiously, you lose track of time a lot. What happens is that its Core Loop has the effect of “one more turn”. And that’s the fun factor too.

“You say, well, one more day. Okay, one more day. Okay, another day and then I’m going to eat.

Dave – And the days are short in real time, right? I think it’s like 7 minutes a day. 

Dui – Yes, yes, I don’t think it’s even a minute for every hour.

Dave – And in some things you do feel that it goes by very fast, when you’re exploring or you’re walking around, but because the loop is so short, you say that, “well one more day”. “I’m just a day away from solving this murder, one more day”. And of course, you solve the murder and then you get the next one, and you say, “ah, ok, one more day”.

Dui -“I want to explore to see what I have to do”, of course. Because if you look at it, there is like a main loop, in which you have exploration, then puzzles, then resolution, and then it starts again. And in the puzzle part, you have a mini loop which is what I just said about trial & error: trial & error, trial & error, trial & error, trial & error. 

“And how crazy, you know I didn’t realize, now that you tell me that the exploration is part of Core Loop, the game has some Metroidvania stuff in it. Now that I realize… Just like what you were saying about not being able to categorize it.


Dui – It has such Metroidvania stuff in it. You have to get this ability to be able to open the door you saw at the beginning… I didn’t realize that. And on top of that mixed with exploration, finding new abilities to access blocked areas, all of that is super Metroidvania. But oddly enough, it’s not a Metroidvania.

Dave – No. The game is very curious. It doesn’t fit into a genre on its own. Or they created its own genre like Dark Souls hahaha.

Dui – Of course! Anyway, for me, The Sexy Brutale is top 5 of the games I recommend to play. Like, you HAVE to play it. At that level. Now Hellblade has moved up to my Must Play list, but for me The Sexy Brutale, as small as it is (because it’s a short game, it doesn’t take forever), it’s a must. And it’s a short and fast game, it’s not like what we said about Hellblade, which is also short, but it’s long because it’s full of emotion, agony, Senua’s suffering. This one goes by… poof! At what point did I play those 7 hours? It’s a small game, but it’s there in the Must Play list, along with Hades and BioShock. 

“Because it’s a rare game, it’s a game that gets away with Point & Click, at a time when Point & Click is no longer played.

Dave – No… in fact, point & click had not had any kind of success until Tim Schafer himself decided to make one again, right? A long time later. And now that one of the original creators of Monkey Island said they were going to make Return to the Monkey Island, all the people who like point & click games are going crazy. And rightly so. But it’s not a game that’s going to sell 20 million copies like a Call of Duty.

Dui – No, no, just like that.

Dave – So, yes, in that, its fun factor, having so many elements borrowed from different genres so well placed, I think it’s brilliant. In how short it is, in how simple it is. Because the idea inside everything is simple, it’s a person who has to go back in time over and over again to save different NPCs. Period, that’s it, that’s the whole point of the game. Behind yes, it has a lot of other things, which is what we were talking about. The grief, the grief that a person is going through because they lost all their loved ones. He literally lost everything.

Dui – Sure, everything loses. Even his house. And he becomes a priest, that is… Because he has no other choice. Because he doesn’t know how to get out of that situation.

“Now I’m going to summarize the Fun Factor before we move on to the Momento Ñoño and start talking about all the magic that’s going around. I want to sum up the Fun Factor in one sentence: in the game you always have something to do. That’s the Fun Factor. That’s why you’re so caught up in it. There is always something to do. There are no dead moments. Sometimes if you get a little lost, you have some moments of wandering, but knowing that you have a clear idea of what you have to do. At every moment you have something to do, at every moment of the game. 

Dave – The only time you’re quote-unquote “not doing anything,” are the times when you’re spying on the other guests. And the dialogue and things the other characters do are interesting enough to keep you entertained in what’s going on.

“Ah, that was a Con I forgot to say. For me, it would have done the game a lot of good, it would have improved it 1000% if it had voice acting. 

Dui – Aaaaah, yeah, yeah yeah. Or at least a (makes mouth noises a la “adults” in Snoopy). 

Dave – Yes, something extra. Because that thing of just reading the texts and there’s nothing behind it. It takes away a little bit of magic.

Dui – Yes, you are absolutely right.

Dave – I understand that voice acting, first it’s expensive, second it’s hard to get. And we are talking about a studio that is in Spain, and if you want to do a direct voice acting in Spanish, perfect. You are interpreting in the language where the game was born. But, you would think that if you launch it for a more international market it would have to be in English, right? And having a voice acting in English will increase your budget. 

“But well, with that we move on to the Momento Ñoño?

Nerd Moment

Where we give free rein to our sappiness, with sappy data and sappy daydreaming.

Dave – Nutty Moment. Let’s see your pins for the sappy moment.

Dui – Ah, my pins (she makes with her hands as if she were removing all the pins) Stop, I can’t remember them all! Well, let’s see if I remember them all.

“We had said that the game has a sort of psychological component, and one of the pins was the alternative ending. There it is, with that theme I’m going to be guided. Let’s go, let’s go.

“When you collect all the cards, you can go to a room that you can access at any time during the game, which is the Room Of Old Habits, the room of old habits. It refers to Lucas’ gambling habits. If you take all the cards to the character that is in there, who is like a kind of card dealer, he unlocks the alternate ending. What this ending shows you is that, instead of all the characters dying, they finally have the party.

“And you can go and dance with all the characters at the party, and they’re all happy, and it’s as if nothing ever happened. You say, the normal thing is that the alternate ending is the real ending of the game, but here it’s not like that. Here it is the worst of all endings. Because it means that Lucas never gets over the pain of the loss. He never gets over his trauma. He prefers to get engrossed in the fantasy world he invented, and on top of that, it is a metaphor (and this is what won me over in the game), it is a metaphor that the character falls back into gambling, and takes refuge in his gambling addiction to overcome the pain of the past. That little detail, it’s like, “chef’s kiss”.

“Because it’s very subtle: because in the same path that you follow to overcome your pain, you are putting the cards together and you can fall back into what caused the whole problem, and stay there forever. And it is VERY hard.

“Because the game doesn’t have a disclaimer about that. It’s not like in Psychonauts or Hellblade that from the beginning warns you that if you have an addiction you will feel identified. No, because this metaphor is so well hidden, so subtly raised, that you don’t see it. Later I’ll continue taking out my pins, but I want to let you talk too hahaha.

Dave – I mean, the metaphor is super well done. It goes hand in hand with everything that’s going on in the game. Maybe a disclaimer is a little bit necessary… Because, I don’t know, you really feel it in your heart at the end when you see Lucas preparing everything to blow up the house, and he tells you if you want to decide if he has forgiveness. And then you find out that he himself plans everything to start from 0, and everything goes wrong, and… I was caught in a curve that part, I didn’t see it coming.

Dui – It will peel off your skin. 

Dave – Yeah, yeah, I mean… it’s super dark, I don’t know what the word is, but it’s pretty strong that part. For what you’ve been playing, it’s very strong. Because there’s no warning. All of a sudden it happens and there’s no in-between. The twist is very good in that sense, it’s “plop!”, all of a sudden.

Dui – Yes, just like that. Following the theme with the wife and the plot twist and that she’s pregnant, and following the theme of the journey of overcoming and “forgiveness” – which I think is the right word. I think in fact the Blood Lady at one point says “you have to forgive yourself Lucas”. And how crazy, because the Blood Lady is the memory of his wife, which is why she’s all covered in blood. Because he kills his own wife. And how crazy, that one says “why all of a sudden now it’s the whole journey of overcoming?”, “why at this point does the loop of rescuing them all start?”. And the answer is that the memory of the wife, the Blood Lady, is what drives Lucas to want to forgive himself because that’s what she would have wanted. That’s the worst part of it all! It’s what makes you like AAAH! (holds a hand to his heart).

Dave – She says it herself: “I would not have wanted you to live so long with this sorrow”. 

Dui – Sure, and he’s aware that that’s what she would have wanted. He’s fully aware of that. So it’s heartbreaking at extreme levels. It really makes you feel bad. Oh, and well, in the part where the Marquis shows you old Lucas, who you don’t know at that moment is old Lucas… but he tells you, “what keeps all the power of the mansion”, or something like that, is an old man who is inside a tank, who is crying in grief because all his friends are dying, because the old man happens to be Lucas, and he drowns. The day ends when the guy drowns in his own tears. 

“I mean, do you realize how strong that analogy is to the pain a person feels when they have guilt? Until he drowns in his own tears, his suffering doesn’t end. It is very sad. And on top of that, they repeat it every day.

Dave – Of course, he is destined to repeat that day, again and again and again.

Dui – Because he knows. It’s like the Marquis (who is Lucas) tortures the old man, who is Lucas, by killing his friends. But in turn, the killing of his friends is a way of getting over the death of everyone. It’s all very well intricate and interwoven, and when the pieces start to fit together, you suddenly understand everything… at the end of the game.  

Dave – For the sappy moment I wanted to talk, before the plost twist, about the way of squaring all the guests inside the mansion. It did seem to me that when you’re playing and you hear someone talking, it’s not that you touch a button to follow the dialogue, but that they talk and follow their dialogue, as time goes by. And at first I said “why did they do that?”, but then I realized that everything, that is, the whole life of all the characters in the mansion, is timed by the second. So if you had a dialogue where you had to click to read, you would mess everything up. 

“So what an art this is to square ten lives inside the mansion, with different ways to die. In all that layout, when I realized it, it was like… what a job, between the lvl design, the npc control, and all that you have to do there… How many tests did they have to do to make everything so perfect per second?

Dui – Of course, because everything happens simultaneously. You are right. What a nice nerdiness, isn’t it? Sitting down to design that must have been… 

Dave – Puf!

Dui – To design it and then implement it.

Dave -Of course, because you have to control the ten lives, the ten guests, in the different parts of the mansion. And there are some that you don’t see, but others do interact with each other between the different kills. So all those interactions, squaring all that up, must have been a monumental job.

Dui – Dialogues cannot take one second too long. Everything has to be timed! It’s true (Dui’s mindblown moment). What’s more: the speed of movement of the characters has to be made in such a way…

Dave – So that you know how long it takes to go through everything from room to room.

Dui – How crazy. I hadn’t really thought about it that way.

Dave – Yeah, it’s a really good game for an Indie studio. I’m not sure how many people Tequila Works has, but I’m sure it must not be a very big studio.

Dui – No, it must not have reached 30 people, or thereabouts. Anyway, they didn’t do it alone. They did it with a studio I think from England. I don’t know if it’s out there. I found out about it because our Production teacher in the Master’s program, Miguel Paniagua, was the producer of the game and he told me about it.

Dave – Aha, it’s called Cavalier Game Studios.

Dui – Cavalier Game Studios, there it is. The teacher, a great guy. Miguel, the truth, a great teacher.

“But well, I think I was able to pull out all the pins or talk about everything referring to the pins that I put in. For me, the whole psychological part, the whole metaphorical part is… because, it’s not the same psychological treatment that Hellblade has. Here everything is much more metaphorical. And I, as a writer, I can tell you that making good metaphors is very difficult. And even more so at this level. That you have a metaphor that lasts about 7 hours, is… super challenging. The truth is that it’s a lot of work.

Dave – We move on to our takeaways.

Takeaways and Closure

Where we reflect on what we want to take away from the game for posterity.

Dave –What do you take away from The Sexy Brutale?

Dui – It happens that… again, it has so many things! 


Dui – No, you know what I do take? As a design exercise. I’m going to try to make a realistic takeaway, not so spiritual haha. As an exercise for a designer, I’ll take with me the theme I was talking about in the Fun Factor, of always having something to do. Not to give dead moments to the player, and if they have dead moments, they have to take advantage of them in some way. It shouldn’t be a “Well, you’re walking around here and in the background you have something nice to see”.

“That for example in Tunic that happened to me in several parts. Getting from point a to point b, everything is very nice, they show you the background, but… the first time is really good. But if every time I die I have to repeat it, it’s a bit tiring.

Dave – Yes, I have to totally agree with you because in Tunic the problem you have is that this dead time usually always happens after you die, coming back. You’re going through the same place you went through before, and you don’t have anything new to see. 

Dui – For example, Dark Souls, the father of soulslike games, even in 1, you don’t have downtime. You are always doing things. Your downtime is to stay cowering behind a door preparing psychologically for something. But even when you die, to get from point a to point b, you have to fight again. It gets repetitive to fight everything again, but it’s a challenge to think about doing things more carefully, planning your actions better. There is no need to walk everything again to get there. 

“So it’s good as an exercise to think about, if the player is going to have downtime, that it doesn’t feel like downtime. That they feel like they are doing something: ‘I’m not wasting time, I’m eavesdropping’; ‘I’m not wasting time, I’m reading the dialogue to see if I can find a clue’; ‘I’m not wasting time, I’m exploring’. That would be my takeaway.

Dave – My takeaway is that you don’t necessarily have to have a game that fits into a genre. 

Dui – Aha, perfect, yes, I love it.

Dave – We talk a lot about action games, or roguelikes, or metroidvanias, because we know the direction we are going. Because if you tell me that Tunic is a soulslike action game, you already have an idea of what you’re more or less getting into. Because Tunic is visually beautiful, but you have so many dead spaces, and the level design is not so clear, that when you move from one side to another, trying to figure out what you have to do, you lose a lot of immersion. 

“Which is something that didn’t happen to me with Dark Souls. Because you go out and you have a mission: they immediately tell you ‘you have to go ring the two bells’. So you don’t know where the fuck the two bells are but you know you have to do it. In Tunic you lose a lot because you don’t have a form of language and with the runes you lose a lot of that stuff, but The Sexy Brutale by having a whole bunch of elements that you’re playing with, it falls into what Dui says that you’re always doing something.

“You’re with a range of actions that you can play with. It’s a Point & Click that you move from one side to the other, solving Puzzles, reading the dialogues of the people you’re trying to save, taking collectibles that it also has, using the skills you’ve just been given… so you’re always doing something within that range. It must be ultra difficult to manage that amount of things, because also the brain is trained to find patterns, where you say “ah the game is like this”, and then I hope it’s this. And The Sexy Brutale, being so open in that sense, maybe it’s not for everybody. But once you understand what the game wants to tell you, it’s very easy to let the game have you in its clutches and take you to the end.

Dui – There are two things that come to my mind from what you are saying. One is how crazy it is that we are so used to the concept of “genre”. How the industry has evolved so much that we can talk about genres and have recognizable elements. And it’s like you say, the brain is trained to find patterns. But at the same time the other thing that comes to me, that a criticism we made to Control, that the game was nourished by so many things from many game genres, that made noise. And then, how important it is, not the issue of genres, but knowing how to bring all those elements together. In The Sexy Brutale it’s perfectly executed. 

(Here there were some audio problems, but with this we can close the program).


If they made it this far, they are lifelong idols and the universe. Thank you!

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