The Medium | Interview With Bloober Team’s Wojciech Piejko - Prima Games

The Medium | Interview With Bloober Team’s Wojciech Piejko

by Morgan Shaver

The Medium follows Marianne, a medium who goes to the abandoned Niwa Hotel and Resort to investigate the events that happened there, and what her connection is with them.

Following its release on January 28, The Medium has proven itself to be a success for Bloober Team, earning fantastic scores from outlets like GameSpot, PC Gamer, The Gamer, and us here at Prima Games. 

The game is one that lingers in your thoughts long after the credits roll. Curious about the mysterious ending to the game’s story and whether the team has any upcoming projects they’d like to talk about, we reached out for an interview. 

Bloober Team was kind enough to reply with some answers, and we hope that as you’re reading through them, you’ll find many of them as interesting and insightful as we did! 

The Medium | Interview With Bloober Team’s Wojciech Piejko

Were there any unique difficulties in rendering two worlds at once as part of The Medium’s Dual Reality system?

Rendering two worlds at the same time requires a lot of horsepower so we had to wait for the new generation of consoles to finally pull it off. It was the first hurdle, processing power.

The second was the camera. Manipulating the view in two worlds at once caused nausea in many people, hence the semi-fixed cameras. And finally the third, clarity of presentation. The player should be able to easily and clearly distinguish between the two worlds and the art styles had to serve that purpose.

Does the team plan to revisit this style of gameplay in future titles?

Who knows? It’s too early to discuss our future project ;]

Did the 2020 pandemic create any complications in getting The Medium ready for release?

Pandemic hits us in the middle of development so it has a big impact on our team. In Poland, we had a strict lockdown at the beginning so we needed to switch to home offices immediately.

It was a very nervous period for us, but I’m really proud of the team and how fast we adapted to this crazy situation. Hands down to our Producers and IT team who organized everything within 2 days and we got back on track.

I think the biggest challenge was recording mocap sessions remotely – you can check it here:

What inspired you to include references to real Polish historical events in The Medium?

As a Polish developer, we’re proud of our culture and try to use our games to spread it worldwide. The Polish history was also a great match to the theme of the game: Duality. Marianne lives in the post-communist Poland but her investigation is closely tied with the communist times.

We found this clash of realities very interesting and inspiring. Our experience shows that our culture can be actually attractive to players from all over the world. Exotic and intriguing, too. 

Why did the team use English voice acting instead of Polish voice acting with English subtitles? Would the team consider adding Polish voice acting to the game in the future?

To be honest, we feel that we make our games for a worldwide audience, that’s why, for example, we write game scripts in English and English voices were our priority. Of course, I would love to hear Polish VO in the game but it wasn’t possible to pull off.

The Medium tackles difficult subjects of abuse and trauma, was it difficult for any members of the team to write about these subjects?

Of course, it was – we feel the burden of these subjects. We didn’t intend it as shock value, we wanted to tackle a difficult topic other games ignore and tried to do it as well as we could. 

How did the team approach the art design of the spirit world as inspired by the works of Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński?

Beksiński’s art, especially the period in his career that we are inspired by, can only be described as disturbing, gloomy and surreal. The paintings are usually detailed scenes of death and decay, often depicting skeletons, dead bodies and equally dead landscapes.

It’s a perfect match for our spirit world, a hostile and sad place where the dead linger. We analyzed his paintings and first created materials, textures and small objects, and only then used them to build larger objects, locations and whole environments.

The live action trailer for The Medium was fantastic. Have there been any talks about adapting the game’s story into a film or TV series?

Thank you! I loved it too. The trailer was made by our friends from Platige Image – hands down guys and gals! Seeing the game I helped make in the form of such a cool trailer, a short film almost, was an astonishing experience and it gave me goosebumps.

We would love to see our world on a big or small screen but for now we are still a game developer 🙂

How did the team connect with composer Akira Yamaoka, and what was his response when asked to collaborate on The Medium’s soundtrack?

Oh my! For me working with Akira-san was a dream come true and I still remember our first meeting in Tokyo where we showed him the game. It was arranged by Bloober Team’s CEO, Piotr Babieno. Piotr, if you are reading this, thank you for this opportunity!

Would you like to collaborate with Akira Yamaoka again in the future?

Sure! We are in love with his disturbing tunes ;]

What do you think of the comparisons people have been making between The Medium and Silent Hill? Was Silent Hill one of the inspirations in the creation of The Medium?

Personally, I love the Silent Hill series. To be honest, Silent Hill 2 is one of my favorite games ever so the series definitely has been inspiring me for years, and it was no different with The Medium.

What other forms of media inspired the creation of The Medium?

I have been in love with horrors since I rented my first VHS tape with Hellraiser from a local movie rental as a kid and the clerk told me that I should not show it to my mum. From then, I breathe horror stuff, so I’m finding inspirations in books, movies, games and also music.

The Medium has an interesting post credits scene that makes us curious as to whether there will be a sequel to The Medium in the future. Does the team intend to continue the story of The Medium?

At the moment, we do not have plans for a DLC. The post-credit scene intends to complete Thomas’s storyline, not to tease a DLC.

Adding to that, what’s next for Bloober Team in terms of game development? Does the team have any other projects currently in the works?

There is always something lurking in the darkness, and it’s usually closer than anyone expects 😉 

A huge thank you to Wojciech Piejko and the entire staff over at Bloober Team for taking the time to respond to our interview, and for making a game as phenomenal as The Medium! 

As you can probably tell, we’re huge fans of the beautiful work they’ve done on The Medium and highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. For updates on any future projects out of Bloober Team, be sure to follow them on social media.

To learn more about The Medium and find answers to any questions that may not have been answered here, you can read through an AMA that Bloober Team did on Reddit back on February 4.

Related: The Medium Review | A Spiritual Journey