The moment horror fans learned about Night Terrors, it became one of the most anticapted games of the years. For those unfortunate enough to not know about it, Night Terrors is an Augmented Reality game by Novum Analytics that turns the player’s house into a horror game experience. Wanting to learn more about this property I was able to talk to Novum’s co-founder, Bryce Katz, to discuss Night Terrors.
Nicholas Yanes: Growing up, what were some of your favorite videogames?
Bryce Katz: I was into all types of games. Shooters, fighting and racing games we’re probably atop my list. Mortal Kombat, spent hours on 007 GoldenEye playing with my little brother, and the Gran Turismo series was great. I was always fascinated with cutting edge games. I remember one of the early systems (that never panned out, obviously) that I was obsessed with was 3DO. They were really cutting edge for the time. Growing up in the early 90’s was fun because of how quickly game consoles were advancing. It seems like nearly every Christmas there was a ‘must have,’ new system out.
Yanes: You majored in English as an undergrad. As someone who also specialized in the Humanities, I’m curious to know how you leveraged that education into building a technology and video game company?
Katz: Honestly, being creative has always come naturally to me. The reason I took the creative writing English major because writing and creating was far easier than doing math, science or business classes. I had much more freedom, and I appreciated there were no, ‘right answers’ to assignments. I don’t even know how many times it took me to pass Algebra. Too many to mention here, for sure.
Yanes: Though Novum Analytics is based in Las Vegas, you are located in the Kansas City area. Could you share your thoughts on the benefits and challenges of building a tech company in the Midwest?
Katz: I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re ‘building a tech company in the Midwest.’ As it stands right now (somewhat amazingly,) we don’t have a centralized office, and we communicate online mostly. We’d like to change that soon though. There are lots of great opportunities in Kansas City for technology businesses, and we’ll definitely consider moving operations here.
Yanes: What was the inspiration behind founding Novum Analytics? On this note, why was Novum selected for the name of this company?
Katz: Inspirationally, we founded Novum because we are convinced this is going to be a new form of entertainment for people; something fresh and a stand-out from the traditional forms of gaming. We also feel, strongly, that players don’t need an extra $3,000 to participate in immersive entertainment – we are proving this can be done with existing technology, at a low cost to consumers.
‘Novum’ is Latin for ‘new thing.’ It’s been used by lots of science fiction writers as scientifically plausible innovations in sci-fi narratives. It went along with our vision for what this could eventually be.
Yanes: What was the initial inspiration for Night Terrors? And when did Novum know that it should be an Augmented Reality game?
Katz: We set out with only AR in mind – there was no other plan from the start of this. The hurdle we faced was that most mobile processors couldn’t handle this system until late 2014. I’ve had the idea since Blumhouse Productions’ Paranormal Activity came out. So, it’s been a while.
Yanes: When developing Night Terrors, what were some of the production and technological difficulties Novum encountered?
Katz: As I mentioned, the largest hurdle we faced was mobile processors couldn’t handle the load this was going to put on them. We needed an advanced LED on top of that, in which we could control. I would say it wasn’t till the iPhone 5S came out, that we really were comfortable in the experience we could deliver and we started to build this out.
Aside from that, doing something that hadn’t been done is always difficult. Luckily my partner and CTO Bryan Mitchell is a bit of a wizard-genius hybrid, so that always helps.
Yanes: Were there any horror stories Novum wanted to pay homage to in Night Terrors? On this note, what percentage of players do you hope have nightmares after playing this game?
Katz: We would eventually love to pay homage to some of the older horror films. With the first version, we’re starting with a teaser to ease people into this new technology. We’ll get more depth and you’ll definitely see some common themes in the future though. We’re all big fans of the horror genre.
This question made me laugh. We just try to make it as scary as we can. If players are having nightmares after playing this, we’re doing our job J
Yanes: eSports is dramatically growing in popularity. If you could create a competitive event centered on Night Terrors, what would it look like? Would you consider locking people up in an abandoned asylum with the game and rewarding the lone survivor?
Katz: So, multiplayer is certainly something we’re exploring. We would love (and eventually will have) people pairing their devices and playing and sharing the same experience together. It’s a big leap technologically, but we’re confident we can get it working in the near future.
If we could create an event, yeah, it’d probably be to lock people in an abandoned asylum and tailor an experience to match. That’s a cool idea, actually. I’ll add you to the group of testers…
Yanes: Once Night Terrors is released, what are your next goals for the game? Do you see Novum developing other merchandise around this property?
Katz: We plan to do a lot with what we’ve built. It’s taken a long time to get to where we are, and we definitely plan on using this technology for other titles. We’ve got a few fun opportunities in the pipeline that we’re chasing around, and yes, venturing into pairing this with other forms of entertainment such as films is a big blip on our radar.
Yanes: Other than Night Terrors, what are some other projects Novum is working on that people can look forward to?
Only time will tell. I will say I’m confident in 2017, Novum Analytics will become a household name.