The whispering valley, or the creation of a Quebec “national video game”

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The Whispering Valley, or the Creation of a “national”Québécois “video game

The video game “The Whispering Valley” takes place in a typical village in rural Quebec.

Designing a video game that resembles Quebec, from its built heritage to its customs of yesteryear: this is the mission given to Olivier Leclair, head of the small Montreal studio Chien d'or. He is now launching La vallée qui murmure, a point and click type horror game in which we can hear the voices of Louise Richer, Pierre-Luc Brillant and Denis Trudel.< /p>

In The Whispering Valley, the players step back in time, to the 19th century, in the shoes of a priest. This monk receives a disturbing letter from his counterpart in the neighboring village, Sainte-Monique-des-Monts.

The priest tells him to avoid coming to Sainte-Monique, because the village is in agony. He decides to conduct his own investigation, says Olivier Leclair.

During discussions with the villagers, interspersed with puzzles and explorations of the environment, the course of events becomes clearer.

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This narrative framework is based on landscapes and typical buildings of rural Quebec, whether it is the church or the general store.

The watermill that can be seen in this game is inspired by the Beaumont mill, near the île d'Orléans.

To create this aesthetic, Olivier Leclair, a great lover of antiques, was inspired by walks in Charlevoix, the city of La Prairie, where he grew up, and other places in the province.

The doctor's house, for example, is very similar to that of the apothecary in the Village québécois d'antan. The watermill is borrowed from the one you can see in Beaumont, near Île d'Orléans.

The doctor's house in the game is inspired by that of the apothecary in the Village québécois d'antan.

“My intention was to make a Quebec national video game. »

— Olivier Leclair

Otherwise, all his research and his inspirations come from many books on the history of Quebec, for example those of the historian Jacques Lacoursière, the art historian Michel Lessard and ethnologist Yves Laframboise.

The wayside cross visible in the game is inspired by that of the 11th Row at La Minerve.

In Quebec, we create a lot of video games. We are even a global hub. I have in mind only a few games that take place in Quebec or that mention it, but it's rare that we see it on screen, underlines Olivier Leclair.

“The video game is a super interesting tool to do cultural promotion and to talk about our language and our values. »

— Olivier Leclair

This speech seduced the artists Pierre-Luc Brillant, Louise Richer and Denis Trudel, who lend their voices to characters in the game.

It went without saying for them: they quickly understood what the intention of the project was, says Olivier Leclair.

The developer already knew Denis Trudel, actor and Bloc Québécois MP in Ottawa, to whom he had slipped a word about his project when he received, in 2021, the Bernard-Landry young talent award, named after this great builder of the Quebec video game industry.

The idea of ​​creating a national video game appealed to Louise Richer, general manager and founder of the National School of humor (ÉNH).

Same scenario in the case of actor Pierre-Luc Brillant, defeated Parti Québécois candidate in Rosemont this fall.

“We have big game manufacturers in Quebec, but when we move around the world, we are always taken for s identify by saying: "I'm from Quebec, not Canada. We have a history and a folklore that there is not elsewhere." »

—Pierre-Luc Brillant

The actor can't help but also think of his children, who spend a lot of time in front of the screens without, however, having any references to their own nation or their own history when surfing the web.

Pierre-Luc Brillant has acted more than once in films with dark atmospheres.

It's fun to have something that talks about us in a fun way, he says.

If this is Olivier's second video game Leclair, who brought us Le murmureur last year – a title he describes as the prelude to La vallée qui murmure – is a first foray in video game land for Pierre-Luc Brillant.

I was still at the stage where, in video games, the dialogues between the characters were read in bubbles on the screen, laughs Pierre-Luc Brillant, who does not describe himself as a fan of video games. /p>

In The Whispering Valley, the actor embodies a priest and a doctor. While recording, he immersed himself in an atmosphere of gloomy distrust, like the one that reigns in the game, and he was inspired by an image that suggests horror, which he had placed near the micro.

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It's a bit the same principle as doing reading: a voice in an audiobook, for example, or dubbing, he adds.

“It's strange, because you arrive at the recording and you don't have the character in your head. »

— Pierre-Luc Brillant

The actor, a regular in auteur films, also believes strongly in the international scope of video games.

< p class="e-p">People all over the world play it. The game is likely to be seen more than our cinema, he believes.

For the rest, Olivier Leclair does not plan to be unemployed: from the start of 2023, it is a new research and funding for a next game that will start on its side. In particular, he intends to explore a more recent but no less significant period in the history of Quebec, which he is keeping secret for the moment.

The game La vallée qui murmure< /em> on PC is available on Steam on November 30.

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