Question Time about Scratches!


#1

Hey Guys!

Since I entered Hanwell, Scratches kinda haunts my sleeps again with all of its mysteries.
It is really amazing how the statement “Every item in this mansion tells a story.” is so extremely accurate in this game. The more I play Scratches and the more I focus on the house, the more I feel that I seem to understand what truly happened and the story kinda reconstruct itself in front of my eyes when seeing certain items. I haven’t had this feeling in any game before and I’m really looking forward to Asylum since even the Alpha looks extremely promissing to me. :smiley:

I’m also very curious to read other peoples thoughts and theories about the game. But sadly when we finally got proper internet in our little village in Germany, nucleosys was already dying and closed when I was about to read anything out of first hand. However, a while back ago I found an archive of the forum in the internet with a few threads in it, which survived, and so I was able to close a few gaps in my theory. ^^

However I still got some questions and thoughts which I would like to discuss. They might already have been discussed and answered in the nucleosys forum, so I’m deeply sorry if I mention something the 1000th time. (Although this might call for a prize!)

So First of:

  • Is there any way to open the drawer in the small hallway between the kitchen and the dining room? I mean there is also a locked drawer in Blackwood’s office, but that might just contain some old cigars. For that drawer in the hallway however I feel there kinda might be something interesting in it, maybe just an easter egg. (or maybe every candle in the mansion hidden by Jerrys cleaning crew to prank Michael)

  • I once read about a curious thing. In one demo of Scratches, I believe it was the one, where you could explore the first floor of the mansion, there’s supposed to be a secret compartment in a clock, which I supposed is meant to be the giant grandfather clock at the entry. Inside of that clock there should be development sketches of the game, so basically an easter egg. I also found some sketches of the living room and the area of the telephone on the Internet, which I assumed to be the sketches, who can be found in the game. But I just couldn’t find that spot. I basically clicked every clock to death in the demo and also checked other places (like the mentioned drawer), but I just couldn’t find it. Did I have been trolled or did I just misunderstood something? Because I wouldn’t be surprised if this easter egg would really exist.

And last of today:
This isn’t really a question, but more of a request to Agustín. Me, and I’m pretty sure many others too, would be very curious to see the very old Scratches. I mean the state of the game in the first Teaser. You only have published the attic of the mansion back then, but even that looks very different to the finished version. It would be very interesting to see the rest of the house in that state, maybe even release a playable version of it. But screenshots might do it too… :wink:
I couldn’t find anything on the Internet of it, so I assume possible material might have been getting lost when the old forum shut down.

Anyway, it’s getting late right now, midnight here in Germany.
Thanks for reading, I wish you a good day / night and I’m very curious for your answers!


#2

Heh, I love it when people tries to dissect Scratches and its age-old mysteries :smiley:

Let’s see:

  • I can confirm that there’s no way to open the drawer in the small hallway.

  • About those blueprints, now that’s a new one! I never heard about it – where did you read this? While there were some differences between demo and final game, we never hid any development sketches or notes in any version of the game. Sorry to kill this apparent urban legend :frowning:

  • Right, we first did the attic of the game in a completely different way, but you have to keep in mind that we switched to panoramic view almost immediately. Chances are that there’s close to nothing left from that early period – meaning, there’s just that attic. However, I still have early takes from certain rooms and sections of the game. I hope some day to make these public, along with intriguing details and trivia about the development of Scratches :slight_smile:


#3

PS: Expect even more years of puzzlement and mulling after Asylum :stuck_out_tongue:


#4

(Wall of Text, I know I’m deeply sorry, but when I start writing I barely can stop… ^^’ )
@Agustín

Thank you very much for clearing some things up. But I got much more where that came from! :smiley:

PS: Expect even more years of puzzlement and mulling after Asylum :P

This teasing! I’m dying to play Asylum. :nod:
But I also really appreciate, that you take all the time you need to perfect the game. It’s really a shame of how many games (which appear good and promising at first) turn out to be a complete waste of money, and makes you wonder, what the developers have done with the million budgets. That’s why I love Indie developers, since they don’t have the financial means to literally plug their games full of unnecessary content but instead have to focus on good and innovative gameplay (Penumbra/Amnesia or Dear Esther are good examples in my opinion).
The fun, challenge and 120 hours I’ve spend by now in “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” for 10€ are in no way comparable to most games I played for +50€. (as an instance)

- About those blueprints, now that's a new one! I never heard about it -- where did you read this? While there were some differences between demo and final game, we never hid any development sketches or notes in any version of the game. Sorry to kill this apparent urban legend :(
Yeah, this is really strange. I read this in a forum once, where they talked about the Easter Eggs in Scratches. They mentioned some way to open a clock and something in a dark corner in one of the teasers, which I also haven't found yet...
[...] However, I still have early takes from certain rooms and sections of the game. I hope some day to make these public, along with intriguing details and trivia about the development of Scratches :)
That would be great! :D I'm also looking forward to the documentory about Asylum! I love such interesting bonus content, since I try to get into game development too. You can really see the amount of work and precision you took into the game yet. For instance: Since I'm also interesting in urban exploring (I love to read reports with photos about the buildings/places and their stories), I really got the feeling of being in a real asylum I saw pictures of. (I just hope there won't be any "someone-is-standing-right-behind-me" jumpscares, due to the mental problems of the main character... ^^')

====But back to Scratches============================================

I read in an interview about the “original” ending you had in mind for Scratches (in which there was a chance for Michael to die) and agree why you’ve changed it.
However, come to think about the story and events of the game, I came up with an own scary and confusing ending:
When you perform the ritual on the mask, walking heroicly down the manor, knowing you might have defeated the curse (assuming there really was one) there is nothing happening in the main hall (no scratching sounds, but you can discover the secret way down the fireplace). At this point of the game, the only way finding Robin was to hear the Scratching and check the fireplace again. Since Michael has otherwise neither clue, where to find the mysterious shadow of the basement, nor the time to do so, he has to leave the mansion. But now it comes:
When getting outside, you discover a hole next to you, where you can see Robin has escaped and traces leaving into the forest. Utterly fearless, as we know Michael by now, he can enter the hole and discover the lair (or alternatively use the fireplace).
I think, just seeing the hole (which would be scary as hell) and then investigate the lair would’ve also worked in a wonderful way to end the game, because the teddy already indicates the existence of the son down there. An ending in that way came basically instantly to my mind back then, when I saw the hole Robin dug. Of course it would’ve been much larger than it is in “The Last Visit”, with maybe horrifying blood traces, hand imprints, etc.

One last thing:
When you know what is happening, the game becomes even scarier. I mean Michael mentions distant occasional noises, when you’re down in the basement. Knowing that this cell is basically just a wall away from you… creeeeepy.
I also read in the forum archive about the meat truck, you originally wanted to make an appearance in the game… Imagine: In the 3 days, Michael spends at this Manor, someone sneaks onto the Manor and throws the meat down the grating, while you we’re inside the house (or even worse exploring the exterior of the manor). Imagine you would’ve seen a shadow sneaking through the grates when coming from the chapel or something…

Anyway, I would like to hear if anyone else has similar ideas than me. I already heard about the conspiracy theory that Jerry lured Michael into the manor as feed. Really nice one too! :smiley:
As always: Thanks for reading, and have a nice day! :slight_smile:


#5

I had no idea about the whole urban exploring movement until we began working on the game. It actually attracted lots of interest from that community, people that is just happy to explore the asylum with no regards for the story :slight_smile:

(I just hope there won't be any "someone-is-standing-right-behind-me" jumpscares, due to the mental problems of the main character... ^^')
None whatsoever :D
When you perform the ritual on the mask, walking heroicly down the manor, knowing you might have defeated the curse (assuming there really was one) there is nothing happening in the main hall (no scratching sounds, but you can discover the secret way down the fireplace). At this point of the game, the only way finding Robin was to hear the Scratching and check the fireplace again. Since Michael has otherwise neither clue, where to find the mysterious shadow of the basement, nor the time to do so, he has to leave the mansion.
This is a nice alternate ending, indeed! As you can see, The Last Visit included a bit of that aftermath, hinting that Robin was, indeed, just about to escape.
When you know what is happening, the game becomes even scarier. I mean Michael mentions distant occasional noises, when you're down in the basement. Knowing that this cell is basically just a wall away from you... creeeeepy.
It is. I think this is one of the reasons why people keep replaying Scratches, it's little details such as this what injects so much life into the game :)
I also read in the forum archive about the meat truck, you originally wanted to make an appearance in the game... Imagine: In the 3 days, Michael spends at this Manor, someone sneaks onto the Manor and throws the meat down the grating, while you we're inside the house (or even worse exploring the exterior of the manor). Imagine you would've seen a shadow sneaking through the grates when coming from the chapel or something...
Yes, it was planned just like this. The intrusion would have seemed like a menace at first, but it becomes revelatory when you tie everything together.

#6

It’s been a while! ^^

So a few months ago I decided to replay Scratches and I took pictures of all the letters and some (imo) important parts of the game. I’ve stumbled upon some more questions. Actually I wanted to post them sooner, but RL got me busy and eventually I forgot about it but since I got some time now… here they are:

1.) The Voices in the Gallery
This came to my attention when watching several Let’s Players, who were wondering about this situation when trying to put the story together: When you arrive at Blackwood Manor you can immediately enter the gallery and will hear the african voices. Michael hasn’t read or heard anything about the Dhalmaar or the events of the house at that point.
The question: Is this intentional?
This is pretty odd. Catherine hasn’t heard the voices apparently, as she wanted to send her husband into a madhouse. This would mean, that a curse doesn’t exist and thus Blackwood and Milton drove themselves into madness by holding onto this curse. It would be understandable, that Catherine would have heard voices at some point too, since the paranoia of the two could have taken over… Michael however has just arrived, knowing nothing what happened.

2.) The Body in the Crypt
In the alternative ending, it is revealed, that the body in the crypt is Milton. Does this fact also apply to the original story? I mean sure, Milton has signed the delivery document from the Meat company, but I’m still unsure if the person, we see in “The Last Visit”, really is Milton. If I remember correctly, Robin jumped at the person screaming “Dad”, which would make more sense, if the person was Blackwood. Maybe I’m just too much fixed at the idea, that Blackwood indeed faked his dead, like Michael did. :smiley:

3.) The Paintings Upstairs
Is there any hint in the game I have missed, which says, who has painted the disturbing pictures on the second floor where you can find the hammer? At first I thought it was Robin, since it is clear to me, that while they have build his prison, they’ve kept him in the attic, using it together with the baby buggy and music box as a nursery (and the maid was also forbidden to go upstair). But looking at the dates this doesn’t make much sense, since he still was just a baby during the events. I also don’t think that Catherine, even James have painted them… Anything I’ve missed? :reading:


#7

Haha, glad to see you back and happy to answer more questions! Of course, without ever disclosing the true nature of all the mysteries behind the game :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. I’m not sure which voices you’re referring to. Michael doesn’t mention anything while he’s inside the gallery – it could be just the music that gives away that impression. Then again, IF there were voices inside the gallery during the first day, it still would fit as it’d mean the curse is real and infects every corner of that accursed place.

  2. In the original story Milton carries Blackwood’s body to the crypt (actually the events of the Second Teaser released in 2004). So it’s really him in The Last Visit – he’s back to say he’s sorry (there’s no “dad” scream).

  3. No hints, just spooky paintings adorning the house :smiley:


#8

Well that’s my general confusion. :smiley:
In the first day (and only the first I think) you can hear drums and voices inside the gallery. I mean, yeah Michael doesn’t mentions them, but a letter from Milton reads, that he could hear drums from the gallery. According to that, this would mean a curse does exist, since Michael, even though he don’t knows anything about the events in the house at that point, hears them too.
But then, Catherine (and the maid) don’t seem to have heard anything; Catherine even wanted to put James in a madhouse. Then again this would object the existence of a curse. ???
So the question remains, whether these sounds in the gallery are only ambience music or sorts for the player to hear. :wink:

Ah ok, that’s good to know. ^^
I always thought the Second Teaser would play during the events when Milton and Blackwood were preparing the ritual, as Milton found a note in the crypt, which stated, that Blackwood has deposited something inside the crypt. I was never really sure, whether he meant the “cat” with the “body” or even Catherine, for which he would have needed to find a hiding place. Never would have guessed, that it is James body, which he has to deal with.
So it is true, that Blackwood died of a heart attack and his death has not been faked by Milton… right?


#9

Yes, that part is true :slight_smile:

BTW there’s an ongoing playthrough at Adventure Gamers which you might enjoy. I’m sharing plenty of details about the game and its story!


#10

Lovely read this thread! :smiley:

Keep dem Scratches Trivias coming! It’s very interesting to see all the possibilities, which have been considered for the game until the final version. I found it especially funny, that the early Sketches of Blackwood Manor and it’s surroundings look very familiar to some sketches of my adventures I’ve worked years ago. ^^

While reading this thread, one little more question popped into my mind:
You often mention how you reward the observation of players. Like I said, I managed to put lots of story pieces together by looking at certain rooms in the manor closely. But:
Is the real truth of the game also hidden in Blackwood Manor? ^^
I mean sure, the most discussion is whether a curse exists or not, but is there an actual crucial hint in the game no one has discovered yet?
As for myself, I’m pretty confident, that there isn’t a curse, but I got no undeniable proof yet, but instead got many dissents as I described in a previous post. :bye:


#11

Well, that’s as far as I go in explaining the story. One of the things that has kept the memory of Scratches alive for so many years is the mysterious nature of the story, that “but what if…?” feeling of uncertainty that spawned pages and pages of theories.

Let me ask you a question: if you’re so sure of all the scientific explanations behind the game, then what’s the meaning of that very last image, that lonely flower growing in the greenhouse?

:wink:


#12

I understand your intentions. This is totally crazy anyways: A part of me wants to know more, but the rest wants to keep the mystery of the game.
I’m really looking forward of all the mysteries we will find in Asylum! :smiley:

As for the flowers, I would explain it as follows:
Scientifically speaking, it could be a pure coincidence.
We don’t know exactly when the flower is blooming, it could be years after the incidents.
It is also not entirely clear, what plant is blooming. Since Blackwood was into African stuff, it could be another unusual African plant, which is used to drought. I can’t see clearly if it’s the African plant on the desk in the greenhouse, but if it is, we know that Blackwood took good care of it, so she might have survived the time, which is indicated by the fact, that she carries fruits.
That’s all I would say when regarding the original game. The Last Visit provides some more hints:
Michael apparently seems to have left the water running in the greenhouse, resulting in a large pool of water next to the house (which Peter easily could have cross :wink: ). So we can assume, that the greenhouse has been provided with moisture, which could have been enough for the plants to live better, but maybe also to clear the window a bit from dusk (maybe there was a hot summer ^^).
Well at least, that would be my explaination. :smiley:


#13

[quote=“Agustín, post:11, topic:793”]Let me ask you a question: if you’re so sure of all the scientific explanations behind the game, then what’s the meaning of that very last image, that lonely flower growing in the greenhouse?

;)[/quote]

My belief is that the curse was real and before Michael purged it from the property, it was not allowing the plants to live or bear fruit. In a native situation I can imagine them using a curse for rival tribes that stunts their food sources on their land so they may have to move elsewhere or die. Maybe in accordance with the curse being lifted, the fact that the plants were native to a place where the weather is sporadic could be why they were allowed to come back from the dead after being dormant for so long. Like how perennial plants can come back after a long winter as long as the root system is in place. The scientific explanations along with certain loopholes MaX has found alone could work but at this point I almost want the curse to be real. ??? :slight_smile: