It’s always perplexed me that there aren’t a ton of title that draw from the dark and cryptic works of H. P. Lovecraft. But, besides the Alone in the Dark series and a small handful of titles, there’s been very little direct Lovecraftian influence and the ancient ones. Fortunately for fans of dark entities older than time itself that will one day devour the world the devs at Cyanide are taking an ambitious crack at a brand new survival horror version of Call of Cthulhu. And we were fortunate enough to get a preview of their dark universe while at E3.
It’s a Lovecraftian delight
Cthulhu is directly based off the table top RPG version of the same name. They even hired a well-known pen and paper scenario writer, Mark Morrison to helm the script and help lend some authenticity. All of the game’s investigative and psychological mechanics will be drawn from the RPG as well.
The game takes place sometime during the 1920’s. You’ll take on the role of Pierce, a private investigator who’s been sent to look into a recent fire at the mansion on Darkwater Island. It would appear that renowned painter Sarah Hawkins and her son, Simon were caught in the blaze. But while local authorities have filed their report and gotten on with things, but obviously someone thinks there’s more to the story.
You’ll use your skills as a PI to uncover clues and inconsistencies in the police report as you piece together what may have really happened. You skills of perception will also help you along the way; for instance if you happen to notice the fresh flowers on the Hawkin’s grave stone before running into the groundskeeper you choose to talk to him and use sympathy to convince him to give you access to the grounds. You could also choose to lie or intimidate you way in, but there’s no way of knowing how it will affect later dealings with him.
Successfully using your abilities will get you skill points that you can funnel into your skill tree. Beefing up social skills will help you in dialog situations. Increasing your knowledge will help your keen investigating skills get honed. But your detective skills aren’t really what you’re going to have to worry about.
There’s a lot of creepy, spooky, dark, horrific stuff afoot on Darkwater Island. And as you play through the game it’s going to have a major impact on your ability to function as a normal human being. As your sanity meter drains you’ll gain various phobias and delusions. For instance, in the demo as Pierce investigated some of Sarah’s paintings something came crawling out of the canvas and started hunting him down. He was able to find temporary respite in a small closet, but due to pre-existing claustrophobia started slowly freaking out as the creature drew closer and closer. If you’re not able to figure your way out of similar situations throughout the game, you could end up so mad that you may never figure out what’s actually going on.
But hey, that’s the world of Call of Cthulhu. And I highly doubt anything is really gonna work out too great for Pierce in the end anyway. But we’ll have to wait until later this year to find out if he’ll make it out of the other end of this madness with any sanity whatsoever, as Call of Cthulhu won’t be hitting XBox, PS4 or PC until later on this year. We’ll be sure to let you know when there’s a firmer release date.