First Impressions: Call of Cthulhu
I must admit that I don’t know a thing about Cthulhu or Lovecraftian lore. I swear I see Cthulhu in memes all over the place, but never took the time to see what it was all about. So with this in mind, I went into my appointment with Call of Cthulhu with an open mind. I had no expectations, so I was interested to see what kind of game will be made based on Lovecraft lore.
First, Call of Cthulhu is based on the pen and paper RPG with the same name. The developers from Cyanide Studios made this decision because of the amount of content in that pen and paper version. Call of Cthulhu will feature three main things – investigation, Lovecraft lore, and the dark universe. The overall theme of madness was brought out throughout the presentation.
Your character is a private investigator named Edward Pierce. It’s sometime in the 1920’s, and you are called to an island to investigate the death of a very prominent person on the island. The demo actually starts you off at the manor of the victim. We saw a glimpse of the importance of investigation. In this case, you investigate the cemetery and notice that the victim’s grave is well taken care of compared to other gravestones. This info is important, because soon you need to convince the caretaker of the manor to let you into the house to investigate. Because you had the previous info, you are able to convince him to let you in. If you didn’t investigate, then it would be harder to convince him. All information that you gain when investigating plays a very prominent roll in Call of Cthulhu.
Clues that are found will help earn you XP that goes towards various skills. One skill, psychology, will help you find the meaning behind clues you find. Again, this will help you in your quest to gain answers. In the demo, you investigate the crime scene and must make deductions based on the clues and what was in the police report. Due to your investigation, you find out that the police report is completely wrong.
Investigation is very important, but so is your sanity. Throughout the game, you will have sanity and madness to watch out for. Not only that, but you gain phobias that will alter the way you play. For example, we saw Edward have claustrophobia. In a very intense scene, Edwards was trying to escape a monstrosity that emerged from a painting. The character ran into a closet, but started to get tunnel vision and his heart was pumping really fast. At some point, the phobia will completely take over and you won’t have control. In this case, it is possible for Edward to burst from the closet at the wrong time and be killed by the monster. You will need to be careful as you work through the game and gain more phobias.
As of right now, Cthulhu will be approximately 20 hours. There are many chapters in the game full of dark themes and madness. It is very atmospheric and pretty creepy. I think Call of Cthulhu will have find a niche with gamers who love a more intense psychological horror game. The team is hoping to release Call of Cthulhu sometime in 2017. As someone who never read about Lovecraft, I found the game very interesting and will definitely give it a try when it is released.