The work of American Author H.P. Lovecraft has captured the imagination of video game, RPG, and board game players for years. Focused on ideas of unknowable cosmic horror, as well as personal themes of hopelessness, insanity and detachment, Lovecraft’s bleak works have captivated fans and inspired countless adaptions and references in other media as diverse as the Evil Dead films and South Park. Equally popular in video gaming, references to the Cthulhu Mythos have made numerous appearances throughout the years, appearing in many popular franchises (X-COM, Quake, Warcraft, the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and even Call of Duty, just to name a few) and inspiring games like the Alone in the Dark series, considered the forerunner of modern survival horror. Horror is more popular than ever now, especially in the era of high-def immersion and VR, setting the stage for a comeback of Lovecraftian titles.
Will these upcoming games earn acclaim like the atmospheric action-RPG Bloodborne? Or suffer the unfortunate fate of the most recent Alone in the Dark entry, Illumination? Here we list all the known video games under development right now that are based on or draw heavily in inspiration from the work of H.P. Lovecraft:
Call of Cthulhu
Perhaps the most iconic Lovecraftian horror story as well as a popular RPG and card game, a new incarnation of Call of Cthulhu will be making its debut in 2017. Created by the grimly-named developers Cyanide Studios and published by Focus Home Interactive, the RPG-investigation adventure will release for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.
Created using Unreal Engine 4 and featuring semi-open environments, Call of Cthulhu will include psychological horror and stealth elements while on a quest to reveal the secrets behind the death of an artist and his family. Of course sooner or later Cthulhu awakens and the story takes a dark turn. Some screenshots were released a couple of weeks ago which you can check out here.
The Sinking City
From the developers of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, a 2007 title praised for its blending of the two franchises, The Sinking City is an upcoming open world investigation game set firmly in the Cthulhu Mythos.
The player will assume the role of a private investigator in 1920s New England, where a supernatural disaster has flooded the city, causing its inhabitants to crumble on to the brink of madness. The player must do what they can to solve the mysteries without succumbing to insanity themselves. While details are still limited for the game, the developers claim it will be their largest yet. You can look at some recently revealed screenshots here.
At the Mountains of Madness
Based on Lovecraft’s original novella from the 1930s, At the Mountains of Madness, geologist William Dyer takes part in an expedition to the Antartica looking for undiscovered fossils and zones as yet unseen by any man.
Played through first-person using the Unreal Engine 4, Dyer will have to survive the harsh climates of the Antarctic while exploring the ancient alien cities hidden within. The latter will be rendered as procedurally-generated dungeons infested by original monsters from Lovecraft’s novella, presumably including Shoggoths, Mi-go and Cthulhu’s own Star-spawn. Developed by Spanish developers Team Clockworks, the title has been Greenlit on Steam and will be setting up a Kickstarter page soon in search of backers. You can have a look at the developer’s official site here.
Moons of Madness
A first-person psychological horror game from Norwegian developers Rocket Pocket Games where hard science fiction meets genuine Lovecraft influence. The PC exclusive is set to include Virtual Reality and is being funded by the Norwegian government.
No news on release dates as development is still very much in its earliest stages, but Rocket Pocket Games have released a teaser trailer to whet that Lovecraftian appetite. The developers seem keen to let everyone know that Moons of Madness is an original concept that won’t be taking inspiration from any other games of a similar ilk. Whether this is a wise move or not remains to be seen.
Call of R’lyeh
Currently hoping to be Greenlit via Steam, Call of R’lyeh is a first-person exploration game heavily based on the Cthulhu mythos. Not too much is known about the game so far other than part of it will be set in the sunken city of R’lyeh.
Trapped inside Cthulhu’s dream, you are tasked with finding ten special artefacts that will help retell the story of the Special Ones and R’lyeh itself to find an escape from this nightmare. For a short trailer and some screenshots, as well as to help make the game a reality, head over to the title’s official Steam Greenlight page.
Edge of Nowhere
Developed by Insomniac Games for the Occulus Rift, Edge of Nowhere sends the player to the frozen reaches of Antartica in search of a missing team, likely lost to events similar to those in Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. This is the second game focused on that novella and so we can imagine many of the same themes and subjects coming into play. The player will have to face the natural dangers of the harsh environment while exploring ancient alien ruins and encounters with remnants of a multi-sided conflict fought millions or billions of years ago.
The action-adventure VR title is scheduled for a spring 2016 release, and you can check it out on its official website here
A Place for the Unwilling
An unusual game that puts the player’s avatar in a secondary place compared to the setting itself, A Place for the Unwilling is a puzzle/adventure/mystery game about events in a fictional, Victorian or early 20th-century style city. Citing Lovecraftian fiction as an inspiration (it’s unclear if the story will actual include elements of the mythos), its premise is that the city itself is alive, in a literal versus metaphorical sense, with neighborhoods growing of their own accord, and problems like crime and plague among the population representing diseases in a larger organism. The game is played by exploring the city and uncovering the various secrets and mysteries of its inhabitants and locations, and addressing events and problems as they occur.
Currently the game is funded on Kickstarter and estimated for a 2017 release. You can see more about it here.
What Remains of Edith Finch
In What Remains of Edith Finch, the player gets to experience the process of dying over and over again while sorting out the mystery of a curse upon their family. Developer Giant Sparrow cites ‘weird’ fiction like Lovecraft’s as an inspiration, and whether or not the story draws on the mythos, the tale seems like one he would enjoy. As the title character investigates her doomed ancestry, the game allows you to experience the lives generations of Finches who all lived in the same Washington State home, using its setting as the anchor between otherwise disparate stories.
The game is scheduled for a 2016 release for the PS4. Trailers available here.