Will you get out of your sanity or will it lead you deeper?
Call of Cthulhu is an interesting and faithful-looking attempt at the H.P. Lovecraft series of novels. Swamped in a world of psychological suspense, it’s up to you to take on the role of Private Investigator Edward Pierce, to investigate the death of an entire family in their house on a small island off the shore of Boston.
It’s 1924, so there isn’t a lot of technology to help you solve it. You’re on your own with your detective skills, and a Sanity gauge that will only deepen your madness, bringing you closer to the truth. We had a chance to sit down with Diane Quenet the Project Manager and Romain Wiart Lead Level Designer of Call of Cthulhu to ask some questions that have been driving us insane.
Call of Cluthulu is obviously inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s works, but is there any one of his books in particular that influenced you most of all?
It’s mostly Lovecraft. We took a lot of inspiration from the pen and paper RPG rulebook.
The focus in this game seems very much to be on psychological horror- have you looked at any other successful games of that ilk for inspiration? Perhaps something like Silent Hill, or Eternal Darkness, or more recently, The Evil Within?
Of course. Alone in the Dark and a lot of other games. Even Metro Last Light, it has some good stuff about madness.
"t’s mostly about surviving/repelling and escaping. You will have to get behind things, hide, and go slowly."
Atmosphere is obviously supremely important in a game like this one. How do you craft a game that has the perfectly oppressive atmosphere?
First, you need a scene where things look pretty normal. Put in some leads for the player so they can make their own story. Then you begin to put in some abnormal stuff. Then it’s all about perception.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how the game’s Sanity System works?
We have a gauge [meter] so you know how much sanity you’re losing. Every encounter, every piece of dark knowledge, you will [either] understand, or read [or not], will make you lose a given amount of sanity. That’s scripted in the game. The small part of sanity you can keep in the end, are based on your choices. But it will only be a small part.
You’ve confirmed in the past that Call of Cluthulu will mostly be a game that focuses on stealth instead of combat. Can you tell us about how that will be structured? What kinds of situations will demand stealth, and what kind will demand combat?
It’s mostly about surviving/repelling and escaping. You will have to get behind things, hide, and go slowly. It’s a game about trying to uncover the truth, Furthermore, it’s all about uncovering strange things for your character.
What drove the studio to work on these licenses?
First of all we were huge fan of the license. We’ve been playing the pen and paper RPG since we were teenagers. And then Focus came to us and asked us to work on the license. It was the perfect match.
"Inside some chapters, you have the freedom to choose multiple paths to get to your goal. This will be based on your choices, and your skills [such as if you’re good at lock picking, stuff like that]."
The game’s been described as semi-open world. Will the open world exploration sections the game be relatively “safer”, or can we expect these to be riddled with the rest of the game’s horror and dangers as well? How are you balancing exploration with atmosphere and narrative focus?
This is not a semi-open world, this is a linear story: You go from one chapter to the other. Each chapter is feels different in a different area. Inside some chapters, you have the freedom to choose multiple paths to get to your goal. This will be based on your choices, and your skills [such as if you’re good at lock picking, stuff like that]. It’s mostly about giving a different flavor for each chapter.
The game will feature Xbox One X specific enhancements. What can players expect if they are playing the game on Xbox One X? Is 4K/60fps on the cards?
Not 60fps. It will be in 4K.
How is the game running on the original Xbox One and PS4, frame rate and resolution wise?
30 fps. It’s running good for now.
Do you have any plans to bring the game to Nintendo Switch? If not, why?
Not at the moment. It’s up to our publisher to decide. But we don’t think it will go on Switch. It’s not really the market [we are aiming for].
Next gen is coming sooner or later. From a development perspective, what is your biggest expectation from the next PlayStation and next Xbox?
The ability to able to add dynamic lights everywhere along with really strong performances and dynamic stuff. No more making choices based on optimization, just on how we want the game to feel.