If that title reminded you of Lovecraft, you would not be wrong, as the all-present H.P. is an inspiration for indie-devs at Rock Pocket Games and their game, Moons of Madness. The game is set on Mars, in a scientific outpost, and follows the struggles of a lonely astronaut by the name of Shane Newehart who needs to make sense of supernatural events that start occurring.
Lovecrafts work have often invoked the “cosmic” horror and this time it really is – Rock Pocket Games say that they have applied it to the narrative, environment and gameplay, or, to quote: “the sense that ordinary life is a thin shell over a reality that is so alien and abstract in comparison that merely contemplating it would damage the sanity of the ordinary person”.
The devs say that they are relying on three main core mechanics:
- Combining hard science, based on meticulous analysis of NASA and Space X research, with Lovecraftian horror.
- An innovative feature called “Zone Outs” that simulates Lovecraftian madness. Players are exposed to hallucinations and visions they play through as part of the game. They have to understand what the visions are expressing as they foreshadow certain events mapping out the character’s history.
- Exploring mental illness through various game modes without antagonizing the medical condition itself.
Looking at the trailer, there is a certain hint of Firewatch in it, with a twist in the location and the idea of exploring mental illness seems to be a bit of a trend, with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice coming out yesterday, dealing with similar topics. And let’s not forget the movie Moon (2009) which features a lone man in a situation that grows weirder by the minute.
Moons of Madness will be out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2018.