This years E3 was a bit odd for me, as I had the opportunity to preview and demo several different supernatural style games, one of which was developer Frogwares upcoming cosmic horror game, The Sinking City, produced by Bigben Interactive.
Unfortunately, my preview was a hands off one, but the game itself seems to capture the madness and futility of the Cthulhu mythos very very well. Set in the 1920s in a fictional New England town, the player will take on the role of Charles Reed. Due to nightmares that he suffers, he is now able to utilize extrasensory perception that will help him in his investigations.
Madness and sanity will play a very large role in how players navigate the game. During the preview, at one point, Charles is confronted with a supernatural horror that he must dispatch to reach his objective. During the confrontation, his sanity constantly dropped due to the otherworldly horror in front of him.
The lower his sanity fell, the more visions, both auditory and visual, the player was treated to. These hallucinations can and will drastically affect gameplay, because while they are just hallucinations, they are real to Charles. Which means that can harm and potentially kill him if the player is not careful.
At one point during the demo, the player accidentally killed an innocent civilian. This action immediately caused Charles to lose all of his sanity, transforming the already decrepit and cursed town to become even more of a nightmarish hellscape, and hallucinations were rife amongst the screen.
This balancing of sanity and making sure you make the right decisions at the right time was a great mechanic. It added a depth of gameplay that just added more layers to the overall atmosphere of inescapable horror.
The other mechanic shown off was the investigation aspect of the game, since Charles is still a detective, regardless of the supernatural events taking place around him.
Due to his extrasensory perception, Charles is able to view events surrounding objects and locals that have a strong significance to his current situation. In this example, Charles finds himself at the murder spot of a person he had been looking for. As the player looked around and observed the scene, the screen would shake when an object of importance was near.
Using Charles’ esp, the player was able to see the events leading up to the murder and the moments immediately after. Once all scenes were viewed, the player was then tasked with putting the pieces together to work out the events of the murder and move on from there.
There was a dark oppressiveness about the game that fits in just perfectly with the Cthulhu mythos. Though while our demo was fairly short, The Sinking City seems as if it will scratch the itch of fans looking for a really good Cthulhu-themed and mind twisting game.
The Sinking City is currently slated for release on June 27th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A Nintendo Switch version is also slated for release sometime in 2019.