A Tale of Old Rites, Winding Alleyways, and a Dash of Human Sacrifice
As the year winds down to a close, we find ourselves contemplating certain questions: what can we pile up around the tree, menorah, or other fragile objects to keep the cat from knocking them over? How many cookies is too many? And, most importantly, what’s happening in the village of Gravoi? If you don’t know where that last question came from, then you haven’t been keeping up with the news from Quantum Astrophysicists Guild and Santa Ragione, who have been hard at work on a new survival horror game they’re calling Saturnalia. This title shows its love of the holidays by staring deep into the unsettling abyss of the winter solstice, through the lens of a twisted St. Lucy’s Day celebration–with St. Lucy being the lady who holds her own eyes on a platter. They just put out a very nice trailer that reminds us of an experimental music video, so go check that out now.
Okay, so it’s a holiday horror game. There’s nothing new about that–or is there? Procedural generation and a stylized, almost rotoscoped graphical approach are shaping up to be Saturnalia‘s primary claim to fame. And yes, they are worked into the game’s story. “As you feel the passing of another year gone by, you notice the hair on the back of your neck begin to stand up, an uneasy feeling creeps across your shoulders, and suddenly everything feels – wrong,” says the video’s description. “Where is everyone disappearing to, and what is this unnatural fog keeping you from moving forward? The twisting streets that were so inviting a few hours ago suddenly become mazelike, closing in on you, suffocatingly dark.”
Atmospheric and very relevant to the game mechanics. Speaking of which, game features will include:
- – Procedural open world, rogue-lite exploration
- – Unique characters with different powers and backstories
- – Matches and light are your weapon, use them to survive and remember your paths to safety
- – Layered levels, use tools to open shortcuts back to essential areas of interest
- – Multiple endings, all influenced by the changing village and its confounding puzzles
The roguelike mindset is very conducive to stress and horror, so we can’t wait to wander the ever-changing streets of this spooky town, searching for answers, praying we won’t stumble into any dark rituals. Because we know they’re out there. Bodies don’t end up buried in walls by accident. And our only weapon is going to be light? Yeah, things are gonna go south real fast, and we’re loving it.
Saturnalia is expected to release in Q2 2021.