Independent game developers Rock Pocket Games have recently announced their new H.P. Lovecraft inspired Martian narrative Moons of Madness, arriving on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018. Moons of Madness will be a first person, psychological horror, (in true Lovecraft fashion) that explores the internal struggles of astronaut Shane Newhart and the supernatural occurrences that take place on planet Mars’ first scientific outpost, research station Trailblazer Alpha.
The trailer itself starts off plainly enough with Shane roaming the pains of Mars as he discusses music with a colleague, but all that ends abruptly as his buggy powers down. Forced to examine the problem, Shane learns of strange energy readings, before experiencing distorted and surreal hallucinations. He quickly plunges downwards into a state of paranoia and fear as images and scenes that can’t possibly exist on the desolate planet manifest around him. What happens to Shane from here is unknown, but it it’s clear not all is right with his reality.
In Moons of Madness, Rock Pocket Games have integrated the Cosmicism style, prevalent in Lovecraft’s works, and applied it to the games narrative, gameplay, and environment. It pushes players to look past the sense of what an ‘ordinary life’ is and realise that it’s merely a veil covering the true reality, a world truly alien and abstract that would drive any person to insanity.
To create this “lyrical experience” into a game, Moons of Madness have employed three main core mechanics:
- The combination of hard science, based on meticulous analysis of NASA and Space X research with Lovecraft-styled horror
- An innovative feature called “Zone Outs” which induces a state of Lovecraftian madness. Players will be exposed to hallucinations and visions as they play through the game. The hallucinations will act as foreshadowing’s of Shanes past and will help a player grasp what is truly going on.
- Players will also explore mental illness through various game modes that aim to explore, not antagonise, the medical condition the game will draw upon.
According to CEO of Rock Pocket games Ivan Moen “Moons of Madness is more than just a sci-fi psychological horror game, it’s a project that the team has been brewing for a long time and aspires to redefine the genre by immersing the player into the character’s psychology and its mental illness.”.
He goes on to say “As fans of H.P. Lovecraft, it was easy for us to anchor the game with solid references from his visceral story telling material. At the same time we have invested a lot of time and energy mastering Unreal Engine 4 to create a realistic Martian world, which is perfectly illustrated in the high production value and stunning visuals found in the launch trailer.”
The nerve-wracking announcement trailer “reality wreck” gives us a brief glimpse into Moons of Madness’ psychological bombardment, forcing players to determine for themselves what reality is and what isn’t. Coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, it’s clear that this will be a game to keep our eyes on in 2018.