Based in Seattle, Washington, USA
No one is forced to join a cult. It welcomes you. It understands you. It envelops you until the words become more than truth - they make you whole. In the late 1970s, the charismatic Isaac and Rebecca Walker lead the Collective Justice Mission. Labeled radicals and feeling persecuted by the US government, they relocate their followers to the one place they believe they can create a socialist utopia: the jungles of South America. There they build Freedom Town. But relatives left behind in the US become worried: what exactly is going on at this compound in the jungle? The Church in the Darkness combines unique narrative with tight top-down action-infiltration gameplay in an open-ended environment. As Vic, an ex-law enforcement officer, you travel to South America to get into Freedom Town and check on your nephew, Alex. Play how you want - you can avoid detection completely, take on the guards using non-lethal methods, or kill anyone who gets in your way. But you'll have to live with the consequences of those choices. Every playthrough offers unique gameplay scenarios and story elements, with different character personalities and a shifting narrative told through investigation and action. You soak up the story through the town PA system, where the preachers share their dogma and beliefs. You find documents and letters scattered around camp which clue you into the true nature of Freedom Town. How dangerous are the Walkers? Who are your allies and enemies? How far will you go to uncover the truth and save these people? The Church in the Darkness is coming in 2018.
The Church in the Darkness is directed by Richard Rouse III, who previously led development on The Suffering franchise, in addition to his work on titles like State of Decay, Quantum Break, Sunset Overdirve, and Rainbow 6. This project reunites him with a number of developers from The Suffering as well as other AAA veterans and some game development newcomers. The game stars Ellen McLain (best known as GLaDOS in Portal) and John Patrick Lowrie (the Sniper from Team Fortress 2) as the intense leaders of the Collective Justice Mission. Richard had worked with John on The Suffering games and knew he wanted him for the role of Isaac Walker. When they met to talk about the game, the two realized Ellen would be perfect to play against John as Rebecca Walker. The veteran actors have been involved beyond just their performances, consulting on the story and collaborating to flesh out their characters. Richard has been working in dynamic storytelling in games from his very first project (the open-ended Mac RPG Odyssey - The Legend of Nemesis), up through the branching narratives of The Suffering, and the zombie-survival narrative/simulation hybrid found in the State of Decay games. With The Church in the Darkness the goal is to make a game that players need to replay if they want to see all the sides of the uniquely dark subject matter.
- Set inside the Collective Justice Mission, a religious cult in the 1970s, whose true motives will only be revealed as you infiltrate Freedom Town, their remote community built in the South American jungle.
- Top-down action-infiltration gameplay that lets you play the game however you want, from total stealth, to non-lethal tactics for taking out the guards, to killing anyone who gets in your way.
- Highly replayable game, with shifting gameplay challenges and objectives for each playthrough, and a dynamic narrative that changes the motives of the cult leaders. The shifting narrative and player choices lead to many possible endings.
- Cult leaders Rebecca and Isaac Walker are brought to life by real-life husband and wife Ellen McLain (best known as GlaDOS in the Portal games) and John Patrick Lowrie (best known as the Sniper in Team Fortress 2).
Interview with Game Reactor YouTube
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- "One of '10 Games To Look Forward To in 2017'"
- Emma Kidwell, Nerdist
- "One of the 'Most Anticipated Video Games of 2017'"
- Matt Peckham, Time Magazine
- "One of the 'Most Anticipated Video Games of 2017'"
- Keith Stuart, The Guardian
- "One of 'The 15 Best Games at PAX West 2016"
- Cameron Kunzelman, Paste Magazine
- "We’ve never seen this type of setting seriously tackled in a video game, where we’re more accustomed to fighting black-and-white wars against caricatured manifestations of evil. Rouse chose this approach because he thinks the medium is capable of reaching beyond that scope. "
- Matt Bertz, Game Informer
- "In this game, it's less that the story is changing. It's that the actual choices are changing underneath players."
- Dave Tach, Polygon
- "That's something Rouse wants to inject into The Church in the Darkness... humanity. Isaac and Rebecca are extreme, but they can also be compassionate and caring. Or they can be power-hungry monsters. It all depends on which story you see.
- Jessica Conditt, Engadget
- "It's a creative form of narrative direction that I hope will influence how players choose to go about infiltrating camp. If they're a nice crew, the moral impetus might be to get in and out without harming a fly. If they're bloodthirsty zealots, well, a few flies won't matter. "
- James Davenport, PC Gamer
- "Rouse’s new game, the murkily titled The Church In The Darkness, is a gamble. No one has done it before, so no one knows what the potential is for a game about infiltrating a religious cult in a South American jungle in the late 1970s. No one knows what the potential is for an action-infiltration game, for a throwback to one of Rouse’s old favorites, Castle Wolfenstein, with the twist of having a malleable story... Hopefully The Church In The Darkness will also be as interesting in its finished state next year as it seemed when Rouse showed it to me last month in San Francisco."
- Stephen Totilo, Kotaku
Church in the Darkness DevBlog
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About Paranoid Productions
Paranoid Productions is a small, independent game developer dedicated to making rich gameplay experiences which tackle unique subjects and tell stories in ways only games can. The company is owned and run by veteran developer Richard Rouse III, who assembles a team of collaborators for each project. We like taking risks on subject matter and empowering players to have a big impact on the stories in our games.
More information on Paranoid Productions, our logo & relevant media are available here.
The Church in the Darkness Credits
Richard Rouse III
Director, Designer, Writer, Programming
Ellen McLain and John Patrick Lowrie
Actors, Story Collaborators, Music
Chandana Ekanayaka, Spencer Boomhower, Martin Murphy, Devan Browne, Jason Bennett, Kyle Miller
Brigitte Samson, Veronica Beller, Garrett Bacak
Carl Chavez Young, Ben Young
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