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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.
The game stars Ellen McLain (best known as GLaDOS in Portal) and John Patrick Lowrie (the Sniper from Team Fortress 2) as the intense Rebecca and Isaac Walker. 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.
Every playthrough offers unique gameplay scenarios and story elements, with different character personalities and a shifting narrative told through investigation and action. How dangerous are the Walkers? Who are your allies and enemies? How far will you go to uncover the truth and save these people?
"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."
"In this game, it's less that the story is changing. It's that the actual choices are changing underneath players."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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