Lovecraftian horror RPG Call of Cthulhu shows off a full hour of gameplay

Developer Cyanide has hit the record button and proffered up a full hour of gameplay from its forthcoming Lovecraft-inspired horror RPG, Call of Cthulhu.

Cyanide’s Call of Cthulhu (not to be confused with the other Lovecraft game in the works, Frogwares’ The Sinking City) is the official video game adaptation of publisher Chaosium’s much-loved classic pen and paper RPG. As such, it prioritises deduction and detective work over guns and combat – after all, the series sensibly reasons, a pistol likely wouldn’t be much help against a formless elder being from beyond space and time.

Call of Cthulhu casts you as Edward Pierce, a hard-drinking private detective suffering from PTSD, who agrees to investigate the mysterious deaths of the Hawkins family at their foreboding, fog-swept mansion on Darkwater Island, Massachusetts. That, as you might imagine, involves hunting for clues, interrogating characters, and solving crime scenes – some of which you can see in the hour of gameplay below.

There’s a lot of chatter from the hosts in the video (the gameplay was shown in a livestream by publisher Focus Home Interactive), but there’s plenty of information in there, and a nice long look at Call of Cthulhu’s pleasingly slower-paced exploration and investigatory action.

Of particular note is the way that the options available to you are determined by your chosen skills (you can pick from Strength, Eloquence, Investigation, Medicine, Spot Hidden, Occultism, and Psychology) and your proficiency in them. You might, for instance, be able to coerce more information out of a character if you have sufficient Strength to intimidate them, or you might be able to make sense of mysterious wall etchings if you’ve expanded your knowledge in the realm of Occultism. These skill-based events often trigger skill checks, determining such things as the responses you get in conversation and the information you can glean during an investigation.

There’s also another look at the game’s reconstruction mechanic toward the end of the video, in which Pierce uses his powers of deduction to scour a crime scene for clues and piece together the events that occurred. It’s probably fair to say that some of Call of Cthulhu’s presentational aspects betray its lower budget, but I’m absolutely digging the more methodical pace and the gloomy period ambience.

Call of Cthulu is set to release on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on October 30th.

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