Thanks to a new interview with Two Left Sticks, we now have more details on Paranoid Productions upcoming action/infiltration PS4, Xbox One, and PC game, The Church in the Darkness, which is slated to release sometime this year.
For those that don’t know, The Church in the Darkness is a top-down action/infiltration game where the story changes every time you play it. It’s set in the 1970’s, where an extremist religious sect the Collective Justice Mission moves to South America to isolate themselves. You infiltrate the compound to check on a relative but soon learn that things may not be what they seem.
According to director and designer of the game, Richard Rouse III, the game takes inspirations from the older Metal Gear Solid games, as well as new games like Far Cry and Dishonored. It also draws from PS2 game The Suffering. For example, like in The Suffering, in The Church in the Darkness, you will have to decide to help, ignore, or kill various characters.
Rouse then goes on to talk about crafting the layout of the game’s cult compound. According to the director, the team wanted to make the environment feel natural, and so in turn it decided it was going to give the player complete freedom, though also allow for various scenarios built around stealth or action.
“The game’s approach is to be as systems based as possible – I want the world to feel consistent and be something the player can predict from any way they play. We want players to have a set of tools they can use to interact with the world how they want, whether that’s a gun (not encouraged, but there if you want it) or stealth tools, like an alarm clock you can wind up to cause a distraction or chloroform to knock people out.”
“To make all this work I try to avoid custom-scripting anything too extensively, instead letting the AI take over whenever the player interacts with it, however they want to. To make both stealth and more violent approaches work, the trick is to make the systems and tools work well for both approaches or any approach that is a mix of both. It’s tricky, but we’ve spent a lot of time on it, and people like what we have working so far, and is definitely something we keep iterating on through playtesting.”
Rouse then adds the following about the game’s open-ended approach and difficulty:
“Because of this systems-based approach, the game is a bit more open-ended than a lot of stealth games, which tend to be more linear and focused on one critical path. Here the game’s more open, which allows you to try a lot of different things. That also means as you get really good, what seemed hard at first becomes pretty easy. Which is why we also have multiple difficulty levels. I’m trying to make the hardest setting something that’s extremely challenging even for me. For instance, on the hardest setting, if you take any damage at all you die. We want to make sure everyone will find the challenge they want in the game.”
The director/designer confirmed that you can kill anyone in the game, or no one. He also reveals the ending you get — there is over 10 — is a combination of the narrative you were dealt combined with the choices you made as a player. There is no definitive “good” or “bad” ending, that’s up for the player to decide. One thing that’s important to the team is that the player lives with whatever the consequences of their actions are.
Speaking of endings, according to Rouse, there isn’t a locked number down yet, but as mentioned above, there is a “bit more than ten.” There are also all of the different ways to experience the challenges, as well as characters who may show up in one playthrough and not in another. To see absolutely everything in the game, its going to take a really “large number of playthroughs.” However, Rouse has said that it’s his intent that if you play through to an ending three or four times, you will have a pretty good picture of the game.
Rouse also confirmed the the game has permadeath. Be sure to check out the link below for the full interview.