Norwegian publisher Funcom, which has published titles such as Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, Conan Exiles, and Secret World Legends, has announced Moons of Madness, developed by Rock Pocket Games, also based in Norway. The game's tag line is "Mars Exploration Meets Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror," which does sound really intriguing. The title itself seems to be a reference to Lovecraft's story, "At the Mountains of Madness," which is part of the Cthulhu Mythos. It also happens to be an inspiration for the science fiction film Prometheus, also a good example of cosmic horror. Both Moons of Madness and Prometheus seem to share the premise of a scientific exploration gone wrong in the void of space.
The announcement trailer features a lot of in-game footage along with some great cinematic angles. It looks mainly like a first-person exploration game with some immersive sim elements such as diegetic interfaces. The art direction looks very striking, and the animation during interactions with machines seems quite solid. Then it takes a dark turn and weird things start to appear, as you would expect. A zombie, monsters, tendrils, and finally the Lovecraftian signature, gigantic tentacles. The narration is rather scattered and fragmented, but the voice acting is fairly decent.
You'll play as Shane Newehart, a technician working at the Invictus station in Mars. As you arrive you won't be aware of the existence of a mysterious signal intercepted by scientists with a higher security clearance. You're there simply to keep the lights on until a transport ships arrives with a new team. Then you'll begin to notice strange things, and soon the security system goes on lockdown, the greenhouse gets flooded, and Martian dust seeps into the infirmary. You'll begin to have visions and hallucinations as the cosmic horror and madness descends upon you. According to Funcom, Moons of Madness draws from the lore and mythology of their MMO Secret World Legends. "Both games exist in the same thematic universe, but playing one is not a prerequisite to enjoy the other."
Moons of Madness is slated for release by Halloween season in 2019. The game will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. More information is available in the game's official website.
What do you think of Moons of Madness? Is Lovecraftian horror a bit overdone by now, or is it still possible to draw inspiration from his stories? Let us know in the comments below!