The Church in the Darkness Coming to PS4

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The Church in the Darkness Coming to PS4

Games are perfect for creating complex worlds and stories to get lost in, particularly action games where emotions are high and your moment-to-moment decisions mean life or death. As a developer I like telling unique stories and watching as players change the narrative based on what they do.

I’m happy to finally announce our game The Church in the Darkness, coming to PS4. And it has exactly that kind of thought-provoking world.

The Church in the Darkness is set inside a religious cult in the 1970s. The Collective Justice Mission is led by the charismatic and intense Isaac & Rebecca Walker who preach a progressive socialist agenda. They are labeled radicals, feel persecuted by the U.S. government and fear for their safety.

So they move their congregation somewhere they think they can set up the ideal socialist utopia: the jungles of South America. There they build Freedom Town. But relatives left behind in the United States become worried: what exactly is going on at this compound in the jungle?

That’s where you come in. As Vic, an ex-law enforcement officer, you set out to infiltrate Freedom Town to check on your sister’s son, Alex. The core of the game is top-down, action-infiltration gameplay in the open map of Freedom Town. You get to play the way you want — you can play precisely and avoid detection completely, you can get the guards out of your path using non-lethal methods, or you can kill anyone who gets in your way.

The Church in the Darkness on PS4The Church in the Darkness on PS4

But you’ll want to make those choices wisely, because when you arrive in Freedom Town you don’t know for sure — are these people just separatists wanting to live their own life in peace, or are there darker things happening here? The game is meant to be highly replayable, and each time you play the motives of Isaac and Rebecca will change. 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 whether everything in Freedom Town is fine, or if bad things will happen if you don’t do something to save these people.

Long time PlayStation fans may remember The Suffering horror games that I wrote and directed. Those titles blended twisted supernatural horror with an aging haunted prison, a setting that let us deal with a lot of disturbing, real-world subject matter. Though The Church in the Darkness has no supernatural elements, it does look at some of the more extreme sides of humanity. And like The Suffering, in Church I want the player to have to think hard about what they want to do when confronted with darkness.

I’ve recruited several key collaborators from The Suffering working with me again on this project. One is actor John Patrick Lowrie. He played a bunch of roles in The Suffering and was someone I always wanted to work with again. John’s an accomplished theater actor, so I knew he could take on the complex role of the fiery Isaac Walker. You may also know him from his other work, perhaps his performance as The Sniper in Team Fortress 2.

The Church in the Darkness on PS4

Opposite John, I knew I wanted someone who was just as strong an actor to play Rebecca Walker, and talking with John we realized who better than his wife, Ellen McLain. Ellen needs even less introduction, as you’ve no doubt heard her singular performance as GLaDOS in the Portal games. The parts were written for John and Ellen from the very beginning. Having a real-life married couple play this fictitious married couple has brought extra depth to their performance, and is one of the best collaborations I’ve ever had.

We’re going to be showing more of the gameplay in future updates. I can’t wait to see what choices you make in the jungle.

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10 Author Replies

  • Game looks really interesting. I really like the setting and style of the game. Can’t wait to play this on PS4!

  • Trailer is terrific–it really peeked my interest.

  • will they drink the kool aid?

  • wait you worked on The Suffering? Pfft count me in. I loved those games and I feel they were overlooked.

    • Hey, thanks! I was the Creative Director/Lead Designer/Writer on The Suffering games so I always love to hear when people remember them fondly. I’ve got several key Suffering developers back with me on this game, including voice actor extraordinaire John Patrick Lowrie who played Hermes & Sergei and that mean guard at the beginning. He’s playing Isaac Walker, the male voice you hear in the trailer. He’s sooooo good…. great to be back working with him again.

  • so, every time I start a new game, there’s a chance they’l have good intentions or they can be crazy and dangerous? The setting is very interesting.

  • This looks awesome

  • This looks awesome lol Jonestown the vidya game!

  • I’m intrigued. Will be keeping an eye on this one!

  • Really looking forward to this. I’ve been studying Jim Jones and the goings on in Jonestown for many years now and I can’t wait to see where they go with this game!

  • Wait… is this third person? Huh, I didn’t think any smaller devs other than sidescrollers were willing to go to the effort of animating a player’s avatar anymore.

    If that’s the case, then I’ll give this a look at some point. :)

  • Game looks good but I’m a little confused… I’ve never heard of a progressive (liberal) religious cult. Usually religious people are conservative.

    Also, people should know there’s a MAJOR difference between socialism and communism. One is good and the other isn’t.

    Game looks good but it comes across as an anti Bernie Sanders propaganda…

    • We should all know the difference between socialism and communis,but thats beside the point. Calling either good or bad is subjective. Jim jones used socialist ideas in his teaching and was a huge basis in his cult before he ordered murders and then a mass suicide.

    • Socialism and communism are both just different philosophies, I don’t think it’s very fair to call either good or bad. This comes across as being 1,000% completely Jim Jones and doesn’t allude to Bernie Sanders whatsoever so I don’t know where you’re getting that from other than that it used the word, “socialism”.

  • Is this a Jim Jones ‘Drink the Kool aid’ kinda Game ?

  • Game looks really unique and I have fond memories of playing The Suffering on the PS2. What ever happened to that game? Any chance of a re-release for consoles or Steam? Even as a digital PS2 classic would be cool.

    • Hey thanks! We did the two games and then Midway (who owned the developer Surreal) went other directions with its product line and eventually… didn’t survive. Would be great to do another game though, if we could get the rights sorted out! But first I have to finish *this* game.

  • Release window? Can’t wait to kill some radical Christians!

  • Couldn’t you have made this without the stupid political undertones? Just make a game about vigilante who infiltrates Westboro. People would love that because everyone with a brain hates them.

    But instead, you decided to paint progressives and socialists in an unrealistic light. For one thing, most of us are not religious because religion is outdated and progressives are trying to make progress, hence the name, and therefore move on from outdated ways, such as bigotry and religion.

    The bad guys in your game sound more like GOP enthusiasts and Donald Trump followers.

    You turn to the good guys into the villains. This has “Republican’ written all over it.

    Thanks but no thanks. I love indie games and I usually don’t care about hidden messages but this is very blatantly in your face and obvious what you’re trying to say about my kind and I don’t much appreciate it good sir.

    • Look up Jonestown, I don’t think this game is saying what you think it is.

    • Jim Jones, who this is based on was a socialist. This game couldnt bbe made without the stupid political undertones because these groups always have stupid political agendas. Jim jones did, charles manson did, david koresh did, ect.

    • Hey sorry it came across that way to you. One important point about the game is that sometimes the leaders of the sect are a danger to their people, and sometimes they’re not. It’s not an anti-socialism game. The game’s all about grey areas, and how hard it can be to read whether a charismatic leader is truly noble or not. I’m working hard to make the game not quite as simple as I think you fear it is – I hope you’ll give it a chance once we reveal more down the road.

    • Well… when you put it that way I can see where you’re coming from. I apologize. I will reserve my judgement until the game comes out and I get a chance to watch some gameplay and if I like what I see I will buy it. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    • Everyone with a brain shouldn’t “hate anyone”, including Westboro folks. Hate some of their ideas and attitudes maybe, but not people themselves. For a supposed progressive you should know the power of hippie love to conquer all differences.

    • You understand that Bernie Sanders is about Democratic socialism and not straight socialism right? You understand it’s not the same thing right?
      “This has “Republican’ written all over it”. – No, it doesn’t- but condemning a video game and calling it political propaganda when you obviously aren’t even aware of what it actually takes influence from (Jim Jones) sounds about right. I think you’re doing a really bad job at being progressive/”anyone with a brain”.

  • I’ll wait for a review or two, but this definitely got me interested.

  • Interesting premise, not sure it’ll be for me but the idea is solid. Is it procedural? The part about your motivations changing each play through makes it sound like it.

    • Yes indeed! Both procedural gameplay and procedural narrative. Want to have a game you can replay for the gameplay but also get different sides of the story.

    • Well that definitely has me more interested. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

  • Saw the name, thought “sounds like an awesome title for a horror game”. Alas, it is yet another top-down game to add to the stockpile of them.

  • Waco: The Game!

  • Gameplay wise it’s sounding like a Social-Open-World game like Way of the Samurai. Which is great because I prefer smaller, more dynamic open world games to sprawling wastelands of busywork.

  • Any plans to bring this game to PS Vita?

    • No Vita plans at this point, sadly – but wouldn’t completely rule it out either. It could actually play well on a dedicated gaming handheld like the Vita. Thanks for bringing it up and we’ll definitely keep it in mind.

  • Interesting idea for a game. I really like the fact that their beliefs change each time you play it.

  • I can’t wait to persecute and destroy some God-hating, moronic libs.

  • I was already intrigued by how different the plot sounds for a videogame. Then you mentioned The Suffering, and I began tossing whatever dollar bills I had in my pocket at the screen. Waiting for download to commence.

    • Thanks! Always cool to hear when people remember The Suffering. Lots of personal subject matter in that one for me, always good to know people reacted to it.

  • Does the game come with a voucher for a cup of Koolaid?

  • What’s the price target? Digital or retail too?

  • This looks really fresh and interesting, count me in. I wish more developers would have the cajones to do something with real world socio-political and religious backdrops.

  • This looks great!

    Any ideas on when we will see it? Thanks

    • Richard Rouse III

      Thanks! It’s coming in 2017, hopefully early in the year, but we’ve still got a bunch of work to do before we could announce a date.

  • Looks interesting, not gunna lie though. The trailer looked kind of forced. but thats not to say the game will! A verry uniqe setting too!

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