Call of Cthulhu Previews

A fistful of previews for Focus Home and Cyanide’s Call of Cthulhu have emerged on the web since this summer’s E3 event, allowing us to ingest some more informationa bout the dark, Lovecraftian RPG.


As an Investigation-RPG, information gathering is one of the key tenets of the player’s overall experience. You’re on the island of Darkwater literally investigating what appears to be foul play at the Hawkins mansion, but the island itself also becomes a source for overall reasoning. The fire is just the first investigative step you take, and the more you utilise Pierce’s detective skills, the larger the world around you appears. You’ll start learning about occultism; the island’s mysterious past — and present — and all of this will begin to present you with a conundrum: because the more information you have, the more likely you are to trip up on the insanity side of the game. Though the devs do assure us it is possible to finish the game not completely insane and with free will intact, but they wouldn’t delve further into this for fear of spoiling the experience.


Pierce, now on the hunt for the son and motive, continues his way through the mansion, finding himself blocked from passing down another hallway. Cyanide Studios has promised that the experience players get for solving cases and wending their way through the environments within Call of Cthulhu will allow various dispositions to be upgraded, such as Forensics (to identify biological oddities), Investigation (to piece together clues into logic), Lockpicking (to find clues and pathways hidden behind locks), and Occultism (to deduce knowledge steeped in mystery). With the upgrades that Pierce possesses in our demo, he is able to unlock a side door with the Lockpicking skill and enter the child’s room from another entrance, rather than being forced to find another way around and risk exposure to otherworldly roughness.

Gaming Trend:

Beyond just choosing between conversation trees, there is a whole slew of skills in Call of Cthulhu that power every aspect of the game. Psychology, forensics, eloquence, occultism, athleticism, strength, and more to help you find hidden objects, understanding mystic symbols, having the strength to force a lock, and more. We found a book on medicine that improved our forensic skills, which suggests that there’s a whole progression engine in the game, but a quick event in the game that didn’t go our way illustrated that failing a skill roll can sometimes lock out that path entirely. The way the team put it, you’ll have many ways to choose free will in Call of Cthulhu, but at every point you deviate from the pre-chosen path, there is always a cost.


Regardless of Pierce’s specializations, his detective skills are represented in-game through his ability to visualize the events in a scene by studying a crime scene, which gives you the ability, called Reconstitution Mode, to dig through a re-creation of past events for clues. This can be as subtle as smudges of blood on the floor, leading Pierce to determine the direction in which a wounded man was running. As Pierce’s sanity diminishes through continued contact with the horrific entities of the Cthulhu Mythos and the cultists that serve them, his ability to visualize scenes will become “corrupted,” leading to more horrific flashbacks.

New Game Network:

Graphically, Call of Cthulhu does conjure that sense of foreboding through its visual design. Dusty bookshelves, antique furniture, and other elements like costume design all seem to fit the setting very well. As you can imagine, it is a very “dark” game and while the lighting effects were acceptable, it is a not a game that will push current-gen systems to the max. Saying that, the exterior environments, such as the docks, do have a very American Horror Story sort of vibe to them.

And PlayStation LifeStyle:

When I asked about length, one of the developers told me that it will take about 10-12 hours to complete with multiple endings that you can get based on your stats and choices throughout the game. The branching paths will be impacted by your particular skills, relationships with people you meet throughout the game, and of course that pesky little thing called sanity that permeates every bit of Call of Cthulhu.

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