Moons of Madness: Psychological horror game, Lovecraft influence with sci-fi.


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman


”The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination." ~H. P. Lovecraft

Moons of Madness is a Lovecraft-inspired, first person, psychological horror game that explores the internal struggles of astronaut Shane Newehart and the supernatural events that occur on research station Trailblazer Alpha, the first scientific outpost on the planet Mars.

The game aims to provide an intense, narrative-driven, psychological horror experience. Players will explore a realistic interpretation of the red planet as they uncover the mystery surrounding Shane's past and learn the secrets behind the sinister moons of madness.

H.P. Lovecraft is a big influence for the game. His stories about supernatural cosmic horrors that inflict insanity and feelings of helplessness upon it's victims serve as inspiration to our game and will be seen in its narrative, environment and mechanics.

Moons of Madness puts a unique spin on the madness theme with the zone-out mechanic. A zone-out is a hallucination comprised of combined events from Shane's past, things that will happen in the future, and information about things that should be impossible for him to know. These events bend the player's perception of reality by making them question what was a hallucination and what was real.

Through this innovative mechanic, players can explore Shane's subconscious and discover background details of the characters and game world. These events serve both as foreshadowing and to display the condition of Shane's faltering mental state.

Unique Features

The Martian meets Lovecraft
Unique Storytelling device called ”Zone-Outs”
Interactive Dialogue System
Telling a story about Mental Illness without antagonizing affected characters

Moons of Madness is a strongly narrative driven horror game but there are additional, complementing mechanics that make up the pillars of each chapter.

These pillars consist of exploration parts and puzzles/interactive elements on top of the narrative driven elements. Naturally these are interconnected which is something we have to keep in mind and be very careful about because within those elements we want the player to also feel a range of emotions. Love, anger, fear, sadness etc.

If you want to tell the player something really important story wise he/she should not be distracted by something else. For example, we do not want the player to be in a stressful situation because it makes it easy to miss environmental storytelling or anything not dialogue related.

There are other things to take into consideration, especially in a horror game with tension and scary moments. We do not want the player to be in constant stress or tension. It can get too much, so the effect is the opposite and you lose the impact of the darker/tenser parts of the game. It is important to think of the flow of the environment and how this relates to the game-play. Where is the player at that given time. What other things are happening, what is asked of the player and what do we want her/him to focus on.

So in order to help us determine what kind of mood and state the player should and hopefully will be at any given point in the game we made what we call a ”Mood Map".

It is a visualization of the story-line and game-play, where we also visualize the mood we are trying to achieve for the player. In that way, we have a proper overview of what state of mind the player is supposed to be in and what the objective of that specific situation is.

It is a great tool to see the distribution of mechanics and variety. It helps determine issues such as too many tense events in short succession, or too many technical puzzles within a play session.

Graphs for each chapter help with the visualization of the overall gameflow. We also had a strong mood board and a folder full of references from movies and other games or concept art that would incorporate what we are going for mood, atmosphere and design wise.

Visualization in game development is a really great tool and should not be underestimated to help you design your game.




Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Genre: Psychological Horror
Release Date: Q1 2018
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