We Need To Go Deeper locked us onto the edge of our seats with its ever immersive co-operative game-play, giving no quarter for errors and hesitation. You and your crew will haplessly drift into the depths, like a moth would to a flame.
With this update we’d like to invite you to our office (of course, we have got to exclude the catacombs section in our guided tour!) and share some insight and stories about the development process through the words of our team members, in a lengthy and detailed video interview.
Although the video is in Turkish, you can set the subtitles to English and Youtube will do the rest! In the next update, we’ll have an announcement to make…
Until we meet again in the twisting corridors of the mind…
In this update, we wanted to focus on some of the features that you weren’t able to experience in the demo but will get to see in the full game. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Darkness itself will be one of your adversaries in Stygian. In a dimension without sunlight you’ll be needing the company of your good old lantern more often than not and of course this will come at the expense of your precious Kerosene.
If you find yourself in darkness without a light source you’ll start losing sanity. If you enter a combat scenario without a party member carrying a light source you’ll have serious disadvantages against enemies (especially the ones that can see in the dark; such as Pickman ghouls).
There are two levels of darkness in Stygian: Dark and Pitch-black. Pitch black represents a supernatural level of darkness that drains your sanity, even while holding a light source. Please note that we are not responsible for the strange visions you may see in pitch-black environments. Question your own dark past…
We’re also planning some pretty neat mechanics for pitch-black combat scenes if the production time allows.
And keep in mind that darkness will have some important effects on user experience in exploration as well, such as not being able to interact with the environment objects that you do not illuminate.
We’ve been neglecting the construction of a good localization foundation for far too long… Not anymore! Madness should be spread to other innocent tongues like wildfire!
For the last two weeks, we’ve been busy doing our bests to prepare the systems that will make the lives of Stygian’s potential translators much less miserable. We may have just saved ourselves from being the target of a lot of potential curses, hexes and malignant rituals. Pheew…
And here is our very first localized screen:
Turkish localization will follow the English release
Are you among those who like to min-max your combat potential? Do you find yourself comparing every little stat out there to maximize the pain you’ll induce to your enemies? Then this system is for you! (You’ll die anyway…)
Whenever you check the statistics of a weapon, you’ll be able to see which stats are higher or lower than your currently equipped weapon’s, thanks to green and red coloured indicators.
If you like a deeper comparison, you can always see the stats of your equipped weapon with a simple right click and examine both items’ properties in detail.
Faction Mechanics and Hiding your Identity
The factions of Stygian will remember the rights and wrongs that you do to them. If you offend the Mob by attacking one of its members inside a populated area, they will come after you. You’ll be seeing bounty hunters patrolling the main hubs and almost all the mob members that you encounter will trigger combat.
If you offend Mob in an isolated area (such as the distillery outside Arkham city), you have to kill every single enemy in order to prevent the spreading of the word. If at least one enemy can flee from the combat, they will come after you.
Thankfully there is a way around that: hiding your identity. If you (and your party members) wear masks before things get hot, your enemies won’t be able to identify you. Ever wanted to be a masked vigilante? This is your turn. Just remember the fate of Betsy Ross, the last vigilante of Arkham. Such a sad tale it is…
This takes us to the end of our update ladies and gentlemen.
Until we see each other in the interweaving tunnels of forbidden data once again.
Greetings to you! Greetings to you all children of the ancients, bearers of the pristine blood, dreamers of our beautiful end!
Let’s begin this update with the production plans of the year.
We know that some of you can’t wait for the full game and believe us, neither can we but we now much better know how much time and effort we need to realize the true potential of Stygian.
We began this project with estimations. None of us have developed a game with such scale until Stygian and at this point in the development, we can easily say that all of the team became much more proficient in their specific areas of development so we can make much more precise calculations on how much time and effort is needed to create the experience we have in mind for you.
That’s why you see the year 2019 as the release date on our Steam page. We don’t want any more postpone declarations during the production because we know how some of you feel about them. We know the feeling as gamers ourselves but we also know the feeling of playing a game which could not live up to the expectations. Stygian won’t be that game. That’s why we released a demo so you can see how much time we spend on details and the creation of a living, changing (although in a horrid way) real world.
You can download the latest version of the demo from Steam
Enough blood and tears! As mentioned above, our Steam page is now online and you can download the latest version of the demo directly from there. It is more polished and has some visual updates when compared to the KS build. Any comments are welcome!
Now, let’s travel back through the alternative history and have a look at the current state of our madness inducing children’s book “Merry Folk from the Stars” from 1920’s. Some of you may remember it as a backer reward from our campaign. Here are a couple of the illustrations that will glorify its unholy pages.
Ada Tuncer is the talented artist behind Merry Folk
Star Pharaoh will take his children to the land beyond the stars
You’ll be able to find this madness induced little book inside the game as well. It was distributed to the book stores across the States and became a best seller among children and their parents alike.
We hope this blackened electric letter is not interrupting any of your daily rituals. If that is the case, please finish the ceremony first and make sure you don’t leave the altar in a mess. Cultic Games is not going anywhere.
In this update, we’d like to focus on some improvements we made on Stygian’s environments since the backer demo, such as; Extended lighting for building exteriors and transparency radius.
Extended Lighting for Buildings
Gas light is a crucial element for the world of Stygian. It symbolizes the final and unfortunately ever declining stand of human civilization against the all-embracing cosmic darkness.
We wanted to see the flickering light of lanterns like dying glow-worms behind the windows of our populated buildings. In order to achieve that, we created a new shader that can produce different emissive color values with various parameters to get exactly the look that we’d like to portray in the game.
This process also required the utilization of some interior objects such as tables, chandeliers, bottles and sorts in order to keep the continuity and populate the now lit spaces.
Shall we have a look at the results?
With this application, in addition to the achievement of a deeper visual atmosphere, we’ve also managed to turn our functional buildings into natural indicators.
Player-centric Transparency Radius
Have you ever wondered what lies behind our buildings? With our new shader you’ll be able to explore the spaces behind the large environment objects and find more loot or probably more trouble in those once shrouded areas.
Border effect and radius is subject to change
You’ll be able to see the updated lighting yourself in the public demo but the transparency radius requires some more testing and probably won’t make it to the public demo build.
And yes, there is going to be a public demo. RPG players around the world should witness the glory of our beautiful doom, don’t you think?
Just before that happens, we’d like to make as many people aware of Stygian as we can by reaching out to streamers and Youtubers. So if you’d like to make a stream or a video about Stygian feel free to drop a mail to “email@example.com” with the subject “Stream/Video Request” so we can sort things out.
Or maybe you’d like to see Stygian in the videos of a content producer that you follow or know? It is the perfect time brothers and sisters! Even writing a simple comment beneath a video will surely help. You know, there are Lovecraftian games lists out there without Stygian in them. As we all know, this is a BLASPHEMY.
Last but not least, we are proud to present you the logo animation of Cultic Games:
In this update we’d like to share all the aspects of our Character Creation System, inform you about Cultic Games’ participation to Gamescom and finally talk about some dates for the backer demo and release. Get ready for a long and (hopefully) thrilling journey!
Let’s begin with a showcase video of Stygian’s character creation screen:
Character Creation consists of the following steps:
0. Indoctrination (Optional)
This is the step you say good-bye to your loved ones, shut all your doors and windows, fanatically repeat your “Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh” prayers and fast for weeks until you remove the last traces of your current identity.
1. Gender Selection
The horrors of Stygian do not discriminate based on your character’s gender.
The world of Stygian reacts to your gender. Different genders will have different relations with some NPCs but from a statistical point of view, both genders are identical.
2. Age Selection
In Stygian your character’s age is not just a cosmetic element. It plays two important roles. First, your age changes your starting statistics, second it changes the reaction of the world to your character.
[OUT OF TUNE SINGING] I know what it is to be young but you don’t know what it is…
Young: Young characters are in their physical prime and get 1 bonus point to Physique, Agility or Senses, but due to a lack of experience start the game with 2 fewer skill points.
Adult: Adult characters have the default number of points for attributes and skills.
Old: Old characters are in physical decline and get a 1 point penalty to Physique, Agility or Senses, but in exchange get to spend 2 extra skill points during character creation to reflect their additional life experience.
3. Archetype Selection
Jungian archetypes or Stygian archetypes?
This where you select your Archetype and its related background. You can have more information on Stygian’s archetypes from our campaign page, here. With your support the Explorer (our first stretch goal) is now added to the roster as well.
We’ve designed our Backgrounds to give you more options in defining your characters. What kind of an Investigator are you? An occult detective who specializes in paranormal cases or an ex-cop who earned his living by chasing criminals in the past? It is all up to you. Each Archetype has at least three unique backgrounds to choose from. Let’s have a closer look!
Scientist: Default background for the Academic Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Physician: You graduated from Miskatonic School of Medicine and spent the last several years away from physical conflict.
+1 Medicine, -1 Melee Attack, -1 Ranged Attack
Psychiatrist: You have a diploma in Psychiatry. For a long time, you believed the supernatural existed only in people’s minds.
+1 Psychology, -1 Supernatural Defense
Researcher: You were a research associate at Miskatonic University. Years of physical inactivity has taken its toll on you.
Faster Scientific and Medical Research, -1 Physical Defense
Patrician: Default background for the Aristocrat Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Prodigal: Your inherited a considerably large legacy from your parents and had the chance (or the misfortune) to afford being repulsive.
Starts the game with extra jewellery, lower Sex Appeal
Bankrupt Royalty: Your family went bankrupt and lost almost all of its property. You had to learn the facts of life the hard way.
+1 Survival, starts the game with less Cigs
Cursed Bloodline: A terrible sin committed in the past still haunts your family. You meddled with the occult to lift the curse to no avail.
+1 Occult, +3% Critical Failure Chance
Gangster: Default background for the Criminal Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Thief: You have a past in thievery and excel at moving silently but you often choose to run away when things get hot.
+1 Stealth, -1 Melee Attack
Con Artist: You can persuade people into believing you are the prince of Arkham but often shy away from physical conflict.
+1 Speechcraft, -1 Physical Defense
Hitman: You were a hired gun for the mafia. You carry the weight of the dead bodies you left in your trail.
+1 Firearms, +50 ANGST
Adventurer: Default background for the Explorer Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Big Game Hunter: You were a trophy hunter, seeking glory in conquering the wild. You learned to keep your prey at a distance and shun the opposite scenario.
Higher damage to beastly enemies, -1 Melee Attack
Pathfinder: You used to earn your living as a guide in uncivilized territories. You prefer to move with a lighter load for better mobility.
Lower chance of random combat encounters, lower inventory capacity
Mountaineer: You tested your endurance in the past by reaching the peaks of tall mountains. You rarely leave things to chance and act cautiously.
+1 Athletics, -2% Critical Success Chance
Detective: Default background for the Investigator Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Ex-cop: You have a past in law enforcement. The things you witnessed on duty left their mark on your mind.
+1 Firearms, -5 total Sanity
Occult Detective: You encountered the supernatural in some of your past cases. Those experiences still haunt you.
+1 Occult, +50 ANGST
Bounty Hunter: Your bounty hunting past taught you how to approach your targets unnoticed. For the right amount, you brought them, dead or alive…
+1 Stealth. Can only be chosen by Materialistic characters.
Secret Society: Default background for the Occultist Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Depraved Occultist: Like Crawford or Rasputin before him, you have an unholy aura of sexual magnetism but tend to neglect occult studies in favor of carnal pleasures.
Higher Sex Appeal, slower Artifact Research
Alchemist: You are adept at the esoteric art of the alchemy and focused your medicinal studies solely on transmutation.
Considerably higher Medical Research Rating. Medicine skill can’t be used in game’s challenges.
Demonologist: You summoned a daemon in your past and learned forbidden knowledge from this infernal being.
Starts the game with “Children of Pazuzu” spell, -5 total Sanity
Mesmerist: You were a practitioner of Mesmer’s magnetism techniques and learned a lot about psychology from your former patients, along with their darkest secrets…
+1 Psychology, -5 Total Sanity
Actor: Default background for the Performer Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Juggler: You earned your living as a juggler for a long time. Your moves tend to be more flashy but also riskier.
+2 Throwing, +3% Critical Failure Chance
Busker: You were a busker in your past and know how to survive in the streets though you never had much of a wealth.
+1 Subterfuge, starts the game with less Cigs
Movie Actor: You had some roles on the silver screen. You have “it” but also have a tendency to fall into addiction easily.
Higher Sex Appeal, lower Addiction Threshold
Private: Default background for the Soldier Archetype. No special advantages or disadvantages.
Marine: You served as a member of the Marine Corps. Screams of your fallen squad mates still echo in your mind.
Starts the game with “Aimed Shot” ability, -5 total Sanity
Military Intelligence: You served in the Military Intelligence. Your position kept you away from active duty for the last few years.
+1 Subterfuge, -1 Physical Defense
Sniper: You served the US Army with your marksmanship in numerous situations. In combat, you take your time but you eliminate your targets eventually.
+3% Critical Success Chance with Rifles, -1 Reaction
4. Belief System Selection
Think like your character, act like your character.
As you probably know, Belief Systems determine how your character gains her lost sanity in the doomed Arkham along with providing you new ways to role-play your character. You can have more information on them here.
5. Portait Selection and Character Identity
You’ll be able to choose the portraits of some Stygian backers. Devoted cultists they are…
All of our portraits will be open to both genders.
6. Stat Allocation
Please roll three six sided die and write the results to the back of your character sheet.
This is the step you finally get into the fantastic world of numbers and shape your character’s attributes and skills according to your taste. Only the skills your background contributes to can exceed 2 points at this stage.
7. Character Summary
At this final step, you’ll be able to have a look at all your choices one last time and make the necessary changes if the need arises. We’re good to go now. Let’s begin our journey of </HORROR, LOSS and MADNESS! </voiceofmadnessfont>
The sacrifices have been made. We’re ready to go.
Good news everyone! Stygian will be on Gamescom with a playable demo this year. Sorry to inform you this late but we’ve been tackling with visa problems lately and didn’t want to give any false hopes until it’s %100 certain.
You can visit our booth in Bahcesehir University stand and try our Gamescom build at Hall 10 / Floor 2, area E-033. Come visit us so we can talk about the dreams we’ve been collectively seeing… We’re thrilled to communicate with our community once again and would love to hear your opinions on Stygian! You know the best ideas are the “borrowed” ones 😉
Us and our evil machinations…
This brings us to another important topic, our backer demo. The demo is ready and in internal testing for some time now but we’ve decided to give it more time in external testing to be sure it’ll work smoothly on different systems.
We’re bringing our own hardware to Gamescom which guarantees better stability within a controlled environment but we want to be sure about the performance and experience on different hardware and operating systems through more testing before we share it with you. This will also give us more time to polish some systems with the help of Gamescom feedback.
Landing page of the demo. Landing gears ready!
So we’ve decided to share the demo with you on 25th of September. It takes between one to two hours to complete depending on your approach and curiosity (we see you completionists!) and showcases all the major systems including character creation, exploration, combat, dialogue, inventory management, journal, spell-casting, panic states, in-game cinematics and more.
But, if you’d like pay a visit to our backyard (without digging out any corpses of course!) and help us with the demo testing, feel free to send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “KS Tester” and your Kickstarter user name written to the subject section. Our esoteric operators will return to you with details in September.
Do not forget to write the mail from the account you use to log in to Kickstarter.
Last but not least, we’d like inform you about the current state of the project. You pay our bills after all, don’t you?
From the engineering perspective, we’ve completed almost all of our core systems along with the several tools we need to breathe life into the world of Stygian. The rest mechanics have still some way to go, coding for crafting has not yet begun and the voice of madness dialogues will have a systematic overhaul in the following months but the baby steps are far behind us. This beast can run now and its hungry!
The stage is set and our actors are playing their roles.
The whole content of the first chapter is complete. Thousands of lines of dialogue have been written with alternative approaches exclusive to certain archetypes and belief systems. Hundreds of characters have been designed with modular heads and outfits enabling more variation. All the animations of the male player model are complete along with hundreds of NPC and enemy animations. Lighting, shaders and environmental effects are working beautifully. Almost a dozen tracks have been composed for different situations and areas. We’ve been recording our own foley effects for months to meet the unique sound needs of the project and the list goes on.
We’ve updated all of our background graphics after the Kickstarter campaign.
We are proud of the work we’ve done so far and believe that we’re achieving what we’ve been longing to play as gamers ourselves. On the other hand, we’ve also realized that Stygian, with all its intricacies and interconnected systems, will take some time to complete. With our current attention to detail and quality standards, it seems unlikely to see the release before the end of 2018.
We will continue to do our bests to make Stygian retain its unique identity. We believe that it will worth the wait, but after all, you’ll be the ones to decide.
We want you to see Stygian in its best shape: Our beautiful doom among the stars…
In this update, we’d like to share some detailed information about our Rest System. As you probably know, resting in Stygian is not a just a mere tool for refilling your depleted stats in the blink of an eye but a defined side system of preparation, risk assessment and research. We, the folk at Cultic Games tend to do all these before going to sleep, don’t you too?
First things first! Let’s have a look at our Rest Screen:
Outsider does not socialize
In Stygian resting also represents the idle time your character and companions spend before going to sleep (or leaving for the Dreamlands). Each character has 5 Rest Points to allocate to a variety of activities which are connected to the acquired skills.
The descriptions of our Rest Activities are as follows:
Note: “Gouging your own eyes out” activity is discarded in the current build for balancing reasons.
Socialize: The character spends her time socializing with a companion, increasing the sanity of both party members.
Related Skill: Speechcraft
Keep Watch: The character stays awake and alert to possible dangers. Decreases the encounter chance while resting in Danger Areas.
Related Skill: Survival
Psychological Treatment: The character provides therapy to a mentally disturbed companion, raising the sanity of the target.
Related Skill: Psychology
Medical Treatment: The character provides medical treatment to herself or a companion, raising the health of the target. Requires Doctor’s Bag.
Related Skill: Medicine
Weapon Maintenance: The character performs maintenance on weapon to improve its performance until next rest.
Related Skill: Firearms or Melee
Physical Exercise: The character performs a series of physical exercises to improve physical endurance and ease the mind until next rest.
Related Skill: Athletics
Gambling: The character takes part in a gambling session in a suitable rest area, gaining Cigs in the process. If things go right…
Related Skill: Subterfuge
Scout: The character scouts the surrounding area for an escape route in case of ambush. The progression escape route will be opened more easily should the party get attacked.
Related Skill: Stealth
Reconnaissance: The character investigates the area to find the best spot to camp, providing a tactical advantage should the party get attacked.
Related Skill: Investigation
Pray: The character prays to the God of her faith, raising the sanity of the character. Requires a religious item.
Related Belief System: Divine
Read: The character reads a book or other publication in relation with her belief system, raising the sanity of the character. Requires a book.
Medical Research: The character searches for a formula by examining medical components in the inventory.
Related Skill: Medicine
Scientific Research: The character searches for a blueprint by examining science related crafting components in the inventory.
Related Skill: Science
Occult Research: The character studies a chosen tome, manuscript or artifact to gain more insight on the forbidden arts. Occult research is used for learning new spells along with identifying the powers and maledictions of artifacts.
Related Skill: Occult
Rest More: The character spends her remaining idle time by resting more, gaining additional health and sanity points.
Related Skill: None
The report screen you get after deciding on the activities
Our next stop is the updated Character Screen, ladies and gents. We aimed to create a detailed yet streamlined and functional design.
Blue highlights indicate the statistics affected by the character element you hover your cursor over
The right portion of the screen is dynamically designed to allow the viewing of Secondary Statistics, Perks and Abilites or ANGST tabs while preserving the primary statistics area of the screen. With this approach, we wanted to make the attributes, skills and other core character data always visible while checking other statistics such as perks for easier stat comparison and character progression.
No, we’re not done yet. We wanted to conclude our update by delving more into the realm of the unknown. At your discretion, we present you the Grimoire of Stygian:
Seeing any “magic torpedos” around?
Nothing further will be discussed about this issue since we already meddled with the dark forces enough…
In this update we’d like to share some of the musical compositions you’ll be hearing throughout Stygian and share our composer Asli Kobaner’s thoughts on the process. We’ll also be unveiling more on the production plans of Stygian.
Please note that all the tracks are still work in progress. This means we’re still measuring the sanity levels of the captured subjects while exposing them to Stygian’s music constantly. We will update you on the results.
In the meantime, here are some samples:
This track will be accompanying you through some of the hubs in south Arkham.
The Bank of Lunatics
There is something wrong with the Bank of Arkham.
Combat Theme (Bank)
The conflict is imminent.
Let’s hear what Asli has to say on her work:
“Since the beginning of Stygian, I’ve been closely entangled with researches on game music architecture. I endeavored to develop a general approach by identifying the structural model and its sonic needs through collective brainstorming and individual work.
In this context, quest flows supply a narrative ground to distinguish different sound types and musical content. Lists and maps specifically serve to track and categorize these materials: a general map for tension and release patterns throughout quests, an inventory of virtual instrument plugins, effects, sound banks and recorded performances, lists regarding the amount of diegetic and non-diegetic material. All these processes aim to bring out the sonic world of Stygian.
I think the boundaries between what is “music” and what is “sound”- yes, this old issue- is relative, or at best, obscure. Similarly it can also be hard to separate the “musical” composition from the sound design when it comes to Stygian. Even though most of the audio materials are functionally categorized (such as foley sounds, ambiences or leitmotivs), they feed each other blending in various combinations throughout the gameplay. With an assemblage of these echoing, imitating, contrasting, looping, music is adapted to the variability of the gameplay duration.
As for the musical grammar, certain stylistic languages are employed:Indian ritual references, period music such as early jazz and late romanticism, and a wider array of musical expressions influenced by the works of Jonathan Harvey, George Crumb, György Ligeti, Alvin Curran, Stravinsky, Gerard Grisey and Fausto Romitelli among others.”
And here we present you the illustration you’ll be seeing at the combatloading screens. With this approach, we aimed to create a more general feeling of terror and ever-shifting, constant sense of danger instead of focusing on individual Mythos entities.
Do we need to say that the figure in the middle of the party represents your character?
Last but not least, we finally have a release date for our special backer demo. You’ll be wandering the uncanny streets of our doomed town in August, this year. We were expecting to land it in June but have decided to share a more complete experience. Expect more than a thirty minute long starter snack…
Welcome to Schmidt’s Antiques. No lighting applied.
As for the release date, we’ve been seeing the possibility of Stygian becoming a more defined and involving game each day as we complete the tools and systems which enables us to create more content efficiently. We believe we can turn Stygian into a longer and more polished experience from a humble indie title with a modest budget.
Let’s see what our extended demo has to offer, then we can talk more about our wicked plans. If we are not satisfied altogether, there is no need to hope for more.
We’re also working on the Dreamlands quest as we promised, along with the new archetype Explorer and her prologue chapter.
We have to go downstairs now. You know, unfinished business in the torture chambers and all…