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.
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 email@example.com 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…
Greetings Fellow Collectors of Eldritch Artifacts!
In this update we’d like to share Stygian’s inventory system.
Let’s start with a video showcasing the system, and then talk more about its features and our design approach.
Stygian’s inventory consists of the following sections:
Paper Doll – shows all the items the player currently has equipped, including weapons, outfits, artifacts, a backpack and things of that sort. We are pretty sensitive about customization and aim to display the player’s choices with as many visual representations as possible. We’re also designing unique models for special items such as rare weapons and gadgets. We are keenly aware of the fact that we RPG players love to play with our dolls, preferably voodoo dolls…
Equip your character, in style…
Statistics – shows almost all of the secondary statistics which affect combat and exploration. Potential effects of the items will be displayed as a tool-tip in the form of colored numeric modifiers.
We haven’t forgotten you Min-Max scholars.
Party inventory – shows all items in the party’s possession. Stygian uses a shared inventory system so you won’t need to spend time shifting carried items from one character to another. Less item management, more black magic, count us in!
Did we tell you that we’re also fans of adventure games?
Item category tabs – grant easy access to all the items you’ll need to prolong your hopeless struggle against the shapeless horrors of the abyss. Tabs are divided into the following categories: Weapons and ammo, outfits, consumables, tools and gadgets, artifacts, books and tomes, quest-related items, miscellaneous, and of course the favorites tab, which can be customized by the player.
Quick items – allows you to set certain items to be instantly available during combat and exploration. Don’t forget to add your favorite smokes to one of the quick item slots. Cigarettes are essential for reducing stress but remember not to smoke them all because the Cigs have become Arkham’s rising currency!
As you can see, we tried to build upon the inventory features typical of western role playing games while balancing convenience and thematic flavor. We also chose to use larger icons for our items in order to include more detail, increase immersion, and show off the efforts of our talented artists.
In this update we’d like to share more information on the advantages and side effects of Mental Conditions in Stygian’s challenging combat scenarios.
As we emphasized before, sometimes it helps to be mad in a world gone mad!
Increases Action Points but gives the character a small chance to lose control and attack the nearest enemy unit in combat.
Increases Reaction but gives the character a small chance to attack an ally in combat.
Increases Mental Resistance but gives the character a small chance to enter a catatonic state and lose a combat round.
Increases Critical Chance but gives the character a small chance to lose a certain amount of Sanity after killing a foe.
Increases Supernatural Defense but gives the character a small chance to lose his Physical Defense bonus entirely for a turn.
Slightly increases the success chance of a repeated combat action but gives the character a small chance to automatically repeat a failed combat action until getting a success or passing a High Difficulty Will check.
Please note that all these effects are subject to change and are still being tested.
Skills reflect your choices, aspirations and experiences in Stygian. Different combinations will open different paths to reach your goals. With twelve skills and numerous perks, players will have many opportunities to shape their own fate and face the challenges of Stygian.
Let’s have a look at our Skills along with some of their related Perks.
Investigation: The skill of observing one’s surroundings; finding clues, hidden items and subtle connections.
Related Perks: Photography, Tracking, Questioning
Occult: The skill of comprehending the unknown; knowledge of the mythos and the other realities. Occult skill is obligatory for casting spells and performing rituals.
Related Perks: Spell-weaving, Ritual Mastery, Sacrifice
Psychology: The skill of sensing the motives of others, knowing the mechanics of the mind and stabilizing one’s and others’ mental health.
Related Perks: Psychoanalysis, Mental Barrier, Therapy
Speechcraft: The skill of influencing others with words, creating sympathy or fear in them and performing the art of lying.
Related Perks: Manipulation, Intimidation, Seduction
Melee: The skill of hand to hand fighting and close quarters combat with melee weapons.
Related Perks: Martial Artist, Fencing, Exotic Weapons
Firearms: The skill of operating all kinds of firearms from pistols to machine guns.
Related Perks: Gunslinger, Rifle Expert, Special Weaponry
A player character using his Investigation skill to learn more about the cause of death of the strange fossilized creature.
Science: The skill of understanding the rational world, making inventions, grasping the principles of scientific facts and researching mythos beings to find weaknesses in their metabolisms.
Related Perks: Advanced Autopsy, Great Inventor, Metabolism Expert
Stealth: The skill of not being seen and heard, moving without being detected and eavesdropping.
Related Perks: Vanishing, Silent Running, Assassination
Survival: The skill of withstanding pain and extreme conditions.
Related Perks: Snake Eater, Camping, Sentry
Medicine: The skill of understanding the human body, curing diseases and stabilizing one’s and others’ physical health.
Related Perks: Xeno-Botany, Drug Expert, Purifier
Athletics: The skill of moving gracefully, dodging attacks and performing athletic manoeuvres.
Related Perks: Escape Artist, Exceptional Reflexes, Daredevil
Subterfuge: The skill of dirty tricks, lock-picking and stealing.
Related Perks: Cheat, Master Thief, Dirty Fighting
An academic character using his Science skill on a wrecked fire engine to salvage some machine parts.
We’ve always loved written descriptions in CRPGs. Think of the gore descriptions of Fallout or Planescape: Torment’s surreal written depictions of its landscape.
There is always something interesting in that text box that adds another layer of immersion to the game. You can learn how the air smells, notice subtle changes in character’s faces, feel tingling sensations under your skin… Right text creates the imaginary stimulant that can’t be shown with fancy graphics and merge player better with the game’s world.
We view this as an extension of the oral practice of Dungeon Master telling the players what’s going on around them in tabletop role playing. We love tabletop roleplaying as any decent RPG developer around and we’re writing our descriptive texts honoring Lovecraft as the Game Master of Stygian. His style and lexicon will be present in all of our game text to create the feeling of weird fiction’s master is actually your game master in Stygian. We shared some examples below:
Vein roots are now infesting Arkham.
“This strange leafless red ivy grows out from the ground and strangulates all buildings and edifices, seemingly spurting out of every crevice. It’s contorted and serpentine form constitutes a threatening appearance.”
The Old Eel House
“This local restaurant, once a bright and cheerful gathering place, is now a haven for hoodlums and fools, a de facto clubhouse for the hard boiled denizens of this doomed town. The uneven chatter within speaks of conspiracy, and the dim light reveals just enough to discourage your approach.”
The Grandfather Altar
“This towering depiction of one of the Elder Gods perches atop the naked base of a shattered statue. Fashioned from scraps of wood and metal, awkwardly fastened together with nautical rope, it displays the twisted aesthetics of it’s makers, men clearly cursed with some disease of the brain.”
“From the creature’s back sprouts a pair of membranous wings, bat-like and striated with thick veins. The ellipsoid skull is covered in weird organ like antennae, from which emanate a wide spectrum of colored rays, the effect of which you do not care to imagine.”
We’re proud to introduce a game system unique to our game and it is called ANGST.
In Stygian, choosing the moral or the mutually beneficial path is sometimes the toughest. You may want to rescue a friend from the clutches of the Cult but trying that may mean suicide or in another case you’ll lose the poor kid who follows you blindly into the oblivion. Stygian rarely offers safe passages or happy endings. From the beginning, one of our goals was exploring the concepts of loss and sacrifice. On your journey you’ll be losing things one by one, your comrades, your sanity and your moral values.
This reflects to the mechanics as “ANGST” system in Stygian. Your pain and despair collects like a sort of black experience throughout the game and with ANGST you gain access to unique perks like Masochism which allows you to gain small amounts of Sanity whenever you receive a certain amount of damage or Ill-tempered which allows you to gain Sanity whenever you mistreat a friendly character in a dialogue.
You’ll also be collecting small amounts of ANGST whenever you take a critical hit, develop a mental condition or bleed for a certain period of time etc. ANGST opens new doors to some very interesting choices for the player to consider.