“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.
It was very clear from the start that we didn't want to add puzzles just for the heck of it. They are not there to be fillers until something else happens. Every puzzle is directly linked to the story, the environment and the world you are in.
Sometimes the puzzles might add to the mystery while other times it might help you connect pieces of the story you already know but did not have the context to.
In other words, it's important to us that you, the player, will want to solve the puzzle and not just do it because it's "in the way". We want the player to feel rewarded after solving that puzzle, which goes beyond just opening up area x or y.
A good puzzle, it's a fair thing. Nobody is lying. It's very clear, and the problem depends just on you.
The puzzles will always fit into the environment and make sense in the context. That is something we are actively working towards. Puzzles should always explain why the player is rewarded. Most puzzles if not all of them are contextual and also fit into the area the player is currently in or the flow of the game at that time. They will fit in both the hard-science but also the Lovecraft aspect of the game.
Obviously you might want to figure out what is going on and more importantly what is actually real and what is not - this is automatically and organically making you into some kind of investigator. Again, while Moons is not an actual puzzle game there are still aspects of exploring locations, discover objects and clues and you might get stuck until you learn enough to be able to advance ahead.
Example: Imagine you will have to open a door and you see a weird pattern on the wall next to the door the game wants you to figure out. There are games that just have such a random puzzle and you will eventually figure out the pattern behind it. However, why was there a pattern on the wall in the first place? Personally, we would not be interested in the actual puzzle but in only advancing the game and story. That's something that we are trying to avoid actively.
We are trying to make it so everything makes sense. If there was a pattern you would have to figure out, it's there for a reason. A reason that is directly linked to the story. Makes sense? Obviously this was just a little example but that is the idea behind all the puzzles in Moons of Madness. They will be directly linked to whatever area you are in at that time and how much you have learned of the story.
You will encounter many different puzzles in the game: pattern puzzles, interaction puzzles, inventory puzzles and more. Hopefully we can entwine them into the story so much that you might not even realize you are solving a puzzle ;)
Want to help us with feedback? Feel free to leave a comment :)
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Zone Outs, a unique mechanic that simulates Lovecraftian madness As you might know by now, Moons of Madness is a narrative driven game. We have several...
Here is the thing: our art director and artists really fight with the whole hard science part. It would be so much easier to just design away and to not...
Moons of Madness introduces mental illness as a factor in the game through various game modes and mechanics. However, one of the most challenging aspects...
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