IGN Greece Interview
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones Q&A
Answered by Can Oral
Creative Director @ Cultic Games
Hello! Thanks for the interview and your interest in Stygian!
1) How you came up with the idea of detaching Arkham from the earth and transferring it to a different dimension?
There are a couple of reasons behind the idea. First of all, we wanted to implement a variety of settings from a wide selection of Lovecraft’s works, including the ones that are located in Lovecraft County (his fictional New England setting), in Dreamlands, and even in some ambiguous locations that are included in his earlier tales. Mostly the ones that have been inspired by the gothic literature. In order to incorporate all those different timelines and themes, we’ve realized that we needed an interplanar setting. A doomed town lost in dimensions surrounded by a variety of Lovecraftian realities seemed like a good starting point.
The game forms its supernatural mythology purely around the work of Lovecraft. I also see it as a study on negative human conditions and darker side of our psyches, which are mostly neglected in some areas of the media, like video games for instance. I wanted the game’s world to be an isolated prison, which is run by different factions (the Mob and the Cult), therefore allowing us to harness the creative space in order to explore different types of oppression that have an impact on our civilization.
2) Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is influenced by the work of H.P Lovecraft. Could you tell us some of his stories that inspired you the most?
It is true that every quest, companion or area inside the game has a connection to his works but I have to add that the knowledge of the stories won’t be a prerequisite to enjoy what the game offers.
The stories that have a strong relation with the game are “At the Mountains of Madness”,“The Whisperer in Darkness”, “The Terrible Old Man”, “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Silver Key” , “The Outsider”, “Herbest West - Re-animator”, “The Festival”, “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, “The Shadow Out of Time”, “The Dreams in the Witch House”, “The Colour Out of Space” and the list goes on… As you can see, there is a lot of Lovecraft from different periods of his work in Stygian’s DNA but expect the unexpected in some of their interpretations.
3) Were you inspired by any other writers of the Cthulhu mythos like August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith?
No. At the conception stage, I made the decision of getting the game’s inspiration solely from the works of Lovecraft. I thought that it would be easier to build our own interpretation without being influenced by other people’s ideas that were influenced by him. It was a matter of staying close to the source and starting to build from there, so that we can fill in the blanks with more freedom and with more inspiration from our own subconsciousness and experiences.
4) There is really a lot of depth in the character creation screen. Were you inspired by tabletop role-playing games?
Most of us are avid tabletop roleplayers in the team and we believe that character creation is one of the most crucial elements to an RPG because that single stage defines the “role” that you’re going to perform as the player throughout the whole game. We are almost obsessive about giving the player the right tools to shape his or her own experience on a multitude of levels from the chosen age to the chosen belief system. No two runs of Stygian should be the same.
5) Speaking of role-playing games, in my personal opinion there are less and less RPG each year that deliver a deep and rich role-playing experience. One of these RPG is Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones. How you managed to complete such a difficult task?
We are honored to hear that. I don’t know… I had the same concerns as you and one day the urge to make something that I really wanted to play became unavoidable so we started this insane journey. To make such a flexible and reflective game with such a small team is pure Lovecraftian madness and we’re still going (smiles).
6) Maintaining your sanity in Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is crucial, as it is on several other games that were inspired by the Lovecraft’s work. Is there any character build that benefits from having low sanity or perhaps any spells that have a more powerful effect if you are close to madness?
Without giving any spoilers, I can tell that there is a certain quest in the game which can only be experienced if you have low sanity. Also, the mental conditions in the game has some interesting advantages as well. A psychopath is more dangerous in combat for example.
7) I played the demo of the game and I was fascinated by The Outsider character. How many characters in total can you find and recruit to you party? Are there any “otherworldly” characters like The Outsider?
Thank you, the Outsider is also among my favorite characters in the game. There is going to be a re-animated WW1 soldier, an Innsmouthian gangster and Randolph Carter’s wife, Sonia Greene Carter will be available in the game as companions.
8) In terms of combat, why did you chose this turn-based tactical approach with emphasis on the positioning of the characters in an hexagonal grid?
We are deep HoMM fans here at the office and from the beginning I thought that kind of a combat perspective will also fit the illustrative, stylistic approach of the game. Combining the hexagonal map system with the action points system of Fallout, we had an interesting stage to play with and we’re still building on it to make combat as interesting as it can be.
9) Will there be more than one possible outcome of the story when you reach the end of the game? Does the choices you make in dialogues influence how the story unfolds in the end?
There will be 8 different endings to the game. The people you choose to become friends with, the way you treat your companions and your character’s view of the universe will all have an effect on the ending sequences.
10) Any plans for developing a console or a mobile version of the game? Is there any chance also to see Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones on the Windows Store?
Not at the moment, but let’s see what the future brings… Steam and GOG are the platforms we’re aiming at the moment. I’m sure our publisher 1C will come up with new possibilities in the future.
Thanks a lot for the spot on questions!