Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, known for his work as art director on Eidos Montreal's Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, is heading up a new game called Hell Is Us at Rogue Factor, the developer of Mordheim: City of the Damned and Necromunda: Underhive Wars.
Hell Is Us is Rogue Factor's "most ambitious project to date," and unlike its previous releases, it is not a licensed Warhammer game: It's a "semi-open world" third-person action-adventure that takes place in a country devastated by civil war and the sudden appearance of supernatural creatures unleashed by an event known as the Calamity. Simply put, things are not good, and it's up to you to figure out what to do about it.
Figuring it out is in fact a core aspect of the experience: There's no map, compass, or quest markers to guide you on your way. "Our goal with Hell is Us is to bring back true adventure and exploration," said Jacques-Belletête. "There's no need for a detailed quest log or precise waypoint on the map: We want players to feel the thrill of adventure, guided by their feelings and instincts."
It sounds a bit like Elden Ring in that regard, and the teaser certainly looks grim, but it's also obviously more modern: There's an APC sitting parked in the background, and the player character appears to be packing a sidearm. At the same time, the player is also wielding a sword that wouldn't look out of place in Final Fantasy. The big shiv looks a tad incongruous here, but the Steam listing suggests that melee combat is going to be the primary way of getting things done.
"Swords, spears and axes: a wide range of weapons forged specially for fighting these supernatural creatures is available," it says. "You will need to learn how to fight these monsters and use your drone wisely to stay alive."
There's also an intriguing quote from Jacques-Belletête: "The central theme of Hell is Us is that human violence is a perpetual cycle fueled by human emotions and passions."
Explore the dark side of human nature as you face a mysterious calamity in #HELLisUS, an action-adventure game developed by @TheRogueFactor.Coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC in 2023.Learn more: https://t.co/qsUDdd6VK6 pic.twitter.com/3Ys3uSTnOWApril 12, 2022
That's a little too cerebral for me, but I loved Jacques-Belletête's work on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and I'm looking forward to seeing where he goes with this new project. Hell Is Us is expected to be out sometime in 2023, and you can find out more at hell-is-us.com.