Wadjet Eye Games, the publisher of acclaimed retro-adventures including Unavowed, Shardlight, Technobabylon, and Strangeland, has unveiled its next big thing: a "folk horror game" from indie developer Cloak and Dagger Games called The Excavation of Hob's Barrow. Set in the quaint countryside of Victorian England, the game follows the gloomy adventures of Thomasina Bateman, an antiquarian who finds herself embroiled in a dark mystery in the small village of Bewlay.
The story begins, as so many Victorian adventures seem to, with a cryptic letter summoning Thomasina to the distant countryside. But when she arrives, the man who sent the letter is gone; worse, her assistant fails to follow, and the residents of Bewlay are less than welcoming. And then she begins having strange dreams…
Horror games tend to be first-person affairs because of the heightened sense of immersion they offer, but other perspectives can work too: The Last Door, Stasis, Darkwood, The Final Station, and Faith are all examples of games that achieve uncomfortable levels of creepy even though they're played from far more distant perspectives. I have similar hopes for The Excavation of Hob's Barrow: Cloak and Dagger's previous games are all well-regarded on Steam, and Wadjet Eye has a well-earned reputation for publishing excellent games.
The Excavation of Hob's Barrow promises story elements drawn from real English folklore with "a distinct folk horror tone and grounding," pixel-art graphics interspersed with cutscenes and animations, a "suitably atmospheric" soundtrack from former Jupiter-C member David Kane (Jupiter-C composed the soundtrack for Cloak and Dagger's 2018 adventure-thriller Football Game), and "fiends in the furrows, the smell of damp soil, and a cat or two." It's set to launch on Steam later this year.