Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is an old-school RPG set in Lovecraft's horrific realm

We talked earlier this month about how it would be nice if game makers would give Lovecraft a rest and explore some different horror settings instead. (In case I haven't mentioned it previously, I would pay real money for a good game based on Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.) Maybe it'll happen someday, but not today: Today we have word of a new game in development called Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, "a role-playing game of horror, loss, and madness set in the strange worlds of HP Lovecraft." 

Stygian players will create characters based on one of eight archetypes (or choose one that's premade) and embark on a journey from the town of Arkham to the depths of the Abyss. Sanity will suffer under the strain, but can be maintained and restored through a "Belief System" mechanic that will also impact dialog options and outcomes. The action will unfold on a hand-drawn 2D map, with turn-based tactical combat featuring powerful black magic that comes at a very high price. 

The teaser sets the mood but it doesn't say anything about the game itself. Fortunately, a closer look at how it all works is available on Steam, where you can also lay your hands on a demo. Publisher 1C described it as "early," and it did seem pretty bare-bones in the little bit of time I spent with it. It's also very old-school—old-fashioned, even. But I think that suits the setting, and if developers aren't going to give us a horror-adventure in a new realm, then doing something genuinely interesting with the classic Cthulhu—and, hopefully, doing it well—is a solid choice. 

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is currently expected to be out next year. For now, there's a website you can burrow into at, and a few screens down below. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.