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The Executioner, an RPG that places you in the shoes of a torturer, is out today

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(Image credit: Lesser Evil Games)

In a gaming week dominated by whimsical geese, The Executioner is definitely a very grisly change of pace. What would it be like if your day job was 'medieval torturer'? That's the question this game asks, and based on all available evidence, it's not taking the easy road towards any answers. After a couple of years in development, the game is out on Steam today.

While billed as an RPG, it's very far from an action-oriented affair: it's more a game of  hopelessly complex moral decisions, sanity management and, of course, supplying "a dark economy" buoyed by the exchange of dead flesh. Feeling cheered? Well, it's up to the player to decide whether the character should become wholly desensitised to the misery he doles out, and there's a bigger story at hand, too.

The UI is mainly a text-based affair, and the Steam page reckons there's around 20 hours of story to be soaked up in The Executioner. In a statement, lead writer Elena Sivakova said the studio was inspired by the question: "How do people, whose work is inflicting pain and killing other humans, actually live?"

They continued: "We believe that our game provides an opportunity to live through a hard, painful and rather dark experience - and experience the ethical trap in which the participants of the Milgram experiment were caught. We want our players to fully understand the price of a lesser evil."

The first episode is out today, with the following two to come out on a three-monthly basis. Check out the launch trailer below:

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.