Watching Sagebrush's reveal trailer, above, has made me feel very uneasy. There's something unnerving about the abandoned compound you're exploring, the low-resolution visuals giving it the feel of a handheld camera video. And that's not to mention all the blood, smashed windows, tape recordings, or the fact that you're poking around the site of a mass suicide.
It's a first-person narrative game due out later this year in which you investigate Black Sage Ranch, New Mexico, formerly home to the Perfect Heaven cult. The goal is to find out what happened, and what motivated the cult members to take their own lives.
The story beats are hidden in audio recordings, notes, and possessions that you'll find strewn about, which give you a window into the cultists' lives.
It's the debut game from one-man studio Redact Games, and the developer promises to "avoids simplistic motivations and easy answers"—to that end he's conducted "extensive research into cult groups both famous and obscure, large and small". The cultists are "diverse and complex people with varied needs, hopes, and fears".
I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it—if nothing else, it looks like it'll provide a few atmospheric hours in the New Mexico desert.