The phrase 'it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it', is fitting when it comes to Lesser Evil Games' The Executioner. Despite the fact the titular occupation once played an integral role in society and justice, filling the shoes of a garroter today is no less unsettling. Add role-playing systems, choice-heavy dialogue and a moral conscience to the mix and you've quickly got a lot to think about.
By mixing choose own adventure-styled narrative with choose your own murder scene set pieces, The Executioner sees players balancing the protagonist's sanity with his vocational obligation. Your aim is to obtain signed confessions from each of the people you put to death—and you've a wide range of 'tools' to make that happen from within your torture chamber.
Perhaps you'll starve your prisoner, or cross interrogate them. Maybe you'll try reasoning with them, or force needles under their nails. If all else fails you could always gouge out their eyes or permanently relieve them of a limb or two, it's up to you.
Against a gorgeous art style, here's how some of that looks in motion:
And here's the developers with what it's all about:
"Throughout The Executioner, players must make a variety of decisions that shape the way the game plays out. Will you torture a man for a piece of paper to satisfy the town's judge, or risk angering your employer by saying you aren't sure he's guilty? And when you do put a criminal to death, will you bow to the crowd's blood-thirst, or will you be as merciful as you can be?
"The game is also wrapped up in a mystery story, with a whole town to explore, an array of fully fleshed-out characters, and a gripping horror-themed narrative that unravels as you play. All the while, you must preserve your sanity, which wanes a little more with every difficult choice you have to make."
Said to run for 20 or so hours, Lesser Evil Games promises a "dark and unsettling atmosphere." No kidding.
Fancy any of that? The Executioner is running a Kickstarter campaign, which you can throw money at if you desire over here. A free demo—which runs takes about 30-45 mins to complete—can also be found in this direction.
From the little I've played so far, The Executioner is as brutal as it is enticing—all the while pushing your sense of morality to its limits. November 2017 is its provisional launch date for now, and I'm looking forward to seeing more as it comes.