The Great Old Ones Awaken… Cthulhu Chronicles launches today!
Less than a year ago we released our first game, Tunnels & Trolls Adventures. Since then, we have released dozens of adventures, met with fans at various gaming shows, and received a lot of valuable feedback. Once again, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your support!
From the earliest days of MetaArcade, our vision was to enable people to tell great stories across many genres, countries, and languages. Even back then, we knew that in order to realize this vision, we would need to learn from experience and apply the things we learned to new games. (We also knew it was not going to be easy for a small indie game studio!)
And so, we are now ready to launch our second game. Our choice was informed partly by personal preferences – we are avid fans of all things eldritch and macabre – and partly by the great opportunity offered to us by Chaosium Inc., a storied, award-winning publisher of role-playing games since 1975. Simply speaking, when we saw this chance, we jumped at it!
Without further ado, let us present Cthulhu Chronicles: a narrative horror game inspired by the cult favorite RPG Call of Cthulhu, set against the classic H.P. Lovecraft backdrop of 1920s New England. It’s available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad for free right now!
Although it’s based on the same fundamental principles as Tunnels & Trolls Adventures – some choices, some combat, some common sense – Cthulhu Chronicles is different. The first thing you’ll notice is that the game runs in portrait mode rather than landscape the way T&TA does. We’ve found that most games in the interactive narrative space have adopted portrait mode to make it easier for players to enjoy the game on the go.
The second key difference is a design philosophy we like to call ‘more magic, less math.’ With Tunnels & Trolls Adventures, we aimed to faithfully replicate the core role-playing system of the original Tunnels & Trolls. However, for Cthulhu Chronicles we’ve opted for a much lighter, less number-heavy game that still allows for interesting non-deterministic narrative. We feel that for this genre it’s important to highlight the strong story and facilitate immersion, and that references to statistics and attributes would distract from this. And with this approach in mind, we moved from the dice rolling on screen to the “Wheel of Cthulhu” to determine the results of combat and skill checks, which also made the transition to portrait mode a logical step.
Unlike many RPGs, the focus of Cthulhu Chronicles isn’t on leveling up a custom-made character through combat. Instead, players choose between 6 unique investigators, each of whom has their own strengths, weaknesses, and individual storylines. Players are free to switch between investigators at will and explore the world of Arkham from all their perspectives.
At certain points in a story, players will make choices that affect the story’s outcome. Each story also has numerous clues to uncover – which in turn unlock new storylines and outcomes as the campaign unfolds. The clues you find are permanent for the investigator who unlocks them, so you’ll always have the benefit of those clues in repeated playthroughs. But clues aren’t shared between investigators, so you’re able to experience different and complete narratives with each character.
Lastly, we have opted to release only on iOS at first. We know this may be disappointing to some of you, and we did not make this decision lightly. The truth is that ensuring consistent quality across the vast range of Android devices is very hard for a small studio like ours. However, we do intend to make the Android version of Cthulhu Chronicles happen as soon as we are able to dedicate more resources towards this goal, so stay tuned!
The first Cthulhu Chronicles campaign, Investigations in Lovecraft Country, will include 9 scenarios, 5 of which are available today. Like in Tunnels & Trolls Adventures, scenarios are bought with virtual currency, but you can also use free trials which recharge every day. No need to watch ads to play for free!
Finally, what does this mean for Tunnels & Trolls Adventures? Our first game is still near and dear to our hearts, and we plan to continue supporting it with new adventures and stories. The ongoing Adventure Creators Pilot Program allows us to release community-created content on a regular basis – and you can even expect some guest star appearances!
The MetaArcade Team