The Sinking City: A new investigation into the depths of madness

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By Paul Linfor

“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
— H.P. Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories”

There’s that old saying about having “That sinking feeling.” In the situation of developer Frogwares, they’re putting together a case where the cause of that sinking feeling is not only quite literal but Lovecraftian as well. That case is the case of The Sinking City. According to Frogwares website, it looks to be an ambitious project with the game set to be an investigation driven one taking place in a large and elaborate open world. The game is set in the 1920s with the player character being a private investigator who has found himself in the city of Oakmont, Massachusetts.

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Oakmont is suffering from a severe flood which has submerged large portions of the city with the cause clearly being supernatural due to the city being under siege by the various Lovecraftian monsters responsible for the flooding. The player’s task is to determine the exact cause of the flooding and the creatures are within the town without succumbing to the madness that resides there. While that is the extent of information released by the developers themselves, they have also released a few pieces of concept art which will possibly reveal a few details about the game.

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As previously stated, the investigation will make up the core of the gameplay, taking you through interesting locales like libraries which may or may not contain an unholy tome or two and flooded subway stations. Combat will likely be a gameplay element as well, indicated by the common presence of weapons and the player character seen carrying a rifle on his back as he investigates the subway station.

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These couple of pieces illustrate how the state of the city and how its citizens have been adapting to the situation with the construction of tall wooden bridges to navigate the flooded sections of the city which have left ground level inaccessible due to their otherworldly occupants. The flood along with the creatures have also severely damaged many of the buildings in the city, even in the less-flooded sections. Oakmont’s police force also looks to be attempting to protect the citizens while holding off the creatures even though they are clearly out of their element.

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The first of these two wouldn’t look out of place in At The Mountains of Madness. From the looks of it, part of the game might take place in colder climates, specifically Antarctica judging by the dead penguin. The camp likely belonged to American researchers, their fate possibly tied to the mysterious structures in the background. Perhaps events similar to that of the story will be incorporated into the game’s plot. The second piece gives another strong indication of combat being incorporated into the game. Oakmont’s police force, though valiant in its efforts to fight the creatures are, is ill-equipped to handle the situation and judging by the one man in plain clothes wielding a shotgun and the other in glasses blasting away at the towering behemoth with a Thompson Submachine gun, Oakmont has requested help from the federal government to deal with situation, and the two men in plainclothes are likely Bureau of Investigation agents (The FBI’s predecessor) sent to assist the police. It might not be too far-fetched to think that the military might end up showing up in the game as well.

Other than the information and these screenshots released by Frogwares and their recent showcase at the Game Developer’s Conference, there is not much more information available. However, we’ll be up to date on any new developments on what this ambitious project. Until then, make sure you stay out of the water.

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