Eldritch

When HP Lovecraft wrote the definition of the genre he more-or-less invented, he did it with the understanding that weird fiction was always going to be a niche taste. In his 1927 essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature, he declared that: "tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will always take first place in the taste of the majority; rightly, perhaps, since of course these matters make up the greater part of human experience." Barely able to generate an income, chewed up and spat out by the pulp magazines, and finally, dying painfully of untreated stomach cancer ten years later, Lovecraft could reasonably have expected to be forgotten.

Hide your purse, Steam is having a stealth-game sale

Eldritch 99p! Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon £3! Monaco £1.86!

I wonder: do you end up saving money in sales or spending more because things are on sale? Regardless, Steam is having a sale, a stealth-game sale, which lasts until Friday, 16th October, 6pm BST.

Eldritch review

Eldritch review

Ex libris.

What's the true mark of a good Roguelike? Permadeath? Procedural generation? Dangerous loot? I'd argue that it's something else, something that emerges from all these elements. In a good Roguelike, things can go wrong for you very, very quickly. Catastrophe takes flight and grows huge teeth. Misfortune develops a fearsome work ethic.

Misfortune definitely punches a clock in Eldritch. Sure, it's not actually that difficult to complete this dark-hearted dungeon dive with the current balancing, but you can rest assured that when any given run starts to fall apart, calamity will be swift and comprehensive. Take the other day: I'm tooling through a horrible palace of sandstone, feeling pretty good about things. Up ahead I spy a lizard. The lizard spies me. He starts to run. I start to shoot. In fact, I'm spamming the trigger like an idiot. All five bullets wasted - I was eating a muffin at the time - and I accidentally chuck my gun at him too. Then I accidentally chuck the other item in my two-slot weapon inventory. It's dynamite - bouncing off a wall and right into my lap. This was obviously not what I had planned.

But that's Eldritch for you - a sweetly toxic blend of Lovecraft, Minecraft, Spelunky and BioShock. Those are some strong influences right there - those are some bold, rich flavours. Thankfully, Eldritch is able to draw them all in and emerge distinct and characterful in its own right. It avoids the typical pitfalls of video game maths.

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Ex-BioShock and Borderlands devs announce first-person action roguelike Eldritch

The Pittman brothers, David and J. Kyle, had pretty cushy gigs at 2K until they left to start their own company, Minor Key Games. David used to be an AI programmer on BioShock 2 and he led the AI team on The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, while J. Kyle was a programmer at Gearbox working on the Borderlands titles. Now they've gone rogue with their debut title, Eldritch, a Lovecraftian action roguelike due on 21st October for PC.

Despite the horror theme, Eldritch is bright, colourful and cartoony with a minimalist blocky aesthetic and first-person view that recalls Minecraft more than anything. That being said, it will be more action-focused than Notch's insanely popular building block classic and more akin to something like Spelunky. Also like Spelunky, you'll unlock shortcuts to deeper dungeons so you go.

Eldritch can be pre-ordered from its official site for $15, which will guarantee beta access around the end of September. Or onlookers can always support Eldritch non-financially by voting for it on Steam Greenlight.

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