The Church in the Darkness is an “action-infiltration game” that see you play a former cop attempting to get inside the isolated religious colony of Freedom Town, to check on the health and well-being of your nephew. It’s set in the 1970s and “inspired by real-life events,” with very obvious echoes of Jonestown, but what makes it interesting beyond its historical context is that the church may not be what it appears.
Freedom Town could well be a dangerous cult, but it may also represent a legitimate effort to break away from conventional religious strictures. The layout of the church changes with each new game, but more importantly, so do the beliefs of its members and the motives of its leaders.
“Every playthrough of The Church in the Darkness offers a unique version of Freedom Town with different character personalities and a shifting narrative told through investigation, observation, and action,” the announcement explains. “How dangerous are the Walkers? Who are your allies and enemies? How far will you go to uncover the truth and save these people?”
“The Walkers” are church founders Rebecca and Isaac, who led their followers into the South American jungle to escape what they felt was religious persecution in the US. They’ll be portrayed in the game by Ellen McLain and John Patrick Lowrie, best known to gamers as the voices of GlaDOS and the Sniper, and who also happen to be married in real life. It’s an impressive bit of casting and also very important, as players will “soak up the story through the town PA system, where the preachers share their dogma and beliefs.”
That may (or may not) inform you how approach the game. Church in the Darkness will feature an “open map” that you can ghost through; you can also opt for non-lethal takedowns to get where you need to go, or just kill the hell out of everything you see. The rules are pretty lax in the wilderness of socialist Utopia.
The Church in the Darkness is currently slated for release in early 2017. For now, you can find out more at the Paranoid Productions website.