E3 2001 Hands-On: Call of Cthulhu

Fishtank Interactive demonstrates this upcoming first-person horror game.

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Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is present here at E3, although at this time publisher Fishtank Interactive is showing only the game's intro movie. The game begins with an in-engine movie that sets up your character and his state of mind, keeping true to the H.P. Lovecraft stories on which the game is based. The movie follows a doctor as he walks through the halls of a creepy insane asylum, while simultaneously cutting back and forth to shots of a man (who it turns out is the one you play in the game) frantically flipping through the pages of his journal. The man grows more disturbed, and when the doctor finally arrives, he has hanged himself, and his body is swinging from the rafters. The camera pans down to the man's journal, which will then transition into the blank one that starts the game and slowly fills up as you progress through it.

As this was all done in-engine, we were able to get a look at how Headfirst has implemented the NetImmerse renderer, and as expected, it was all suitably creepy, with the sort of spooky lighting and textures that one would expect from a Lovecraft game. Unfortunately this brief movie didn't give any real glimpses of the gameplay, but we were able to talk with designer Andrew Brazier about the current status of the game.

Andrew told us that they are finishing up the tools they will use to craft the game and that work is progressing on the AI, environments, and character animations. The animations shown in the intro movie were in fact placeholders, and they will be motion-capturing live actors this week to smooth out their movements. The game is still planned for a late 2001 or early 2002 release, and we were told that a playable beta version should be available at ECTS in September.

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