Call of Cthulhu 2017: Use insanity to interrogate people, investigate crime scenes, and everything we know

Fast facts

  • Call of Cthulhu release date: December 2017
  • Developer: Cyanide
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive 
  • Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Hear that murmuring in the dark? See those tentacles creeping from the shadows, and the faces dripping down the walls? No? Good, because if you did I’d be worried that you’d be getting a little *too* into Cyanide’s upcoming horror investigation RPG, Call of Cthulhu. Edward Pierce, private investigator, is the name of the chap you’ll be guiding through the twisted Darkwater Island to find out why a giant fire ripped through Hawkin Manor. Killing the artist Sarah Hawkins, her husband, and her child, the source of the blaze remains a mystery. Sarah’s father has hired you to uncover it. But some of the answers waiting in the shadows are more than a human mind can bear...

Call of Cthulhu 2017 release date is surprisingly close

December 2017: that’s when you can expect to experience the green-tinged horror for yourself. Demos shown at Focus What’s Next Showcase and E3 indicate that it’s coming along nicely, but there are still some rough edges that are in need of smoothing out. So far there are demos that have been shown at various gaming events, like Focus What’s Next Showcase in early 2017 and E3, but there’s no sign of them online. Until something more substantial than a trailer sees the light of day, we have all the details about Call of Cthulhu right here. 

Read more: Call of Cthulhu is all about investigation, madness, and (surprise surprise) dark secrets

Call of Cthulhu trailer has our spines shivering

The trailer gives us quite a bit of information about what’s in store, unsurprisingly. Sarah Hawkin’s son is a bit odd by the sounds of it (to quote: “he’s a monster!”). Perhaps he’s gotten involved in the otherworldly cult lurking somewhere on Darkwater Island - but he’s only about 12 years old, so god knows how he would have got dragged into such dodgy goings-on. As if a creepy child wasn’t enough, the bodies in the morgue (either from the fire or an additional mysterious incident) don’t match the victims. So if they’re not there, where could they be? And why aren’t they being autopsied? Bigger problems might be in store, however - whales have been washing up with giant lacerations. Something big is causing them. Oh, and the police department are trying to keep the truth from emerging. Great. 

It’s down to you to figure out what’s going on - and to try to keep a grip on your sanity at the same time. Just watch out for those tentacles and eerie otherworldly monsters that will try and stop you from uncovering the truth...

Call of Cthulhu gameplay is...unnerving

Investigation is a strong theme in Call of Cthulhu. Seeing as you’re the private detective Edward Pierce, it’s not really a surprise. What is surprising is how you’ll uncover clues, as they won’t just come from talking to people. You’ll be picking your way through crime scenes to find pieces of evidence. Once you’ve collected a few you’ll then investigate them to make deductions about what happened. Depending on how you’ve expanded your investigation skill tree, you’ll be able to pick a certain number of the deductions you’ve made to come to a conclusion about what happened, leading you onto the next point in the quest. 

Only thing is, sometimes if you don’t pick the right deductions you could act under the wrong assumptions. But something can help you find the truth even if your powers of crime scene investigation fail. Insanity. See, the more eerie, spooky things you see - like a creature breaking out of a painting, or robed figures with deformed faces - the more insane you’ll become. Losing your grip on reality has its perks, though: you’ll be more able to discern the truth when your sanity meter is low. Meaning you can call lying characters out on their bluff. However, low sanity comes hand-in-hand with low health - so sacrifices must be made. 

Read more: The 20 best horror games of all time

Call of Cthulhu multiplayer isn’t a thing, but you do have followers

Although your real-life buddies aren’t able to join you in some online detective work, you’re not entirely alone. If you sweet talk characters well enough you’ll be able to recruit them, joining them to your cause and using them to complete missions. While you’re off trying to figure out what’s going on around Darkwater Island, you can send them to investigate certain aspects on their own. Each one has their own skills and proficiencies, so you’ll have to choose carefully who you’ll want to send where. 

They won’t immediately want to help out, though. Maximilian Lutz, Call of Cthulhu’s narrative designer, says that “you can speak with them and they can give you secondary missions based on their past that will help you explore more of their character”. Perhaps you’ll be able to “[bond] with them”, plus understandably you’ll “gain a better relationship with them if you help them in their quests”. But if they don’t quite float your boat you’ll be able to boot them from your team, whether that’s by accusing them of being a traitor or a double agent. So expect Call of Cthulhu to be part management sim. 

Call of Cthulhu platforms let everyone play!

Let’s keep this nice and simple: you can look out for this tentacled monstrosity crawling its way onto PC, PS4, and Xbox One in December 2017.