Call of Cthulhu 2017: Play as other characters, contract phobias that affect gameplay, and everything we know

Fast facts

  • Call of Cthulhu release date: TBC 2018
  • Developer: Cyanide
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive 
  • Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Paintings are usually rather nice things to look at. The last thing you'd want when you're gazing at one is for some interdimensional creature to come shambling out, all long spidery legs and with a thirst for your blood...or if you've just perked up at the mention of such a horror, Call of Cthulhu is the game for you. From Cyanide, this Lovecraftian tale has you playing Edward Pierce, an investigator from Boston who's hired to delve into the death of artist Sarah Hawkins. Her father suspects the police shut the investigation rather too quick, and that's not the only weird thing that's going on at Darkwater Island... Grim, wet, and full of odd goings-on, you'll be trekking around the island to uncover the otherworldly secrets it holds as you enter Hawkins Manor. Here's everything we know about Cyanide's RPG - just make sure you don't stare into any paintings for too long...

Call of Cthulhu 2017 release date is surprisingly close

Some time in 2018: 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 play as other people

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. You can even play entire missions as some of them, seeing the world of Darkwater Island through their eyes as you utilise their skills. Considering the cult you're going up against, you're going to want all the help you can get. 

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. 

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. 

Zoe Delahunty-Light

While here at GamesRadar, Zoe was a features writer and video presenter for us. She's since flown the coop and gone on to work at Eurogamer where she's a video producer, and also runs her own Twitch and YouTube channels. She specialises in huge open-world games, true crime, and lore deep-dives.