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Video Game / The Church in the Darkness

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The Church In The Darkness is a 3D Stealth-Based Game with Roguelike elements. It was developed by Paranoid Productions (which is mainly Richard Rouse III, the creator of Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis and Damage Incorporated in the 90s, and later on the lead designer of The Suffering games) and published by Fellow Traveller.
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It is about a very thin Expy of Jim Jones' cult (called Collective Justice Mission here, and led by Isaac and Rebecca Walker) in its late stage, when it has already established their "Freedom Town" in South America. One of rank-and-file members, Alex, is a nephew of former lawman Vic, who becomes justifiably worried, and decides he needs to personally infiltrate the cult to check on Alex and get him out of there. Notably, the storyline doesn't stay fixed, but evolves from both directions. It is both altered by your choices regarding how you approach the infiltration, and changes on its own from playthrough to playthrough.

The game was released on August 2nd, 2019 for PC through Steam, as well as Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The official website is here, and there are also gameplay and story trailers available.

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Also, Isaac and Rebecca Walker, the couple leading the cult, are voiced by John Patrick Lowrie and Ellen McLain, who are better known as the Sniper of Team Fortress 2 and GLaDOS, respectively.

Tropes present in this game:

  • Blending-In Stealth Gameplay: Downplayed. It is possible to find a disguise. However, its main effect is that it reduces the size of the cultists' vision cones, so the core stealth mechanics continue being about staying out of sight.
  • Broken Pedestal: The gameplay trailer shows that by the time you arrive, some of the followers have already become disillusioned by the Walkers. For instance, every member has a "devotional card" with Isaac's face on it, but you can find that in some followers' huts, these cards are defaced with "LIAR" and "ADULTETER".
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: The two heads of the Collective Justice Mission, Isaac and Rebecca, will issue their propaganda out over the loudspeakers constantly. What they say will also reflect what actions you've taken, such as if a dead body has been caught. You can also deduce what kind of personalities they have during the current game based on how they both act.
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  • Cardboard Prison: In the early version shown in the gameplay trailer, Vic can break out of the cage Walker puts him in almost effortlessly, by simply pushing the door.
  • Fictional Country: While the real People's Temple was located in Guyana, the Freedom Town here settles for "Battuela", as shown by the postcard from Alex, which Vic consults at the start of any run.
  • Cult: The Collective Justice Mission is a textbook example. It's an isolated religious community that preaches a set of beliefs designed to attract the disenfranchised youth, intentionally separates its members from their friends and families, and strictly controls their movements and how they may communicate with the outside world, all to make them easier to indoctrinate.
  • Irony: Many of the Walkers' lines are deeply ironic, given their position as cult leaders. For instance, you can overhear Rebecca saying over the PA that "Like a virus, injustice must spread to survive. But as long as one person resists, injustice may be killed."
  • Island Help Message: Wandering off a bit from the Town itself allows Vic to find the letters "HELP US" assembled out of sticks.
  • Optional Stealth: The game is geared around stealth, but it is technically possible to go in guns blazing early on, though it'll both be difficult due to the potential number of armed followers, and due to the risk of accidentally killing Alex in that manner and/or triggering mass suicide.
  • Throwing the Distraction: The gameplay trailer shows that you can steal followers' alarm clocks from the huts, and then set them to ring soon after you drop them, so that everyone runs to check out the noise and allows you to slip by.

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