Hell imagery isn’t anything new in culture in general, or in video games specifically. It takes a singular vision to stand out in this field, and it appears that Madmind Studio’s upcoming game Agony is up to the challenge.
What does it have on offer and what kind of infernal cookie is it specifically? Let’s take a look.
WARNING: images are NSFW.
The first thing that’s going to be striking about Agony is it’s presentation. Based on what can be gathered from trailers and screenshots, the hell of Agony is going to be detailed, crisp, and in no small part composed of bodies, literally.
At certain sections, you’ll see walls and floors made of a writhing mass of bodies, including babies. Although there’s going to be a lot of place left for the fire and brimstone imagery as well, the fleshy environments are sure to stick in your memories for a long time.
The disturbing attention to detail also comes through in the enemy designs. Depending on the theme of a given zone they are going to be either weirdly organic-looking demons or, alternatively, body horror of the kind you’d expect from Carpenter’s The Thing, or Dead Space. Flesh golems, unnerving jigsaw puzzles of body parts skittering in the poorly lit environments on six arms instead of two legs.
The developers certainly have a good sense of what is going to be the most disturbing for the audience, from eyeless faces to uncanny valley level type of intentional creepiness.
Agony isn’t going to be a casual stroll through the park, and Madmind state that they want the players to get comfortable with the images before introducing a new element to make people afraid of going to sleep.
Genre-wise, Agony is going to be your usual survival horror in the same vein as Outlast or Amnesia, which means that you’ll spend a lot of time hiding from enemies who can destroy you as an afterthought, holding your breath (that you somehow have) while they pass by, and trying to solve how to move on to the next section through an obstacle blocking your path.
This is where Agony’s unique quirk comes into play, and ties into the storyline.
In Agony you are playing as one of the souls condemned to hell, called Martyrs. For reason undisclosed the soul given to the player to control has the ability to fully possess and control not only other Martyrs, but also some of the demons reigning in hell. Supposedly being able to take control of the beings that are given a free reign of the place can help in getting where you need to be.
The game’s core story is going to be focused on finding a way to escape from hell. However, to do this, your character needs to find the elusive Red Mistress, the alleged creator of hell, who according to rumours knows the way out. Why she would reveal that info is anybody’s guess, probably left to be seen when the game finally releases.
All points considered, the Polish production, made by industry veterans, may be one of the more interesting horrors of recent years. Between outstanding, visionary visuals, interesting story premise, and a tweak on the tried and tested genre formula, Agony, releasing on March 30, might be well worth taking a look.