Introducing Catacombs, an unannounced Square Enix shooter from Nier developer Cavia and AQ Interactive.
Since we’re not sure Catacombs is going to come out we’re going to share some of the twists players would see much later on in the game.
Cradle of Civilization
You may have caught this in the articles, but if you didn’t the core levels are: Ancient Greece, an Aztec Temple, Ancient Egypt, and an area based on Angkor Wat. Each level stems from the ancestry of the four heroes. Eagle-eyed players will find clues that give insight into the characters written on the walls and hidden on various objects. An ominous voice also subtly reveals each hero’s inner fears and their memories delving into the back story of why these four were chosen.
Mysterious Voice: A Friend or Foe?
The mysterious voice guides players throughout the levels in the beginning, but misleads them in the later stages. While it’s clear the voice brought them to this ever-changing world, players don’t learn until late in the game why. The voice is actually Jung’s collective unconscious speaking to the players through an artifact in the museum. Imbued with knowledge of all civilizations past and present, the voice urges players to destroy the cultural constructs and revert the world to back before the Tower of Babel where humankind was separated through language. Midway through the game, the collective unconscious changes because modern humans are dependant on these archetypes which makes the voice change its plans and misleads the players by trying to dispose of them.
Mind Over Matter
Catacombs has an underlying theme of existentialism. Reality exists for everyone within their mind, but for a brief period three other heroes can enter another hero’s reality in the game’s main levels. Enemies are manifestations of each hero’s self-doubts transformed into ancient cultural icons and stage specific traps are tied to their mental blocks. The labyrinth changes as a character’s feelings change.
Players meet the voice in a fragile state torn between a utopian ideal of breaking down cultural boundaries and forming a new world where everyone is equal and reverting to the world’s comfortable current state. Each test infuses the heroes with power to shape the world as they will.
Players can choose whether to extinguish culture as we know it or restore it. In the defiant path, the four characters claim even though they are American they realize they bring lifetimes of cultural heritage with them. These identities make them unique and the refuse to give them just for a voice’s ideal for mankind. Enraged at their decision, the voice reverts back to its original personality and tries to absorb the now all-powerful heroes.
In the defiant path, the final level is a twisted amalgamation of the core levels and a representation of the unified culture the voice longs for. Support from people who want to retain the current world battle the collective unconscious and morph the maze into nothingness. Players will have to walk on empty tiles as the navigate through a barrage of traps (some appear and suddenly disappear) as the voice fights itself. When the heroes reach the voice they must defeat the artifact to free themselves.
After defeating the voice, the world dissolves leaving the four heroes on an asteroid floating in space. Alone, but all-powerful the heroes decide to rebuild the world and create a new reality. Players will get a chance to reconfigure the game’s levels to unlock new secrets and see another twist in New Game+ mode where the heroes explore a world they created after becoming the ancestors of human civilization.