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A Year of Cthulhu

December 22, 2018

As a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos and someone who enjoys related media, I thought I’d share my Lovecraft highlights of 2018. Plus would be interested to know yours?

Of note is that this image (by Andree Wallin, below) was the top voted ‘cthulhu’ post on Reddit in 2018!


Cthulhu! By Andree Wallin, source here

So starting with games (of course) it was a good year for fellow cultists. This was reflected in a great article in Bloody Disgusting about the new crop Cthulhu of games for 2018/9. By now 2 of the 3 have launched and the other is due March 2019. One of those was Focus Home Interactive’s Call of Cthulhu (in the Steam sale now!):

The other was our own Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics (also in the Steam sale now…)

We’d been working away for over a year on Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics and I’m super proud of the work the team did! (There’s a 3 part podcast on the game here)

While we’re on the subject of video games, I feel important to note the great Cultist Simulator (grab it in the Steam sale! We’d backed it on Kickstarter!, good article on it here) and the excellent Darkest Dungeon added the ‘Color of Madness‘ DLC. Oh and an honourable mention for Delta Green’s The Labyrinth which also backed on Kickstarter and am really looking forward to getting!

Jumping on to film. The will-he-won’t-he discussion of Guillermo Del Toro finally making ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ was alive in 2018;

Del Toro, too, has always been open to the possibility that the movie could come back, given his years-long passion for making this work. The Oscars are silly, but their utility is giving creators the momentum they need to bring their more niche ideas to live. Pumping $150 million into this story, brought to life by one of the best directors around — come on, that’s a much better use of cash than King Arthur: The Last Sword.

Agree totally and we’re long overdue a Hollywood version of Lovecraft’s work, especially given how culturally huge it has become! Indeed, I wrote an article arguing a similar point earlier in the year:

Lovecraft himself would never know the success and cultural impact this or any of his other works would have. When he died in 1937 he would only know that his works had reached a limited audience, never having made enough from his works to make a living as a writer. Yet over 90 years since he set out the plot of The Call of Cthulhu, the idea, themes, and the eponymous creature has finally reached the mainstream. The majority of us have heard of “The Call of Cthulhu” in one form or another.

But there was good news – The Color out of Space film is moving forward, to be directed by the director of the excellent cult 90s hit ‘Hardware’. Very hopeful about that! However one of my favourite films of 2018 of any genre was Annihilation – which was totally excellent. I wanted to see it at the cinema but it went direct to Netflix here, which was great as I’ve watched it 3 times now. The connection to the Mythos is that the overall concept is loosely themed to The Color Out of Space. Watching the film got me into the original novel’s work and I read all the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer this year too. Books and the film totally recommended.

To other general media, links, art and things….

Part two of the excellent ‘Mon Dieu Cthulhu!‘ series of books came out this year. It’s a rollicking good read and I really enjoyed it. (For transparency I should note, the writer John Houlihan, was also a writer on Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics) – but if you enjoy the Sharpe’s TV series (I did) and like the Cthulhu Mythos (I do) then you’ll enjoy this.


So to end, a quick list of other notable mythos/Cthulhu/Lovecraftian things from 2018…

And finally, anyone else see the corrupted Easter egg in Aquaman?


Hope to see you on the other side in 2019! (Please do subscribe here to stay in the cult!)

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics hits Console

November 24, 2018

I’m extremely happy to say that Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is now out on Xbox and PS4!

If sounds interesting, we did a three part podcast about the game, which you can find here.

There is a Stream on Mixer of us playing Xbox game too! You can re-watch it here.

Screenshot 2018-11-24 11.19.01


Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics Launches NOW!

October 4, 2018

After long hard work by an amazing team, we’re really proud to say that Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is now live on Steam!

Go grab it!

My ‘Steampocalypse’ Develop 2018 Talk Notes

July 10, 2018

So just completed my talk on the Steampocalypse!

Seemed to go well. Thanks for coming if you did! Develop Steampocalypse 2018 notes & links are here…

Chainsaw Warrior Screenshot

Chainsaw Warrior Screenshot

The above link has all the videos etc I mentioned in so please do check it out.

Oh and there is an article on it from MCV… Thanks!

I’m speaking at Develop – ‘The Steampocalypse – A Survival Guide’ Tuesday 10th July 11am in Room 4

June 11, 2018

Super happy to be back there this year, having missed 2017 (for various major reasons)…

For the last couple of years Steam has become a competitive space. In the last few months, since Steam Direct launched, that has got even harder. The number of new games on Steam has gone from a handful per day back in 2015 to over 200 per week in March 2018. Can this rise continue? What do these dark omens tell us of what Steam may do in response? Is this a ‘Steampocalypse’ or simply the next iteration in the ongoing story of games development? Should you give up? Move to console? Pivot to mobile? Jack it all in and go work in another industry? Tomas Rawlings – indie developer running Auroh Digital and a co-director of Bristol Games Hub shares with you some of the survival strategies that he and other indies are using to attempt to ensure that they survive the Steampocalypse.

Hope to see you there!

The Best Strategy Games for Nintendo Switch (a work in progress!)

May 6, 2018

Hey all. As well as being a developer of strategy games I’m also a huge player of them! I recently got hold of a Switch to play some games on for research and the like, so I have obviously been checking out Strategy games to play. Here’s my list so far of what is worth your money, on Switch… (A to Z)

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics – Our take on a mythos themed Turn-based Strategy game set in a WW2 combat setting – so of course I’m going to add it here! Was really pleased with how the combat system turned out – we added a facing system and the enemy ‘Shroud’ that cloaked the missions in darkness you needed to counter. Plus a Momentum system inspired by the Modiphius 2d20 RPG system. So if you like tactics, TBS, guns and monsters – do grab it! (We’ve done podcasts about it too, which you can get here.)


Darkest Dungeon – Another 2D turn-based strategy and again it uses the 2D nature of the game-space really well. It has this neat system where by the order your characters relative to the enemy and each other has major tactical implications, for example your big fighters prefer to be at the front hitting and taking damage, whereas a magic user may prefer to be at the back. Layered on to this is an amazing ‘sanity’ system (as the game is about the mental attrition of the horror and darkness the characters face). The controls here are much better than the PS Vita version, though I’d say not quite as good as PC. However it’s a great game, provided you are prepared for the grind of characters and missions. Update – you can get the game on Switch as a bundle including all the DLC – which has the excellent Color Out of Space themed DLC. Having played this now on Steam, Switch and Vita – Switch is my fav version due to it’s added portability!


Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Cute but strategically satisfying. Best thing to check out about this game is the creative director of XCOM talking about how the game expands the turn-based strategy space; “In Kingdom Battle, the stress comes from knowing there is only a narrow band of choices that will lead to victory. Every choice you make could set you down the wrong path, and in later missions, the band of choices narrows even further. Yet the stress of combat is also offset by powerful new innovations to the tactics genre. Movement is surprisingly fun and kinetic, with allies leaping off of each other, sliding through nearby enemies or traveling through pipes to completely different areas of the battlefield.”


Steamworld Heist – So I first came across this gem of a game on PS Vita. It’s a super-smart take on a turn-based strategy. First twist is that it is done 2D rather than 3D, but in a way that less is more, focusing the combat on the 2 planes really works well, making it close quarters and rapid. Second it has this great mechanic of ricochet for some types of attack, that makes the 2D space into a more dynamic combat zone. Layered in to that it uses a more traditional action points system, a cover system and different weapon and attack types. Then there is an RPG layer of character development and equipment selection that also adds skills and the like. Great fun! (Fun fact; this game was developed in part with a grant from the EU Media fund.)


War Groove – At time of writing, this has just launched. I’m enjoying it so far – very of an Advanced Wars vibe, which is no bad thing, as love those games! It’s got a slick UI, nice unit design, good strategy so far. So am enjoying – will update!


I’ll be updating this list as I go along, and feel free to suggest new ones for me to check out!

He who controls the spice controls the universe.

April 3, 2018

That title quote is from the amazing novel of Dune. And I recently wrote an article on why I love (and I mean Loooove) the game Dune II:

Dune II took this setting as the inspiration for one of the first real-time strategy titles. It pioneered many of the forms and conventions that RTS games (indeed strategy games!) use in ways we still see today. Lest we forget that the children of Dune II have gone on to conquer the world, League of Legends, Dota 2, Clash Royale, Starcraft, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Total War and many, many others still have some DNA from this gem of a game. From the player’s direct control of resources, to tech-trees, to building units, to commanding an emergent army – and doing all of this in the same screen was mind blowing.

And here’s a video of that game: