Town of Light developer LKA has confirmed its new WW2-set, first-person psychological thriller, Martha is Dead, will be coming to Xbox Series X next year, alongside the previously announced PC version – and there’s an unsettling new trailer to accompany the news.
Martha is Dead unfolds in Tuscany, 1944, against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between German and Allied forces. The story begins as the body of a woman, Martha, is found by the side of a lake, deep in the Italian countryside. Players, cast in the role of her twin sister, must deal with the repercussions of the murder, “all whilst the horror of war draws ever closer”.
“Along the way,” LKA explained back at the time of the game’s announcement, “she will encounter situations and discover things no one should have to… mortal death was the easy path compared to this one marred by mental and emotional distress which lingers on.”
LKA says Martha is Dead will combine real-world locations, historical events, superstition, and folklore to deliver “deep multi-layered narratives” in “disturbing and dreamlike tones”. There are hints of that, with an emphasis on disturbing, in the extremely gruesome new trailer.
LKA co-founder and director Luca Dalco has shed a little more light on the studio’s approach to its latest subject in a statement accompanying the new trailer, writing, “Martha is Dead is set in a really interesting and distressing period of history, with Italy at this time torn between two major powers fighting for the future.”
“Martha’s brutal murder brings with it a mirrored sense of misery,” Dalco continues, “This game will shock, make players question the truth and like The Town of Light, help continue a conversation around subject matters that still carry much stigma.”
LKA’s previous title, The Town of Light, took some extremely difficult, sometimes harrowing subject matter and presented it in an engaging, respectful way. “It neither comes across as trying to shock, nor ever pulls back from unpleasant or simply uncomfortable scenes,” Richard Cobbett wrote in his Eurogamer Recommended review, “[it’s] simply a slice of history that welcomes you into its halls to share your empathy, without locking the doors behind you”.
Hopefully Martha is Dead will manage to perform the same delicate balancing act when it comes to Xbox Series X and Steam next year.