Adventure Gamers has been fortunate to have several respected developers on staff over the years (not covering their own games, of course!), and this fall we will be adding another from within, as our very own Nathaniel Berens releases his first adventure game, the apocalyptic cult mystery Sagebrush.
Based on "extensive research into cult groups both famous and obscure, large and small,"
Sagebrush sends players to investigate firsthand the long-abandoned Black Sage Ranch in New Mexico. It's no mystery why the "former home of Perfect Heaven, an apocalyptic cult formed in the early 1990s under the guiding hand of the prophet Father James," was deserted years earlier: in a Jonestown-style event, the entire group "collectively took their lives in a mass suicide." But who were these people who believed so fervently that death was the only answer, and why? As you begin to probe the cultists' lives through "notes, recordings, and belongings" left behind, you'll find no "simplistic motivations and easy answers." Instead, the more you dig, the more you'll come to understand that these were "diverse and complex people with varied needs, hopes, and fears."
While Sagebrush features the same keyboard/mouse-controlled 3D experience as other recent narrative-driven first-person mysteries, this game eschews the photorealistic approach in favour of a deliberately "evocative low-poly, low-resolution, less-is-more art style that combines retro aesthetics with modern technology." Players are free to roam the ranch, from "the trailers that housed the cultists, to the halls where they gathered for food and prayer, to the old mines that stretch out below the compound, untouched for nearly a century." You won't simply be a passive observer, either, as there will be some puzzles to solve along the way, though Berens claims the claims the game is not puzzle-intensive.
There is no firm release date yet for Sagebrush, but if all goes well, the game is due to release on Steam and itch.io for Windows PC sometime before the end of this year.