H. P. Lovecraft: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
H. P. Lovecraft: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
Travel back to vintage Providence and face horrors lurking underneath in the first official game based on the work of the famed writer.
Travel back to vintage Providence and face horrors lurking underneath in the first official game based on the work of the famed writer. Read more
About this project
Unfortunately the project did not reach its funding. While not the definitive end, we will have to put The Case of Charles Dexter Ward on hold for the time being. But remember: “That is not dead which can eternal lie”.
Our most popular updates:
- The Dream-Quest Of True Lovecraft, Pt. 1
- The Dream-Quest Of True Lovecraft, Pt. 2
- Tribulations At The Halfway Point Of Our Journey
- Tales Of A Mad Poet: Inside The Necronomicon
- Crafting Lovecraft: Bringing Charles Dexter Ward To Life
- The Music Of Erich — err… sorry, Charles Dexter Ward
We have added the all-digital Hound of Tindalos tier for the full non-physical experience of the game, including VIP access, soundtrack, PDF of the Necronomicon, and immortalised in-game presence for the unmentionable price of $166. But hurry, there is a limited stock!
Also, as requested by many of you, our add-on prices are here! Please, feel free to use the Manage Pledge button to add the desired amount with the following list of prices in mind:
- Digital Download of Asylum (exclusive price for this Kickstarter) +$13
- The Shadow Over Providence Digital Documentary +$10
- Digital Necronomicon Art Book +$10
- Digital Soundtrack +$10
- Audio CD Digipak Soundtrack +$20
- Blu-ray Edition of The Shadow Over Providence Documentary +$30
- Boxed Edition of Asylum (exclusive price for this Kickstarter) +$45
- Boxed Edition of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward +$55
- Hardcover Necronomicon Art Book +$60
- T-Shirt +$20
Following the end of the Kickstarter campaign, you will receive a survey where you will be able to assign your add-on money to the desired items.
Brothers and Sisters in Almousin-Metraton:—
Senscape, the team behind the acclaimed horror adventure games Scratches, Serena, and Asylum, has returned from nether gulfs of nightmare to bring you the first officially licensed game based on the legendary works of H. P. Lovecraft. This point-and-click adventure is a faithful and painstakingly researched adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward — a perennial favourite among hordes of fans and the only novel Lovecraft wrote in his lifetime — which happens to be the first of its kind in the video game industry. Join us as we tell you all about this groundbreaking project, the documentary The Shadow Over Providence hosted by S. T. Joshi, the inconceivably amazing rewards, and what may become a full series of officially sanctioned H. P. Lovecraft games. Iä! Iä!
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward invites you to explore mystery-laden Providence and uncover its enchanting secrets, research ancient history of witchcraft and occultism in shadow-blighted Salem, and sneak into an eerie Pawtuxet farm to meet unspeakable horrors lurking underneath in one of the most memorable sequences in Lovecraft’s oeuvre. Take the role of both the inquisitive Charles Dexter Ward and Dr. Marinus Willett in a race against time to save Providence (and possibly humankind) from the evil warlock Joseph Curwen, who has made a pact with powerful forces of ineffable cosmic hideousness to exert his abhorrent influence across centuries.
From visits to dusty libraries where awaits the hideous Necronomicon, through excursions to nightmarish cemeteries where time-worn bones tell of horrible past events, to sojourns in the old Salem-Village of crumbling gables and clustered gambrel roofs where wizards of yore still prowl, this is a blood-tingling project bound to stimulate the pineal glands of fans of adventure games and supernatural horror alike.
Adventure games are the ideal medium to tell Lovecraft’s stories. If you think about it, his protagonists rarely encounter their horrors — and whenever they do, the consequences are devastating — yet there are countless so-called Lovecraftian games where you must pit your strength against amorphous creatures or the mandatory slimy tentacles. And nothing wrong with that, but we’re looking to do things differently this time: in Charles Dexter Ward there are no weapons, no enemies, no jumping, no running, and no dying. If you believe it’s impossible to make a scary horror game without those features, then we encourage you to ask people who have played Scratches about the infamous boiler scene and why they’re still clamouring for Agustín’s head.
In Charles Dexter Ward we’re going to focus strictly on story and mood. That is what we love about adventure games and Lovecraft, and we have no intention to compromise his powerful, brooding narrative for the sake of cheap scares. It feels like only yesterday that we first read the novel, and even brief passages such as the oneiric sunrises in Prospect Terrace will be forever embedded in our minds. Lovecraft’s skilful pen transported us to a bygone time of witchcraft and unguessed horrors, magically interweaving historical facts and fiction, and we at Senscape are ready to do justice to this classic work.
Following repeated readings of the story over the past year, we have absorbed its mood, analysed its structure, and taken copious notes. Every aspect of the novel has been exhaustively researched, and we have the assistance and expertise of S. T. Joshi to ensure we get historical facts straight and bring Lovecraft’s vision to video games as faithfully as possible. We even meticulously considered Lovecraft’s entire output of fiction to understand how Charles Dexter Ward fits into that chronology and how certain aspects of his popular cosmology evolved over time. The game is already fully designed, and we know for a fact that you’re going to love it. The best way to describe it is as the long-lost classic horror game by LucasArts.
It took years to bring this project to you — the realisation of a dream — and today we invite you to be part of it.
Coupled with this Kickstarter is an ambitious production that is both a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of Charles Dexter Ward and a documentary on Lovecraft’s life in Providence. Acclaimed scholar S. T. Joshi will be joining Agustín Cordes as they travel to Providence and scout the remaining locations that were key in Lovecraft’s lifetime, including the John Hay Library, Moses Brown School, the “actual” home of the Ward family, and the queer building that inspired Curwen’s old house in Olney Court. Time will stand still as we retrace Lovecraft’s footsteps around his beloved home town and find the places and moments that inspired Charles Dexter Ward, with Mr. Joshi guiding us through the journey, revealing details about the fascinating persona of our favourite writer. Just as we intend to deliver the ultimate adaptation of his inimitable work, our plans for this rigorous and informative documentary are sure to satisfy even the most passionate Lovecraft aficionado.
And you can join us too on this journey to uncover the immemorial secrets of Providence! Our top tier — Cthulhu — is your ticket to an unforgettable weekend with Mr. Joshi and Senscape while we film portions of this documentary. Of course, this project is not just about Lovecraft but you as well! Thus, all the travellers who embrace the repellent gelatinous mass of Cthulhu will be interviewed in the documentary as part of our efforts to establish why Lovecraft’s work has influenced an illimitable legion of fans. The filming will take place early next year and we’ll make sure to arrange for the date to suit everyone involved.
Do you get the feeling we’re dedicated enough to bring H. P. Lovecraft’s legacy of unutterable terrors to the masses? Well, hold that thought, because we haven’t even told you about our stretch goals yet!
We know you love stretch goals, but we have mixed feelings about them: our main goal is exactly what we need to produce the Charles Dexter Ward game of our dreams — no less and no more than what is required to fulfil our vision and bring you the ultimate adaptation of an H. P. Lovecraft story. We don’t feel like “artificially enhancing” this vision by adding unneeded content or features to satisfy the tradition of stretch goals.
But we can do something else. Because this is already a Kickstarter campaign of Cyclopean (and non-Euclidean) proportions, our stretch goals will be suitably ambitious and bold — what if we told you we can secure licenses to adapt at least two more Lovecraft stories, provided that we meet the budget? This is the full scale of our dream, and the Kickstarter community has proven that virtually nothing is impossible:
So which other Lovecraft stories do you think would make great games? Can you guess our picks?
It’s no secret that we at Senscape love horror. We really do.
Scratches, released in 2006, went on to become a cult title among fans of adventures and remains hailed as one of the best Lovecraftian games, especially when it comes to its haunting conclusion that compelled players to theorise about the multilayered mystery for months. Serena, released to critical acclaim earlier this year and developed together with colleagues and fans, had a similar effect. This short adventure proved a surprise hit on Steam, fascinating countless players with its bittersweet mystery reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales. And we’re still working on Asylum, which was successfully Kickstarted last year and is in the final stages of production (we promise, it’s really coming!). Asylum is the spiritual successor to Scratches, a dedicated work of passion that will have taken five long years of our lives and is poised to become a cutting-edge adventure game with its stunning visual effects and atmosphere — not to mention a disturbing storyline that is Lovecraftian through and through and promises lots of sleepless nights.
Sharp observers may have realised that the body of our work comprises first-person adventures, but the truth is we love all kinds [Edit by Agustín: except Myst]. We believe the third-person perspective is ideal for Charles Dexter Ward, which is a more character-driven story than our previous efforts. And it turns out we have plenty of experience with the format, having worked on Federal Cases: Risk Profile, a huge educational adventure created for the government of Argentina and released in 2008. Distributed throughout hundreds of schools and acclaimed by thousands of players, the game remains one of the largest productions in the country’s history.
If you’re as enthusiastic about H. P. Lovecraft as we are, then you’re probably disappointed in how poorly his writings have been translated to other media. Most movie adaptations leave a lot to be desired, and games have only tangentially assimilated the full cosmic horror of his work. We want to change that, and so devoted are we to his legacy that we have restlessly pursued the rights to officially adapt his stories. This is an opportunity we can’t let pass.
In addition, part of our team is concluding work on the graphics for Asylum and is ready to move on to a new project. Many Kickstarted projects tend to outsource their development, but we prefer to work together because that’s the best approach for our games. It’s the teamwork and affinity achieved in a daily office setting that allows us to bring a unique quality to our projects and fulfil our vision. However, guaranteeing the continuity of a stable team across projects is one of the most critical problems in the game industry, especially when the games being made are rich in content and length. Thus, it makes a great deal of sense for us at Senscape to overlap the production of two games and avoid letting part of our talented team go. The budget we requested in last year’s campaign was strictly meant to complete Asylum, so there would be no point in maintaining artists on staff if we couldn’t start work on a new game. Unfortunately we need money for that, which is why we’re launching this Kickstarter to secure funds for Charles Dexter Ward.
It’s very important to point out that production on this game will start upon successful conclusion of this campaign and won’t be tied to the progress of Asylum. Should we surpass our goal and secure funds for additional H. P. Lovecraft games, then we are ready to expand the Senscape family as needed to keep weaving captivating stories and conjuring debarred visions of creeping nightmares.
The sheer awesomeness of our rewards cannot possibly be comprehended by feeble human minds, but we’re going to try and describe them. For our boxed edition of the game, we’re taking the approach that was so well received with the Asylum campaign: with the wonderful Infocom packaging of yesteryear as our inspiration, the box will be the perfect size and shape to feature on your shelf. It will contain physical goodies such as a Moses Brown School ID card with your name on it, a vintage postcard from Providence, and more to be confirmed! This item also includes the abridged version of the Necronomicon, a booklet that’s part art book, part game manual:
The hardcover edition of the Necronomicon, though, is another story. This lavishly designed collector’s item is going to be expanded with developer’s notes and even more artwork, and will feature pages of the “actual” Necronomicon as described in Lovecraft’s stories.
And there’s so much more! A lovely T-shirt, a soundtrack reminiscent of vintage Hammer horror movies, a Blu-ray edition of the documentary The Shadow Over Providence, and what proved to be a very popular reward with the Asylum campaign: in-game presence! Become a renowned citizen of Providence, a student in Moses Brown School, a book author in John Hay Library, or a nefarious wizard or witch in Salem-Village. Jenny Pattison of Infamous Quests fame (or infamy) will repaint your photo for some of these rewards, making you look and feel like a dweller of the early 20th century.
We’ll be revealing more details about these rewards throughout the extensive updates we have planned: how this project came to be, inside the Necronomicon, crafting Charles Dexter Ward and his evil counterpart, recreating Providence, adapting Lovecraft’s unique prose, and way more!
Well, that’s it for now, but make sure to stick around for a month full of Lovecraftian goodness and indescribable fears as we tell you even more about our plans for H. P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and (who knows!) maybe even more adaptations. We love hearing from you, so make sure to follow us on your social network of choice. We also invite you to join our ever-growing community of adventure game and horror fans in our forums.
We would like to extend our thanks for the invaluable assistance of Phoenix Online Studios with the creation of this Kickstarter campaign, especially to Weldon Hathaway who coördinates administrative tasks in the United States. Huge thanks as well to Simo Sakari Aaltonen for his masterful revision of all texts related to this campaign, Eriq Chang for his remarkable take on the game logo, Alessandra Bertoldi for her formidable Latin expertise, Serena Nelson for being awesome and charming as usual, Melissa Kell for filming Mr. Joshi in Seattle, Hernán Sáez for the careful production of our main video, Daniel Vierna for further proofreading, and Alina Graziani for coping with Agustín’s insanity.
And of course, thank YOU, our awesome and supportive backers, for being part of our crazy dreams. For you we would ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind, descend to meet the noxious nightmarish terrors crawling in the catacombs of Nephren-Ka, surrender to the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth’s will, and lose our minds in the nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity. Per Adonai Eloim, Adonai Jehova, Adonai Sabaoth, Metraton On Agla Mathon! YI-NASH-YOG-SOTHOTH-HE-LGEB-FI-THRODOG-YAH! IÄ! IÄ!!
Risks and challenges
Our team has over thirty years of combined experience in the industry — we love what we do and every day at Senscape is full of challenges and excitement. Yet game development is not an exact science. No project is immune to risks or delays, as seen with our own Asylum. We are aware of this and have maintained a strong, constant dialogue with our backers. Our updates are unanimously well received because they are informative and fun, and backers understand that we’re putting everything we’ve got into creating games that will be remembered for aeons to come.
We understand backers may be concerned about the possibility of eventual delays with The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as well; however, these games differ greatly in scope and style. Whereas Asylum is huge and lets the player explore an extremely detailed virtual asylum at leisure in first person, Charles Dexter Ward is a more focused and traditional third-person adventure. They complement each other in style and mood but are strongly linked by H. P. Lovecraft and our past experiences with Scratches and Serena.
The most challenging aspect of Charles Dexter Ward is to ensure a faithful and strong adaptation of Lovecraft’s beloved work, as well as the unique atmosphere he strove to achieve. We are more than ready to deliver in both regards, as attested by our past and current games, as well as the tremendous assistance and insight provided by S. T. Joshi. Potential delays are always a risk but we have learned a lot; thanks to the extraordinary support we received for Asylum, we are now a larger team working together in a physical office. We are as organised and focused as ever, and with your help we can start a thrilling new chapter for our company.
When you support us, you become part of our team — part of Senscape. And trust us, it’s one hell of a ride!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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