Martha is Dead, the special with everything we know about LKA's new thriller

Martha is Dead, the special with everything we know about LKA's new thriller

Martha is Dead

Five years ago, The Town of Light managed to bring the delicate theme of asylums to the screen by treating it with rare care, without lacking the hardness necessary to lift the veil and show what it meant to find oneself within those four walls: madness had many variations but in many cases it has always been tried to exorcise it, a path that the developers of LKA have not taken, choosing rather to give a human cut to the question. Because this is what it all boils down to, to people and their experiences, to the often inhumane attempt (due to the times in which the events narrated took place) to heal them without trying to understand them. It was from an Italian team that the desire to go beyond the archetype of the asylum as a simple theater of horror for the player came and to shift the focus on who, that life, was forced to live it - making us spectators.

The positive feedback from the game prompted the developers not to abandon the psychological thriller genre, choosing once again the Tuscan countryside, but setting it this time during the Second World War: in 1944, to be precise, during the retreat of the German army and the advance of the Allies. In this context, Martha is Dead takes place, an experience with dark tones and dreamlike colors, a mix of history, superstition and psychic discomfort.

On the occasion of E3 2021, the game has returned to show itself with a new trailer focused on the figure of the so-called "White Lady"; in this Martha is Dead special we try to summarize the information available so far: let's find out together what to expect from this eagerly awaited game.

The first announcement in 2019

Martha is Dead announced itself to the videogame world on 2 October 2019 with a teaser that already hinted at the graphic quality and the progress made by LKA: the The narrative opening was difficult to grasp, but on the whole it didn't give the idea of ​​anything unusual, although it did show a funeral home. A very intimate scene, perhaps sad, from which some kind of turn was not expected. Only in the last few seconds did the game suggest its nature as a thriller, sometimes even horror, as soon as the body of the girl in the coffin was consumed leaving the feeling that her eyes were fixed on the viewer.

Developed with Unreal Engine 4, with photorealism as its main focus and the use of advanced texturing techniques, along with full support for real-time ray tracing, Martha is Dead is defined as a game designed once again to make labile the boundary between fiction and reality, giving life to deeply human stories. On the occasion of the announcement, during the Gamescom it was possible to try a build that immediately made clear the dreamlike and dark tones of the project: the first-person view, just like in The Town of Light, favors immersion in an experience that is wrong to define a walking simulator, since it asks us to perform specific actions (including choices, albeit not aimed at influencing the plot from what we know) and makes the camera in our possession a key element.

Symbolism seems to be another crucial point of the game, exploited together with plays of light and shadows, as well as the directorial cut of the shots, to convey the harsh reality of an Italy still at war: here, against this background tragic in itself, the protagonist Giulia will have to discover what lies behind the murder of her twin Martha, who died by drowning and whose desecrated body was found on the shores of a lake in the Tuscan countryside.

The return to the Golden Joystick Awards 2020

The Tuscan campaign of Martha is Dead A year later, Martha is Dead closed the Golden Joystick Awards 2020 with a new trailer, which alternates between puppet show and "life" vera "offered us an extra glimpse into the game and the restlessness it cloaks. In the video we see Giulia, together with the nanny, swimming in a lake on the bottom of which the so-called lady would lie: we are not told anything else about it but it is quite clear that it is a local story, folklore that nevertheless has a lot of influence on Giulia (or perhaps the danger to which it refers relates to the lake itself?). If the first trailer gave a taste of what could await us in the full game, this one went a little further and better underlined the psychic discomforts around which the experience is built, added to the dreamlike atmospheres in which to distinguish reality from ' imagination becomes more and more difficult.

Being almost entirely narrative based, no further details were provided but the video proved to be an opportunity to confirm the launch of the game on PC, PS4 / PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S | X: given the pursuit of photorealism, we are curious to see how far the developers will go with the two current gen versions.

The co-financing of Creative Europe

Martha is Dead is back in spring 2021 on the occasion of the Future Game Show, with a third trailer that treads even more hand on the supernatural component of the game, an element absent in The Town of Light. It is difficult to establish the boundary between thriller and psychological horror, in some points, but this only enhances a game - and this is the even more important news - that has obtained the co-financing of Creative Europe: it is the European program of support for the cultural and creative sectors, which in practice proved to be an indispensable help for developers. "Having a European contribution means proposing to other investors with a very important institutional recognition and with a portfolio that is not entirely empty. Two elements that radically change the negotiations" commented Luca Dalcò, founder and director of LKA, in an interview with Print. Martha is Dead has therefore become a real case, at least as regards the Italian videogame panorama.

The legend of the White Lady at E3 2021

On the occasion of E3 2021, Martha is Dead made its last public appearance by now with a longer trailer than the previous ones, which focused on the legend of the White Lady: it is folklore present in many cultures, not only Italian and not only closely linked to Tuscany , which has been revived here to add a further aura of mystery to the events - making us think of the recent The Haunting of Bly Manor. Who, in this case, is the unfortunate lady of the lake? It is said that she can show herself benevolent towards those who, suffocated by an unbearable pain, evoke her through a dark ritual ... or not. Could it be Martha's spirit? If so, will Giulia try in some way to evoke it? With what consequences, for itself and possibly others?

Two years after its announcement, the LKA game has revealed a lot and at the same time little of itself: a choice that is not surprising, since it is a primarily narrative experience and, let's imagine, interspersed with riddles and puzzles environmental. Although the events take place in Tuscany, always put in the foreground thanks to glimpses that you might even recognize, Martha is Dead has a completely different tenor compared to The Town of Light: the psychological subtext is always present but in this case it is intertwined with atmospheres clearly more horror where the real and the supernatural seem to overlap until they are unrecognizable. While not yet having a specific launch date, the game is expected by 2021 and after all these continuous tastings of its atmosphere, we can't wait to experience LKA's efforts.

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