Catholic guilt simulator Gray Dawn rises in June

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On Christmas Eve 1910, you attempt to exorcise the demon from an altar-boy. You’re qualified for this position because you’re a priest and you think you’re capable of taking this on. Turns out you aren’t and the kid jumps out a window. Now you’re suspected of murdering a little boy in your church and you’ve got to prove your innocence. You’ll be put to death if you can’t. Oh, and you absolutely set loose a demon that is tormenting you. Welcome to Gray Dawn, which is set to release in June.

Two days ago, Interactive Stone dropped a new trailer that shows off some gameplay:

There’s a heavy lean-in on puzzle mechanics here, with an incredible visual aspect that’s been in development for a couple of years. I started following this in 2015 or so, and knowing that I finally get to play the game next month fills me with a wonderful sense of… oh. Oh no. That’s just Catholic guilt. That’s not wonderful at all.

I’m sure there’s more than one twist coming in the game where you play a priest, and the demonic manifestations of your past sins are certainly going to be… extra. Despite a failed Kickstarter attempt, Interactive Stone followed their dream and now the game is threatening to become a part of my life in just a few short weeks.

Pre-order it on Steam right here.

Certainly there won’t be any spooky children in this spooky Catholic game.

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Well. Oh no.

19 Comments

  1. Jernau Gurgeh says:

    That doesn’t sound very realistic. A Catholic priest put to death for murdering a child? They’d just get a slapped wrist from the Church and be sent to another parish, surely?

    • msd23 says:

      “you attempt to exorcise the demon from an altar-boy”
      “you absolutely set loose a demon that is tormenting you”
      “demonic manifestations of your past sins”
      “despite a failed Kickstarter attempt, Interactive Stone followed their dream”

      -not sure if the game is meant to be realistic

  2. Demiath says:

    At least judging by the trailer and screenshots, the game’s religious imagery is not Catholic but rather Eastern Orthodox. Examples include the iconography, recurring onion domes and references to “Panikhída” (which Google informs me is a memorial service in the Orthodox church).

    Confusingly, the developer site states that the (presumably) offending priest is “Swedish-born”, which would normally entail an epic load of Lutheran guilt (i.e. the worst kind!)…

  3. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    Is that Matthew Morgan narrating the trailer? I really liked his crestfallen warriors in Souls series.

  4. Super Rostropovich 64 says:

    This is very weird. The trailer is full of Eastern Orthodox symbols and imagery and then the main character Crosses himself as a Catholic from left to right, also the Panihida text is in the Latin script which could actually only mean it’s set in Romania. I don’t know, dude. I’m tired.

    Edit: Just remembered, the Merry (blue, wooden) cemetery is in fact in Maramuresh, Romania.

    • Freud says:

      Game development works in mysterious ways.

    • aego says:

      The trailer is full of Eastern Orthodox symbols and imagery and then the main character Crosses himself as a Catholic from left to right, also the Panihida text is in the Latin script

      The steam page says the game takes place in England, but players will “often be transported” to Romania. So it’s possible the main character is English (which would explain the left-to-right cross, whereas an Orthodox would cross himself from right to left). And the Panihida text – the cover at least – is in Romanian, it would translate to something like “Funeral Rites for the Laymen”.

      Also, the dev team is from Romania.

      • April March says:

        It’d be hilarious if they just didn’t know Catholics crossed themselves right to left. I certanly didn’t know Orthodoxes crossed left to right, but I didn’t make a game about them.

        Less cynically, perhaps the animator was confused about which side was which while creating the animation. That’s more likely than you’d think.

  5. Asrahn says:

    I misread this as “catholic goat simulator”, which I struggle to nail down whether it sounds better or worse than this.

  6. rob says:

    Glad you steered clear of obvious stereotypes such as Catholic guilt in the headline and the article content.

  7. ephesus64 says:

    Anyone seen an Italian film called L’arcano Incantatore? Guillermo Del Toro recommended it on his Twitter a long time ago. It uses the imagery and “mechanics” if you will of the interactions between social and spiritual things in tradition in a complex way, and it comes out the better film for it. Admittedly judging the game by its trailers, it worries me that Grey Dawn could be more similar to a generic horror movie utilizing a collection of facts and images from Christianity, possibly viewed through a postmodern disdain for anything supernatural or religious. It’s a video game, and this medium has had less time to mature than film, but still.

    Here’s another thing. I really think that an appropriated collection of misused or outright false beliefs about Hinduism or Islam draped over horror tropes in order to make a video game would make people uncomfortable in ways that negative portrayals of Catholicism don’t seem to right now. I’m not Catholic but I respect some beautiful things which have come from it, and I wonder if there is a double standard happening.

    • malkav11 says:

      People would be upset by appropriating misunderstood takes on Hinduism or Islam because of the fraught history of white people appropriating culture from non-white parts of the world, particularly in the wake of colonialism and slavery, and for Islam in particular, the very real and deliberate demonization of the entirety of the Muslim world (and anyone from areas that are associated with Islam regardless of their personal beliefs) as terrorists and murderers.

      I wouldn’t claim that there’s no anti-Catholic prejudice, but it is still a billion-strong religion observed in cultures that are among the most wealthy and powerful in the world. I don’t think it needs nearly as much defending.

      Also, while this game may very well stray from the specific actual doctrine in its portrayal, it’s tough to deny that Catholicism has a tradition of believing in demonic possession and still to this day practices exorcism.

  8. Sin Vega says:

    pfft. When you’re raised Catholic, everything is a Catholic Guilt Simulator.

  9. Monggerel says:

    What is Catholic Guilt?
    Is it like Preterition? I’m familiar with that, was raised Calvinist.
    They may have lost the faith, but they sure stayed preterite.

    “Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom
    nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our
    nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail
    nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.”

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