Primordia devs go to a terrible carnival with Strangeland in May

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A few years later than planned, Primordia developers Wormwood Studios are returning with a new murky adventure game. Their Strangeland will launch on the 25th of May, publishers Wadjet Eye announced yesterday, inviting players into a surreal and nightmarish carnival with far too many awful clown faces for my liking. Have a peek in the trailer below.

So there you are, a fella in a straitjacket, who wakes in a terrible carnival that’s home to a woman who keeps throwing herself down a bottomless well, strange folks including a telepathic starfish and a living mermaid, and a terrible darkness. Sounds like a place for some story-o-puzzling alright.

As Primordia did, Strangeland will have multiple endings and multiple puzzle solutions. The store blurb explains, “one player might win a carnival game with sharpshooting, another by electrical engineering; one player might unravel a strange prophet’s wordplay while another gathers visual clues scattered throughout the environment.”

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Not everyone cottoned onto Primordia’s optional puzzles and multiple solutions, leading to one of the devs popping up in the comments of our Primordia review and get into an interesting chat about that with former columnist (and noted adventurous man) Richard Cobbett about puzzle design and how well it did (or didn’t) make players people aware of its nature. I enjoyed re-reading that today.

Strangeland will also have developer commentary and an “annotation mode” to help explain references and metaphors and such, if you want ’em. Writer Mark Yohalem has said it’s “a map from my childhood wonders and fears to adulthood’s responsibility, regret, and recognition” and that the artist put a lot of himself into it too, so I think they really want to be understood.

The project has taken a lot longer than once planned, and grown a lot more. Back in March 2018, Wormwood explained in a blog post that they’d had the idea in May 2017 for a shorter game built partially from scraps of other projects, both ongoing and abandoned. And then it grew. At that point in 2018, they said Strangeland was “nearly done”. Three years later, it’s about to come out.

Strangeland is coming to Windows via Steam and GOG on May 25th.

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