There are collections of Lovecraft-inspired work from just about every creative medium. Why not video games? There’s a big audience for Lovecraftian games, with relatively little talent to satisfy them with authentic, innovative contributions. Following my success releasing an adapted Lovecraftian visual novel (VN) on Steam, I’ve decided to develop the world’s first Lovecraftian game anthology/anthology game. Tales of the Necronomicade.

Long story short, I’m looking for talented writers from diverse backgrounds who aren’t afraid to defy, deconstruct or otherwise redefine the usual Lovecraftian tropes. I’m taking submissions of scripts between 500 and 2000 words, the five best of which will be developed into separate episodes of a game series like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and I’m paying at least $20 for each one I accept.

What will this game look like?

I’m making the game in the same engine I developed for The Whisperer in Darkness.

To give you an idea of the capabilities of the engine, there’s a Let’s Play series in 4 parts, or I can send you a code to play the game on Steam for yourself if you send me an email.

The engine at present is most well-suited to linear story experiences composed of text, audio, and static imagery. However, I’m open to expanding its capabilities if you come up with a script creative enough.

What will you get if your submission is accepted?

  • $20 or more up-front
  • Your name featured prominently with a writing credit
  • Your work will be made playable with illustrations, atmospheric sound effects, and music.
  • I’ll handle translating the game into multiple languages, putting your work in front of an international audience
  • Free Steam/itch.io codes for you and 20 other friends to play all 5 episodes as they are released

And if it’s not accepted?

  • I promise you my constructive feedback on your script, and suggestions if I think it’s worth revising to submit again.

What’s the deadline?

I’ll be accepting 5 scripts one at a time as I implement and release the episodes over the course of (optimistically) the next 6 months, completing the series in December or early 2018. Submissions are welcome until I accept the script for episode 5, at which point I’ll update this page.

I hope to release Episode 1 by the end of August.

What will your script look like?

Format

Here’s a sample script for you to look at.

  • First-person narration only, unless your script heavily involves player choices, in which case second-person is acceptable.
  • If possible, don’t tie important elements of the story to the race or gender identity of the main character. This way those elements can be left open to the player’s choice to be more inclusive.
    • On the other hand, if you want to explore experiences from a more unique/marginalized perspective, feel free to write all the queer POC you want! We are not here to celebrate Lovecraft’s default white male scholar as a convention worth keeping.

Tone and content

I want this anthology to transcend the limits of Lovecraftian fiction: more diversity of characters, locations, and ideas. Show me Lovecraftian deconstruction and/or parody. Stories about the Eldritch interacting with the 21st century. Some of my craziest suggestions:

  • Our anti-capitalist hacker tries to take down a megacorp only to discover their network is deeper and more insidious than she could have imagined: the “invisible hand” is really an extra-dimensional Eldritch abomination left to wreak havoc on the economy, unleashed by cult-allied lobbyists
    • Reference material: Android Netrunner and the fan-made Twine game, Why I Run
  • Deconstructing the radicalization of the American white male: “A Boy and his Shoggoth,” the player character keeps listening to his pet alien and decoding more and more of the thoughts it shares with him, coming either to accept its hatred or to the hideous realization that it must be stopped (if it’s not too late).
    • Reference material: A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison
  • Does the Lovecraftian thesis of “cosmic indifferentism” apply to your personal experience of the world? Maybe the intersections of race and gender discrimination make your world less “indifferent” and more “literally trying to kill you.”
    • Reference material: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle is a great exploration of this from the perspective of a black man
  • A Her Story style investigation game, where the player unravels a dark mystery either by perusing volumes in a library or clicking links to follow the trail of a conspiracy theorist’s blog
  • Invert Lovecraft’s otherization of non-white people by making white people the aliens. After the destruction of Earth a family of humans has nowhere to take refuge besides an alien planet whose eldritch society only reluctantly accepts them. There are some aliens, however, who believe humans do not deserve to live among them.
    • Reference material: The new Planet of the Apes movies, The Alchemy Wars trilogy by Ian Tregillis
  • Deconstruct Lovecraft’s generic madness trope by portraying realistic mental illness in a Lovecraftian world. It takes special help to live with hideous secrets… The Eldritch Therapist?
    • Reference material: Gravity Falls season 2 episode 7 (Society of the Blind Eye). Rorschach in therapy: Watchmen Chapter 6 (“The Abyss Gazes Also”).
  • Mashup Lovecraft with other titans of horror. Cronenberg meets Lovecraft in a satire of Lovecraft’s views on eugenics: The superior Old Ones put Lovecraftian eugenics into practice on human prisoners, spawning stronger, eviler, twisted and horrifying people
    • Reference material: Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, Rick and Morty season 1 episode 6 (Rick Potion No. 9)

Comedy is welcome, although I want to keep grimness and existential commentary present at all times. Some of the satires I’ve described could go either way—lean towards the macabre, not the farcical.

For the most part, I want to keep things simple and linear, within the existing limits of the game engine I have. If you are dying to write something that pushes these limits, send me an email. That could be something like:

  • A hidden object game where the cult leader can’t find the tome she needs, and has to sort through the accumulated occult junk of her house and trying not to trigger the many malign spells which abound (Hoarders meets Gone Home meets Jumanji)
  • A traditional parser-based text adventure like The Lurking Horror but with illustrations!

I’m open also to adapting existing works myself, if they are good enough. If you own the IP to previous fiction, poetry, or art that you think fits the vision here, maybe it can appear in the anthology made interactive like The Whisperer in Darkness!

Does it have to be edgy and political?

No. Well, edgy, yes—isn’t all Lovecraft meant to be edgy?—and everything’s got a hidden agenda. Bottom line is, make it good.

What does your submission look like?

Email me your document script using the link below and fill out the missing details:

Submit here

Artists

Each episode is going to need its own guest artist! If you’d be interested, send me a portfolio:

Submit here

As I accept each script, I’ll go over the artists who’ve applied, and other artists who I think would be perfect for that individual story. We’ll discuss payment on a case-by-case basis.