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Martha Is Dead - What We Know So Far

"Martha is Dead," an upcoming indie adventure from developer LKA and publisher Wired Productions, transports players back to Italy's Tuscany region in 1944. Amidst the mounting horrors of World War II, the body of a "drowned and desecrated" woman surfaces. Staggered by the loss, her twin sister is left to unravel the mystery of her sibling's brutal murder, all while contending with her personal demons and the pitfalls of local superstition and folklore.

Fans of psychological horror might recognize LKA from the studio's previous release, "The Town of Light," which takes place in Italy in the early 20th Century. LKA and Wired celebrated the title's fifth anniversary in late February. With a Metacritic score ranging from 60-67, "The Town of Light," had a mixed reception. The developers seem eager to build on that foundation, using what they learned to deliver an examination of loss and psychological distress that unfolds during one of the darkest times in humanity's history. This experience comes to life using Unreal Engine 4, with LKA and Wired promising reality-bending visuals that take full advantage of next-gen features and capabilities.

If you're itching to turn back time and solve a murder, here's what you should know about "Martha is Dead."

What is the release date for Martha is Dead?

Wired Productions revealed "Martha is Dead" back in October 2019. While it provided scant details about the story, the announcement highlighted the title's visual selling points, including "advanced texturing techniques alongside full support for real-time ray tracing." Photo-realism and blurring the boundaries between real-life and video games have remained key tenets throughout the "Martha is Dead" marketing campaign. Though Wired and LKA have yet to provide a release date, a press release (via Gamasutra) confirmed that players will have the opportunity to put the game's visuals and performance to the test at some point in 2021.

Beyond the impending launch, more good news has come to light regarding "Martha is Dead." Following a mid-2020 report from IGN that only confirmed "Martha is Dead" for release on PC and Xbox Series X, LKA expanded the list of available platforms to include PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. While "The Town of Light" eventually came to Switch, LKA's focus on "the raw power of PC and next-generation consoles" appears to suggest that "Martha is Dead" won't make the same leap, possibly due to the limitations of Nintendo's handheld-console hybrid.

Is there a trailer for Martha is Dead?

Wired Productions and LKA have shared a variety of "Martha is Dead" trailers ranging from an Announcement Teaser to cinematic clips and the PlayStation reveal. Most recently, the team showed off just under a minute of pre-alpha footage at the Future Games Show Spring Showcase under the heading "Flesh Flies." There's nothing ominous about that title at all.

Flesh Flies sets up the emotionally fraught narrative and eerie setting you'll encounter in "Martha is Dead" through a rapid succession of scene changes and voiceover. You see a closeup of the titular Martha's corpse before the focus shifts to various shots of Tuscany interspersed with disturbing imagery. Dead cows, a dark forest, and a presumably deceased man missing both legs and surrounded by a swarm of flies all make an appearance. The trailer also offers multiple glimpses of what appears to be a dark-haired, female ghost wearing a white dress. Is this Martha's specter or something else entirely?

While "The Town of Light" did not include any "zombies or supernatural presences," the footage unveiled so far suggests "Martha is Dead" could be headed in a different direction.

What is the gameplay like in Martha is Dead?

In 2020, IGN provided over 14 minutes of exclusive "Martha is Dead" gameplay, giving prospective buyers an in-depth look at the title's mechanics and narrative design. The reveal consists of pre-alpha footage and touches on "The Lake," "The Body," and "The Mine," the first three chapters of "Martha is Dead." Similar to other adventure games, you have multiple locations to explore, characters to meet, and objects to interact with as you puzzle out the truth of your sister's death and wrestle with your own sanity. LKA has also included a map and quest trackers to help guide you on your journey.

While "Martha is Dead" shares common ground with other adventure titles and physcological thrillers, LKA maintains that its photorealistic visuals and other complex elements set the project apart — even from "The Town of Light." "We believe Martha Is Dead makes great strides in gameplay, adding unique aspects not seen in the genre," studio head Luca Dalcò told GamesRadar+. "The game will still explore the human mind, but with a more artistic approach, frequently suspending reality and creating symbolically powerful abstract scenes."

IKA has presented "Martha is Dead" as its most ambitious project yet. While it doesn't include an open-world setting, players can move between the different areas on foot or bicycle without running up against loading screens. By leveraging next-generation technology, the developers hope to make "Martha is Dead" one of 2021's most immersive, realistic, and unsettling games.