ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

Psychological horror game The Town Of Light will now haunt both the PC and Xbox One when it releases later this year. Set in pre-WWII Italy, the game explores themes of mental illness, approaching its heavy subject matter with rare sincerity.

Committed to historical accuracy, the developers have meticulously researched the period's psychiatric institutions and the often disturbing behavior exhibited within their hallowed halls. This rendering of real life events lends the game a deeply affecting eeriness, and you can get a sense of its stifling atmosphere in the trailer below:

The narrative is told through the eyes of a teenager who uncovers a grisly truth best left in the past:

12 March 1938. Renée, 16 years old, is ripped out of her world, locked up and deprived of everything. Her only fault was that she didn't know what her place in the world was. "A danger to herself and others and a cause of public scandal" wrote the police headquarters. The only horror you will find in this game is the truth: a blow to the solar plexus, much more intense than any supernatural presence.

Indeed, unfathomable horrors were rather commonplace in 20th century psych wards. For example, the Volterra Asylum in Tuscany locked up a 6-year-old orphan after he stole some food. Kept there for the vague purposes of ‘moral diagnosis,’ the man showed no signs of mental illness in his twenties, but nevertheless remained there under duress. So you can see, there's plenty of material to inspire a horror game like this.

It might be called The Town Of Light, but only darkness awaits inside. The game launches on PC on February 26 and is due to head to Xbox One later this year.

Do you want to play 'The Town Of Light'?

[Source: TTOL]


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