Saturnalia, a little known Italian gem of a game


Italy is a beloved scenery for many famous video games, starting from Assassin’s Creed through parts of Final Fantasy XV, and many more: Final Fight 2, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Steep, Gran Turismo, Hitman, Silent Assassin… These are not Italian games, though. Does this mean that Italy as a country does not love to play? Quite the contrary. Take a tour of, and you will see that you have a great destination for casino gaming there. As for classical video games, the Italian productions may not be blockbusters, but they are definitely worth discovering.

The fans of Santa Ragione, a small Italian indie studio, are waiting for this original and created team’s new gem. Announced on the Epic Games store for Q4, 2020, Saturnalia is a survival horror adventure. The game is co-produced with the board game design studio Horrible Guild and published by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild for both Windows and Mac.

Welcome to Sardinia, on Dec 21st, 1989, the winter solstice. You are not in one of the famous seaside resorts well known by tourists, but in an isolated village in the hinterland. Here a group of strangers tries to survive in the labyrinth of narrow streets. They need to team up and cooperate, trying to understand the functioning of an ancient and mysterious ritual. The game’s title echoes the ancient festivities from Roman times, when the god Saturn was celebrated from Dec 17th to 23rd. In Sardinia, the winter festival had much more ancient roots, in pre-roman archaic agricultural and pastoral traditions.

The Saturnalia videogame is based on a procedural open world, with roguelite exploration: characters act as lives; you play them one by one until they all die. At every character’s death, the village’s labyrinth structure changes, but some elements are preserved. You need to manage resources and light (a box of matches is all you are given at the beginning) to survive by exploring and solving puzzles and remembering your paths to safety.

The levels are layered; you need to discover shortcuts back to important areas of interest. Since characters are gone for good once they die, the game has multiple endings because each character’s “permadeath” influences the final outcome. The village structure changes at each game over. The game has a non-linear progression with an adaptive narrative. Visuals and sounds are inspired by the untapped folklore and mysterious archaic culture of the hinterland of Sardinia.

Santa Ragione brought together a top-level team of creatives to develop Saturnalia. The writers are Chris Remo (Firewatch and Half-life: Alyx), Nick Breckon (The Walking Dead), and Jake Elliot (Kentucky Route Zero). The look of the game is provided by Mike Ferraro, well known for his work on the Adam series built in Unity. The Italian part of the team includes Lorenzo Silva, Nicolo Sala, and Federico Corbetta Caci to provide music, design, and animation. A new entry in the role of the game designer is Marta Gabas, a well-known set designer who scouted locations in Sardinia and created the perfect atmosphere for the game.




Adam is the owner of BC-GB, find him on Twitter. BC-GB is the place to get CSGO tips, news and blog.

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