Yesterday, we got our first proper look at the upcoming psychological horror Martha is Dead from LKA. But, what do we actually know about this game? From the trailer alone, we have been granted a look at a dark, war-torn world. We are also given a look at the titular Martha, and part of her fate. An extra thing to note from the trailer is that we got also hints at some supernatural aspects coming into play (the lake walking scene).
So, what do we actually know about Martha is Dead?
Our story is set in Tuscany, a region of central Italy. The game takes place in 1944, in the midst of World War II. Allied and Axis forces are in full clash over Italy. You play as the twin sister of Martha, after Martha has been murdered. Unfortunately, Martha is more than just murdered. She is drowned and desecrated, completely defiled. After the discovery of the body, Martha’s parents spiral with grief and her twin sister Giulia is left to pick up the pieces. She must deal with her own feelings of loss and grief, as well as doing her best for her family.
The gameplay trailer also revealed more about the girl’s parents, and their inability to cope with the loss of their child. Another easter egg the gameplay trailer has given us is that Martha’s father is very possibly a German soldier. We see him asleep in a chair, beside the display of his daughter’s body. In this scene, the uniform he is wearing looks more historically akin to that of the Axis forces. This is where we will see the psychological aspects of this game shining through. At least, that’s my interpretation from everything we have seen so far.
On top of the heavy overall topic, and based on LKA‘s history with handing the psyche, this is going to be intense. The main trailer for the game actually showed some of what happened to Martha, and it is not for the faint of heart. Between the grizzly details of the murder and the parents treatment of their remaining daughter, it’s looking like we are going to get one of the most intense psychological experiences in gaming we have seen.
The horror queen’s interpretation
This is where we get to speculate a bit more. Between the main trailer and the gameplay trailer, I have some theories. The gameplay trailer shows us more of Martha’s family, and how her death is tearing them apart. We actually get to hear her parent’s insisting that it is not Martha who has been murdered, but instead was Giulia. That now, they must focus on Martha who is still alive. However we know from the title that Martha is in fact dead. So, what could this mean for Giulia?
Honestly, my mind has gone straight back to 1983, to weird horror b-movie Sleepaway Camp. Spoiler warning just in case. The movie follows Angela, the sole survivor of a boating accident that killed her father and brother. Angela is raised by her aunt with her male cousin. Well, shocker, Angela is not Angela. Roles reversed. Angela was the little boy, and it was his sister who died. However, his aunt’s already damaged psyche sends her into this weird state. She was also desperate for a daughter, but never had one. And hence we have the birth of Angela.
Hear me out here, just imagine this scenario. Imagine these parents, already struggling mentally with the war. Regardless of the side he’s fighting on, it has been established that their father is a soldier. So, dad’s a soldier, mom’s trying to hold the family together and then BAM. Their favourite daughter is murdered. Maybe Giulia and her parents didn’t get along? Maybe they had a falling out? What if Giulia’s father is in fact on the German side and they have been at each other’s throats over it? And what if Martha was the “perfect daughter”? This loss pushes their parents over the edge. Reality is twisted. Their precious Martha can’t possibly be dead! No, it MUST be Giulia, selfish Giulia. Precious Martha is still here and safe with them.
Imagine being that remaining twin, imagine being Giulia and having your parents INSIST you are not yourself, insisting that YOU are your dead sister. The thoughts of that alone creep me out. See where I’m going here? Even darker twists and turns because now we’ll have Giulia questioning her own identity, maybe until she hits her breaking point. Like poor Angela in Sleepaway Camp. But what will Giulia do at breaking point? Angela became a serial killer, but I cannot see that happening here. Especially considering this came is coming from LKA. That kind of twist would be way too cheesy for them. Way too b-movie. How will Giulia crumble? Will Giulia convince herself she IS Martha? What if the title is a play on the mind of gamers instead and we get a big twist? Find out at the very end it was actually Giulia murdered and you have been playing Martha all along?
Yes, I am aware these all sound like the ramblings of a mad woman.
A parting word for Martha is Dead
We already know from The Town of Light that LKA knows how to do psychological horror. They know how to do it WELL. Four years later, The Town of Light is still as disturbing as it was when it first released. Something else to note is that LKA has never been gratuitous with their depictions of mental health, abuse, violence, etc. They have always been respectful to the story they are telling and keeping things factual in that sense. Based on that, and what has already been revealed, I have no doubt in my mind that Martha is Dead will get the same treatment.
I have been following Wired Productions (the publishers) for a while now, and I have yet to be disappointed with any games they have published. They also handled publishing for The Town of Light, so I think we can also safely say Martha is Dead is in good hands. I don’t know about you, but I will be following this game’s development very closely. I am excited.