"Equinox: End of Days" is a third-person Investigative-thriller set in the 1960s in the Isles of Scilly, developed by a team of Second Year students studying at The University of Hertfordshire, UK.
Playing as farm-hand Edward Travellion, the player seeks to uncover the cause of a string of disappearances along the island's coast. Through interaction with NPCs, and exploration of the game's open world, the sinister truth is slowly revealed...
Robert Cooper / Project Lead & Environment: https://robertcooper.artstation.com/
Ryan Downton / Rigging & Animation: https://www.artstation.com/ryan_downton/
Robert Drysdale / Environment & Lighting: https://www.artstation.com/robertdrysdale
Lois Starkey / Character: https://www.artstation.com/lois_starkey
Curtis Vincent / Props: https://www.artstation.com/reme86
Josh Wakefield / Props & Environment: https://www.artstation.com/j-wake
The final trailer, released 17/05/2020.
Edward Travellion sits in a pub and plays blackjack with an old sailor who speculates about the cause of the recent disappearances, and their apparent link to the decrepit church and the sprawling labyrinth of mining tunnels beneath, long abandoned... Until now.
Upon investigating the decaying church, Edward stumbles upon the reality of the disappearances. A cult-like sect seeks to summon a malevolent sea monster from ancient Cornish folk tales, to purge society of its "sicknesses" and restore the lands to their natural state.
Once Edward reaches the missing people, the sacrificial ritual has already begun...
We used the pub environment seen at the beginning to help establish the 1960's time period, through the presence of an old cigarette machine and of course - smoking in pubs.
We also wanted to establish some of the story's context in this initial environment, through a missing person's poster, and relevant framed pictures depicting the church, its interior, and Cornish folk imagery of sea monsters.
The church interior intended to direct the player's attention towards the puzzle mechanic that would grant them entry to the tunnels below. Should the player play the three blood-smeared keys in the correct order, a secret entrance to the cultist hideout is opened. This of course is what the sailor is referring to when he mentions "people have been hearing the organ play, but nobody's been in that ruin for years..."
Upon entering the caves, the aesthetic of the levels shifts drastically from a realistic and muted colour palette to a high-contrast and garish environment with threatening red lighting, and flickering shadows, designed to unease the player.
This visual difference between the above-ground and below-ground environments serves as a reinforcement of the shift from normality to the super-natural and malevolent. The intensity of the environment ramps up alongside that of the gameplay and narrative.
Gameplay in the first part of the caves section is focused on stealth and collecting artefacts, both to learn about the cult and what they're doing, and to protect yourself - if and *when* it comes to that.
This fearsome monster is the harbinger of the game's tagline, the "End of Days" for many. Through sacrificial magic, the cult has succeeded in their attempt to bring to life their instrument of destruction. Will Edward be able to prevent it from being unleashed upon the Islanders?
The mysterious stranger in the pub warns that the people using the church to access the old tin mines are going to get hurt. But all is not as it seems, as his narration of Edward's discovery becomes more personal and sinister, until he announces that "humanity will be fixed, starting tonight - and no one will be stoppin' us."
Something that interested us about a cultist-like antagonist was the fact that they look just like anybody else. In our trailer we try to convey this by shifting the narration from an innocuous conversation with the main character, to a more omnipotent and threatening narration in which we discover that he is also one of the cultists you are seeing on screen.
Here are some more assets created by the team for this project.