by Joseph Leray
“Malbolgia” is kind of ten-dollar word, but it comes to English courtesy of poet and consumate Florentine Dante Alighieri.
In the first part of his Divine Comedy, the “Inferno,” Dante sketches out the various levels of hell and describes which types of sinners, evil-doers, and malefactors go where. The eighth circle is called the Malebolge, a series a deep, dark trenches called malebolgia, in Italian.
This is relevant because Belgian indie developer Dascu Maru just released a trailer for a cel-shaded, third-person nightmare machine called “Malebolgia.” It’s not gory or disturbing or gruesome, but it is unrelenting in its textureless, low-poly aesthetic, its shadows, and its Gregorian chanting.
The chanting is what really does it for me: reverberating echoes of exorcisms, of eldritch succubi preying on weak human flesh, of the Inquisition.
According to the video’s description — Dascu doesn’t seem to have much an online presence, regrettably — “Malebolgia” is an action-adventure game set in a demonic fortress, inspired by Gothic literature and Dante’s previously-mentioned “Inferno.” In fact, I think Dascu is selling him- or herself short: a screen shot posted to his Twitter account shows some sort of uniformed officer reading the opening lines of Dante’s masterwork.
“Malebolgia” is being made in Unity and hopes to be released later this year. A Kickstarter campaign is the works to help pay for licensing fees and Dascu plans on setting up a Greenlight page. Here’s hoping “Malebolgia” has higher (or deeper) aspirations than some other Dante-related games out there.
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