September #3: TENNYSON

How in an unholy month of moons did we get to the end of this sprint already?! Well, first things first. We had An Announcement this week:

Write it in your diaries! Mark it on your almanacs! Fix this brass alignment on your tarnished astrolabes! This is when our Dancer DLC releases, in just over ten days (😱). If you’re not already, follow us on Steam – I think you’ll get a ping when the DLC’s live.

The Dancer DLC will release at 11AM PDT / 7PM UK-time and is $2.99 / £2.50 / €2.39 or FREE if you own Perpetual Edition.

I quite possibly set the price too low here but let’s see how we go. If you see us eating dust and living in a tent in six months’ time, take pity on ur poor occult developers.


We also won our second prize this sprint, which was totally unexpected and totally delightful. Forward Ladies, a women in biz org, inexplicably gave us one of their Start-Up of the Year awards! Everyone else I met at the ceremony was, like, ‘My name is Tamara and I own nine crisp factories’, or ‘I am Esme and I have built a £12mil-turnover biz in two weeks from laying cables in the sea’. Enter us, saying ‘Hi I’m Lottie I make text-based games about cults’. Crickets; tumble-weed; the oddly appropriate ticking of some giant, distant clock.

Those of you who subscribe to our newsletter will have already heard of our woeful awards tale, but suffice it to say that we do not go to awards ceremonies with any real sense we’re going to win. Anyway, we did! Yay!

Now, on to actual development work, you SLAVE-DRIVERS.

Alexis finished off romance and is finishing rivals today. Romance is dastardly with a surprisingly sugary finish (I wrote a v smol amount of the content! Alexis says my writing is ‘noticeably more feminine’ and then returns to his study to idk hew some rocks with a raw steak 💪). The design he’s settled on is elegant, especially when romancing your Followers comes with a natural minefield:

  • how do you ensure your cultists have consent, when the system’s set up to let the player pull the levers?
  • how do you write convincingly apophenic romance scenes, when you never specify your gender or preferences? cf all of Alexis’s previous work.
  • how do you mechanically fit trysts, lover’s tiffs and (this is CS, after all) romantic tragedies into the overall schema and balance of the game? We had to cannibalise the Season of Serenities for the Season of Ardours, for example.


Well, Alexis bloody went and did it cos he’s dreamy. I’m a big fan of the final design, and I hope you will be, too.

Above table level, Victor is a perfect gentleman. The hand he keeps above the table is placed palm upwards. A moth lands on the outstretched palm: he closes his hand to crush it. ‘Good memories,’ he says. ‘Let’s go.’


Rivals are… well, YOU BRING THEM ON YOURSELVES, shall we say. It introduces a new way to lose, because there weren’t enough of those in Cultist already. More significantly, it also introduces some new problems to manage as you scrabble not only to achieve your own desires but to do so quickly enough that your traitorous underling doesn’t achieve their ascension earlier.

Or you could just send a Hint after them, I guess.

Finally, some consequences to horrible staff management.

The Dancer DLC will come with a bunch of new achievements – some for Dancer-only ascensions, then a whole nother 21 cheevos for each of your romanceable Followers. Good luck with that.

Phew! All that’s missing now is that new, shiny art to replace all those placeholder images. Lemme just go find our artist and throttle her for leaving it so late.

In the meantime, Chris Payne‘s been setting up the back-end of localisation, now that our Russian and Chinese translations are largely complete. These won’t be out for another while because we’re getting the translations double-checked by a second set of eyes. This isn’t remotely a slight to our translators, who have worked their multilinguistical butts off for us. But as you know, Cultist’s language is pretty complex and we want to make sure its translation is as bug-free and elegant as possible.

Next sprint is, obviously, DANCER LAUNCH WOO! It’s also our next design stream, so let us know if you have any Cultist-related things you’d like Alexis to elucidate. And if you are a long-view sort of person, haffalook at our roadmap to see further down the road.

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