Italian Indie Studio Santa Ragione partnered with the publisher The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, along with being co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, to create and release Saturnalia. Saturnalia is a historically Roman festival held from December 17th to December 23rd on the Julian calendar. Saturnalia eventually morphed into Christmas when the early church moved the festivities to December 25th and integrated more Catholic themes into the festivities.
Taking inspiration from the ancient holiday and having a Milan based developer, Saturnalia is a survival horror game that is naturally rooted in Italian culture, especially Sardinian culture as the game takes place in a rural village on the island of Sardinia, who carries over a lot of its ancient culture and is own dialect of Italian. Saturnalia kicks off when an ancient ritual that has been taken out over multiple generations starts to affect multiple playable characters in the game.
The rural village that the player is tasked to explore quickly becomes an ever-changing labyrinth and the players have to scrounge clues to solve various puzzles. There is one mechanic that is rare to the survival horror genre; once a character dies, that death is permanent. This roguelike mechanic influences the narrative of the story and the map gets randomly generated over again with every death. To fully discover all of the narrative or even all of the locations that are in Saturnalia, the player will need to replay the game a plethora of times.
The writing team consists of Chris Remo (Firewatch and Half-life: Alyx), Nick Breckon (The Walking Dead), and Jake Elliot (Kentucky Route Zero). Saturnalia will be coming out in the fourth quarter of 2020 and will be an Epic Games Store exclusive, but there are plans to bring the game to undisclosed platforms later on.