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Cthulhu Chronicles: Interview with Artist E. Mali Ware

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 24th Aug 2018

E. Mali WareCTHULHU CHRONICLES, the official Call of Cthulhu interactive fiction game, was launched by our friends MetaArcade last month. We talked to artist E. Mali Ware about the game:

Q: Tell us about Cthulhu Chronicles

Cthulhu Chronicles is a mobile adaptation of the classic RPG Call of Cthulhu. It's basically like a choose your own adventure book with skill checks and the option of playing through the stories as different characters.

The beauty of it is that if you have a spare minute while you're waiting for the bus you can play through a story on your phone and get immersed in the world of the Cthulhu mythos without needing any prior experience with the RPG.

Q: What was your role in Cthulhu Chronicles?

I was hired to do some of the artwork for the game. I did the six playable characters, a handful of the environments, and a few other characters and monsters you encounter throughout the game.

Cthulhu Chronicles Characters

Q: What is the process for creating art for Cthulhu Chronicles?

I was given little briefs about each of the characters/environments/monsters I was going to be painting with basic information. For example with the characters it was stuff like age, race, occupation, general demeanor etc. I then provided the folks at MetaArcade with a rough colored sketch for each painting, to give them a general idea about the composition and color schemes I'd chosen. From there I would continue painting while incorporating any feedback they may have had for me. It was great working with a team who gave me honest feedback about the pieces so that together we could figure out the right art for the game. The last step was sending in a work in progress right before I was about to add any final details just to double check that things were looking right.

Q: What is your favourite Cthulhu Chronicles adventure, and why? What is your favourite piece of art?

I think my favourite adventure is the sixth, The Good Professor

Spoilers ahead: I enjoyed the set up of being in a creepy house that appears to be deserted only to find that horrible things await you in the basement. That story also includes my favorite piece of art that I did for the game: The fake Professor Leiter calmly waiting for you in the basement. I'm always a sucker for a good villain, so getting to paint her was a treat and I love how that part of the campaign turned out. I really liked how she goes from being an ally to being the person we encounter in The Good Professor.

Q: What got you in to art and illustration?

I had always been the kind of kid who would doodle on the borders of notebooks in school. My older cousin did a lot of sketching too and I always wanted to be as good as she was. Later in high school I had an art teacher who basically told me I shouldn't draw people because I wasn't very good at it. This critique made me determined to improve my skills and I began to teach myself the necessary skills to draw the things I saw in my mind. A short time after that I decided that I wanted to turn my hobby (/obsession) into a profession.

Q: How did you get into Lovecraft and the Mythos before this project?

My first reaction to this question is that I feel like in a way the Mythos has always been around in the back of my mind. However upon further reflection I realized that I probably encountered paintings and drawings of Cthulhu and other Great Old Ones in my early days online. I used to spend a lot of time on art sites, looking for images that inspired me. I have vague memories of paintings of hulking monstrosities looming in murky water and eventually I think I picked up on the Mythos through pop culture references. I've always really loved the art I've seen revolving around the Mythos, even though (or maybe because?) the ocean-related ones especially terrify me.

Artstation link: https://www.artstation.com/blackdistraction

Cthulhu Chronicles

What is Cthulhu Chronicles?

Cthulhu Chronicles is an interactive fiction game for mobile devices, adapted from Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG. So far, 9 adventures have been released, which tie together into a single 'Adventures in Lovecraft Country' campaign. You have 6 characters to choose from when playing, and each has different attributes and backstories that affect how the game unfolds.

The story is set in 1920s Massachusetts within the Cthulhu Mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft. Players grapple with safety and sanity in a world of ever-encroaching horrors.

Cthulhu Chronicles is currently available on iOS, with an Android version in development.