Martha is Dead, the upcoming first-person psychological WW2 thriller from The Town of Light developer LKA, will require certain elements to be altered ahead of its release on PlayStation 4 and PS5, publisher Wired Productions has revealed. The PC and Xbox versions remain unaffected, however, and will release unedited at launch on 24th February.
Martha is Dead unfolds in Tuscany, 1944, against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between German and Allied forces; as its story begins, the body of a woman, Martha, is discovered by the side of a lake deep in the Italian countryside, and players – in the role of her twin sister – must deal with the repercussions of the murder, “all whilst the horror of war draws ever closer”.
It’s an experience that, like The Town of Light before it, seeks to ground its narrative – which LKA has previous referred to as a horror drama – using real locations and events; and also like The Town of Light, the developer is hoping to explore difficult themes with subtlety and nuance.
“Martha Is Dead doesn’t want to scare you as much as it wants to share its deep, painful story with you,” Eurogamer’s Vikki Blake reflected after seeing a small portion of the game last year. “Yes, it’s dark. Yes, it’s stuffed with mature themes and some deeply unsettling imagery… But none of that is as important as the central story of love and loss – the ‘serious trauma of losing someone you love’ – that lies at the heart of Martha Is Dead.”
Given that goal, and the positive reception that greeted The Town of Light’s exploration of mental health, it’s perhaps surprising to hear the developer will be required to alter its vision for Martha Is Dead on PlayStation consoles, albeit for reasons currently unknown.
“Martha is Dead is a narrative adventure recommended for adult audiences only, with play consisting of potentially discomforting scenes and themes that may distress some players,” publisher Wired Productions wrote in a lengthy statement announcing the changes to the PlayStation version on Twitter. “Both Wired Productions and LKA have always been open and honest about Martha Is Dead content, with the sensitive depictions in play consistently communicated to the media since the game was announced in 2019. The content is also flagged clearly and repeatedly within the game itself before play begins.”
“It is with regret that we have had to modify the experience on the PS5 and PS4 versions, with some elements no longer playable,” the publisher continues. “After over four years of passion and hard work, developer LKA now requires extra time to make these unplanned changes.”
Wired notes that while the developer will be able to make these adjustments in time for the PlayStation version’s digital release on 24th February, it will be need to delay Martha Is Dead’s planned physical release by “a small number of weeks” as a result of the required changes. Players purchasing the game on PC and Xbox, the publisher assures, will be unaffected, and the full unedited gameplay will be available on these platforms at launch.
In response to a query from Eurogamer, a spokesperson for Wired said it had nothing more to add regarding the nature of the edits or the reasoning behind their removal at present.