Strange Company`s Director, Hugh Hancock, died in 2018. Strange Company is no longer a registered Company. This site is part of his body of work, and as such it is hosted and maintained by a group of volunteers and as an archive of his work. A comprehensive list of the works being archived can be found here. If you have any problems with the site, please report them using this form.

Latest News From Hugh

Left-Hand Path (Souls-like horror/RPG) Exiting Early Access November 10 with Story Mode and more!

After a year and a half of development in Early Access, I’m proud to announce that my VR horror/RPG Left-Hand Path is coming to its 1.0 release out of Early Access on November 10 2017 - with a whole pile of improvements and new features!

(If you’re not aware of Left-Hand Path: it’s a Dark Souls inspired VR horror/rpg where you learn spells and cast them by drawing runes in the air. It’s also one of the rare full-length games in VR, totaling around 15 hours of gameplay.)

I’ve worked for six months after completing the story and content of Left-Hand Path primarily on polish - that’s what this release focuses on. But it’s also got a bunch of new features in it, including the long-awaited Low Terror mode!

Changes from the Early Access version include:

  • Massive graphical improvements including a total overhaul of all spell effects, improved lighting that keeps the atmosphere but improves visibility, a new Grimoire, and more.
  • Low-Terror Mode - allows people who love RPGs but don’t love being scared out of their wits to play Left-Hand Path with seriously reduced terror, including much more visibility and adjusted monster placement and effects.
  • Story Mode - want to experience the story and the world of Left-Hand Path without banging your head against Dark Souls-like difficulty? This mode’s for you.
  • Tutorial - lots of people said that the Early Access version was a little hard to get into. So a new introduction area now teaches you the basics of spellcasting and ritual, as well as filling out a bit more of Left-Hand Path’s story.
  • Locomotion overhaul - I’ve gone through every area in Left-Hand Path and improved locomotion, as well as overhauling the locomotion system in general. If you prefer locomotion to teleporting you’ll find the 1.0.0 release a much smoother experience!
  • Sound effect improvements - including foley effects for almost every object in the game.
  • Return To Previous Zones - when you’ve defeated the greatest challenges in each area in the Well, you can now return there to find spells and story you missed.
  • Destructive Power - your spells aren’t just dangerous to creatures any more! You can destroy most things in the game with arcane power, and sometimes that’ll be useful in your journey.
  • New Ritual Of Husks - Find objects of meaning throughout the world of Left-Hand Path, and leech their treasured - or horrifying - memories dry for power.
  • Many, many, many bug fixes - I wouldn’t be surprised if the bug fix list is in the thousands of bugs. It’s certainly well into the hundreds. From difficult-to-navigate areas to weird spell interactions, I’ve been on a fixing frenzy. (Big thanks to the many Redditors who contributed to this, as well as my crack beta-testing team).

The release version of Left-Hand Path will be available at 11am on the 10th of November - British time, in case you’re wondering.

See you there!

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Samael and Xanadu released for Left-Hand Path. Up to 15 hours of gameplay now!

I’m very pleased to announce the official release of Left-Hand Path’s final two areas, Samael and Xanadu. Between them and the rest of Left-Hand Path, they bring the game’s total play time in VR up to around 15 hours!

They’re part of the 0.7.0 release which is now live!

(If you’re not aware of Left-Hand Path: it’s a Dark Souls inspired VR horror/rpg where you learn and cast spells by drawing runes in the air. You can buy it from Steam here - it’s currently on the Steam Sale at 16% off.)

What’s In This Release?

This is a huge patch with:

  • Two new areas, Samael and Xanadu, totalling around 5 hr of play time!
  • 6 completely new enemies to confound and murder you.
  • 5 new spells and rituals.
  • A complex interleaved plot and brutal ultimate antagonist to overcome in Samael.
  • New, powerful talents to choose to aid your path through the Well.
  • The end of the Left-Hand Path story, complete with fully-voiced and motion-captured NPC interactions.
  • Quality-Of-Life improvements including health recovery at new heads and run option on locomotion.

Don’t Want To Play Gamichicoth again?

If you’ve played Left-Hand Path before and don’t want to get through all the content again to experience the new stuff, there’s a way to get straight to the new bit.

It’s explained on the Steam announcement page, here:


We’re still in Early Access, so it’s possible you’ll encounter some bugs. Please let me know if you do!

On very low-end systems near minimum spec, I’m aware of one performance bug related to unusually long play times. If you find your system starting to lag badly, get yourself killed or restart Left-Hand Path once you hit a Screaming Head. That will completely reset the lag. I’m looking into this bug actively, and please do let me know if it affects you.

I’m still actively developing, tuning and polishing as I move toward full 1.0 release, so all bug reports greatly appreciated.

And That’s It

This patch is probably the most ambitious one in Left-Hand Path, and it’s been a long slog of six months to get it out there.

If you’d like to discuss the game with other players, feel free to jump on the Steam forums, or I’ve started a discussion of the latest patch over on Reddit’s /r/vive subreddit:

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Gamichicoth is LIVE! 5hr of new story and gameplay.

Yes, I’m very pleased to announce that the massive Gamichicoth update for Left-Hand Path is now available.

Here’s the release trailer:

The Gamichicoth update adds around 5 hours of gameplay. Yes, you did read that right.

In fact, combined with the content already in Left-Hand Path, I think this makes Left-Hand Path the longest single-player narrative (i.e. not wave-based) dedicated Vive game available at around 9-10 hours total play time.

Here’s more detail on what you’ll encounter in the streets, tunnels and caves of Gamichicoth:

  • 5 hours of play time spread over 6 distinct areas, from a haunted, ramshackle town to silent docks filled with lethal opponents.
  • A completely new, fully-voiced story.
  • Motion-captured, lipsynched characters to interact with - using the same mocap technology as used on the Avengers movies, fact fans!
  • Continuation of the overarching Left-Hand Path story too, as you follow Elena’s progress through the Well…
  • 9 new antagonists, one of which literally left my number 1 playtester shaking after his first encounter with it.
  • 4 separate “boss” fights, including the hardest battle of Left-Hand Path to date. I was covered in sweat after I finished its final playtest yesterday.
  • 3 new spells and two new rituals to learn, use to obliterate your opponents and occasionally die in the process of casting. Did I mention that magic in Left-Hand Path is not necessarily safe?
  • New Staff System - upgrade your staff with new, powerful alternatives that change the way you play.
  • New talents as you gain in power. The Screaming Heads have new abilities for you to pay for with dead things’ flesh, giving you greater power and new ways to use existing spells.
  • Arachnophobe-friendly Mode Really, REALLY can’t handle spider-type enemies? Don’t worry. There’s also a spider-creature-free mode to play - although it’s still pretty terrifying.

To reflect the fact that Left-Hand Path has more than doubled in size, the price of the game has increased to $24.99. (People who already have Left-Hand Path get Gamichicoth and all future updates before full release for free.) I’m still planning to add two more areas before full release, and anyone who buys now will get access to them too when they come out.

The price will probably increase one more time before full release to reflect those new areas: if you buy it now you’ll get them for free, of course..

Or if you already have Left-Hand Path, you can access the new area from the gate behind the final boss in Sathariel, which used to lead to The End.

(If you really, really don’t want to fight the final boss of Sathariel again, contact me and I’ll tell you the Secret Way to get to Gamichicoth without having to do that.)

I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think. Please do feel free to contact me on Reddit (PM or comment - ), on Twitter, or on the Steam discussion forums - and if you enjoy it, please do leave a Steam review too! This is still an Early Access title and I’m a one-man band, so there may be some bugs - contact me if you hit any and I’ll get ‘em fixed!

As always after I do a launch, I’m going to be hammering F5 for the next couple of days so that I catch any early issues.

Thanks, enjoy, and try not to go through too many pairs of underwear on your way into the depths of Gamichicoth…

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Left-Hand Path, my Dark Souls inspired, wizardry-based room-scale VR RPG, is coming next week!

Yep, it’s coming soon - June 20th, to be exact!

Cast spells, perform rituals, learn terrible truths and try not to die in this Dark Souls-inspired roomscale RPG.

You awaken in a darkened castle – or is it something else? – full of dangerous creatures, a history of tragedy, and arcane powers that you can wield. From there, you’ll delve into the weird landscape of the Well Of All Rewards…

The store page and trailer are now both live at

Exciting times!

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Now Available: Left-Hand Path, a Dark Souls-inspired Roomscale RPG

About a month ago, the HTC Vive VR headset arrived on my doorstep.

I was very busy at the time finishing off a film and developing a 2D RPG, but I thought I’d play with it for an evening anyway.

Approximately 2 hours later, I emerged, and said “holy crap, this is the future.”

I put all projects aside from the film (released a week later as Dangerous Treasures), and decided to focus on VR exclusively for the indefinite future.

(I also drilled not one but two holes in my office wall so that I could run the Vive through into a larger room for more room-scale space.)

And a month later, I have an alpha test version of a Dark Souls-inspired RPG for the Vive, with the current working titles of either “Magic Of The Dark” or “The Left-Handed Path” depending on which one I think sounds cooler at the time.


It’s not ready to come out yet, but it will be soon-ish. When It’s Done.

It’s a dark RPG inspired by a crossover between Dark Souls (mood, level design, combat, leveling system) and Amnesia (storytelling style, general pants-wetting terror), with a heavy dose of my own couple of decades writing fantasy for the screen and pen-and-paper games.

Probably the biggest stand-out feature is the magic system, which you control by drawing magical symbols in the air, and the ritual magic system, which involves a full-on “light candles, draw protective circles, invoke the spirits, cast toward appropriate cardinal points” system. I really want to make you feel like a wizard (Harry), and I think it’s succeeding.

Having spent the last half hour debugging the ritual magic system in my upcoming VR game, I can conclusively say the unnamed protagonist of “Kubla Khan” got off easy only having to weave a circle around him thrice. I’ve had to weave this bloody circle about 35 times now and it’s still buggy. - Me on Facebook yesterday.

So far, I’ve succeeded in causing multiple people to leap across the room, muttered “coooooool” under my breath many many times during development, and accidentally gotten a zombie in the face once. Fun story.

So yes. No images or video yet (Monday, maybe), but it’s coming, it’s coming soon, and it’ll make you feel like a dark, scary, possibly-undead wizard.

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Raft Game - A New RoomScale VR Experiment

It’s time for another VR experiment!

RaftGame is a rafting sim - as simple as that. Paddle frantically around a course, try and get the best possible time, and don’t capsize (it is possible, trust me).

This is a very minimal VR experiment - to a full-fledged indie game as Valve’s “Lab” experiments are to their full game releases.

However, if you like it, I’ll definitely be looking to develop it into a full-fledged VR game for Vive initially and Oculus Rift when Touch comes out. So do let me know if you’d like to see that!

Basic usage instructions:

  • You start off in the middle of the lake. To paddle, just stick your oar in the water and, well, paddle!

  • If you get beached, turned over, or otherwise stuck, press the Menu button to restart the experience.

  • The Lap Timer starts when you go under the Start bridge, and keeps on going until you get to the End bridge.

  • You CAN paddle through the raft. That’s a feature not a bug - otherwise I found that those of us with smaller roomscale setups tend to smash our Vive controllers off walls in an attempt to reach out and steer.

  • This is Roomscale for now, and Vive-only. You might be able to play it Standing too, not sure. Let me know if you try it!

Here’s the link to download it:

Download “Raft Game” For HTC Vive

And if you’d like to hear when I release future test projects (I’ve got a stealth game, a knife-fighting sim, a Dark Souls inspired RPG and more coming up), you can join my updates list. Updates are VERY infrequent, so don’t worry about too many messages coming through!

Find Out About Future VR Updates

Finally, I’d really love to hear what you think of “Raft Game”.

You can contact me on Twitter or Facebook, or join the discussion on Reddit or Hacker News.

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DOTAView for the HTC Vive - Test Roomscale VR Project

I recieved my HTC Vive roomscale VR device last week, and I’m phenomenally impressed. It’s a massive leap forward from the seated VR experiences of the Oculus Rift Developer Kits, and much closer to what I would consider “True” Virtual Reality.

As a result, I’ve immediately leaped into test development for it.

So here’s a small proof of concept: nothing complex, just a viewer for a few of Valve’s Dota 2 game models.

It’s interesting and impressive how well some of them, particularly Crystal Maiden and Antimage, work in the VR environment.

Download DOTAView for Vive v 0.1 here

Here’s a short video of the DOTAViewer in use:

Notes and instructions for use:

  • Touch the trackpad on either controller to preview a teleport move - a red sphere will appear where you’re going to teleport to.

  • Press the trackpad to teleport.

  • Note that this is ABSOLUTELY NOT a polished experience - this is a very early dev build by someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing :) Movement is shonky, teleport controls have bugs galore, and the framerate ain’t where I’d like it to be.

Things I’d like to improve:

  • I’d love to have the characters animated, but currently extracting animations from DOTA2 appears very hard. If you know how to do it, please contact me!

  • I’d also like to put the characters in an authentic DOTA2 environment with trees and so on. Again, can’t figure out how to do that with the current version of DOTA2. If you know, please contact me!

  • The Chaperone, at least on my version, was close to omnipresent. I’d like to tune it to only appear when you’re close to the edge of the play area, but couldn’t find the control to do so. Know? Again, please contact me.

  • Performance isn’t great. Not sure why. Will fix.

  • The locomotion currently is terrible. Fairly easy to fix - if I do a 0.2 that’ll be in there.

Let me know what you think! You can contact me on Twitter or Facebook, or join the discussion on Reddit or Hacker News.

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DANGEROUS TREASURES - An Action-Comedy Of Lovecraftian Horror And Frantic Googling.

DANGEROUS TREASURES is now available for worldwide viewing! Please share, like, and upvote!

These geeks think of themselves as 2016’s Indiana Jones. Too bad the thing they’ve awoken knew Cthulhu. Personally.

A story of Lovecraftian horror, frantic action, and deepweb forum culture.

If you enjoy DANGEROUS TREASURES, please retweet, share on Facebook or Google Plus, or upvote on YouTube! (Doing multiple things is even better!)

And please do join in the conversation about it on Reddit or Hacker News! I’ll update those links once they’re up.

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“Dangerous Treasures” Premiere Announcement!

If you’re at Conpulsion in Edinburgh tomorrow, you’ll be able to catch the World Premiere of my next film, “Dangerous Treasures”.

It’s premiering in the Middle Reading Room at the Teviot venue, 6:15pm.

Should be a great time!

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