Toronto-based indie Phantom Compass just announced its latest PC/Mac project, Dionysian Dream, a Greek drama game looking to explore social issues like alcohol abuse, familial estrangement, and sexual identity with a storyline that incorporates a real tragedy with an imagined dream world.

The 3D title is designed to teach both adult and teen players (at home or in classrooms) about the basics of Greek drama, as well as its relationship to current culture and society. It also brings in famous fictional characters as well as important playwrights, such as Euripedes and Sophocles, who will encourage players to compare and contrast their works and styles.

Phantom Compass hopes to make this the "game equivalent of a short film", at least as far as length is concerned, as players can expect to complete the experience in less than three hours.

“Dionysian Dream looks at historic Greek drama through a contemporary lens,” said the studio's founding director Tony Walsh, who you might recall briefly served as editor for this very blog! “We use the Euripides play ‘The Bacchae’ as a springboard to explore timeless social issue... We’re going places most games -- and gamers -- fear to tread.”

Dionysian Dream features an interesting mechanic in its Entheos Scale (pictured), a scale that measures the player's rationality or irrationality. The player's position on the scale (left or right) determines his or her range of possible actions, and is affected by factors like consuming alcohol, choosing certain responses with NPCs, and wearing masks.

Every character in the game wears masks that help identify important figures in the game from lesser ones. Phantom Compass also says this will "help to give the player an other-worldly feeling, as they won't be interacting with actual faces, but stylized representations." masks can also be collected throughout the game.

Phantom Compass invites gamers, dramatic arts enthusiasts, and academics to follow the game's development through the project's official site. Dionysian Dream is scheduled to ship in the third quarter of 2009.