Frogwares, the team behind the Sherlock Holmes adventures and The Sinking City, announces their next game – Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is a third-person, open-world story-driven detective thriller and acts as a prequel in the world-renowned detective’s personal story. A creative re-imagining of what events could have led to Sherlock becoming the iconic sleuth many know today.
Reimagining An Icon: Story and Setting
“This time around we wanted to be more creative with the story we told and found an idea that hasn’t really been touched on by other adaptations – Sherlock’s “first big case” as a young 21 year old adult. He is Sherlock at his core, but at this point he’s more raw talent than refined genius. Reckless and impatient and a tad brazen, but unknowingly already on the path to greatness.” says Antonina Melnykova, Lead Narrative Designer
“Same with the location. We wanted to try something different to the all too familiar murky Victorian era London. While still set in the 19th century, we’re now exploring an isolated, sun-scorched Mediterranean inspired island where class divides and corruption are the foundations of this society. This is where our Sherlock spent his childhood. And now as a young adult, he is forced to return here and uncover the hazy truth behind the death of his mother – a loss that shattered his childhood many years ago and forced his move to London. And like always, Sherlock is not alone in his adventures. Before he befriended John Watson, Sherlock had a different best friend, Jonathan, and their relationship will be the central part of our game.”
“While we’re getting more creative with the backstory of Sherlock, fans of the series and character can rest assured we’re sticking close to the source material to keep it cohesive. Most people have a firm view of who Sherlock is. Our story isn’t about changing that, but rather exploring how he could have come to be this way, exploring ideas right down to how he acquired his penchant for the violin, his distinct hat and even his addiction to drugs.”
A New Take on Investigation and Combat
On top of a fresh story and setting, the game is built around what the team are calling their “Global Investigation System”. Heavily updated from the approach taken in The Sinking City of “no hand holding” gameplay, this new system is intended to go even further and give players much more freedom in solving cases in a way that feels like genuine detective work.
“The Global Investigation system is mainly about having players rely more on their intuition and case solving skills. Clues in Chapter One are acquired and analysed through a massive array of skills, tricks, tools and methods at Sherlock’s disposal. Since there are so many combinations, players will need to really think things through like a detective since brute forcing clues together until the game reacts isn’t going to be very effective.” says Yaroslav Martyniuk, Lead Feature Designer
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One also features a combat system and utilizes Sherlock’s legendary observation skills rather than brute force combat.
“We looked closely at the fan and press feedback we got from The Sinking City and previous Sherlock games. This feedback defines the features in Chapter One: investigation, story, combat, exploration etc. For example, the combat system in Chapter One has been built completely from scratch, and many other mechanics are undergoing changes / improvements to make the game pace better overall.”
Planned Release and Platforms
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One will be a complete game, developed and self-published entirely by Frogwares in Unreal Engine 4. The game is currently set to release sometime in 2021 and will be available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and next-gen consoles.