Sherlock Holmes Chapter One Announced, Launches 2021 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Next Gen Consoles

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One

Frogwares have announced a new Sherlock Holmes Game, an open-world prequel titled Sherlock Holmes Chapter One. (thanks RobotBrush, Wario64!)

While there has been no official word direct from Frogwares as of this time of writing, the game’s Steam Store page went live today. In an interview with Gamespot, they reveal that they are now self-publishing a prequel to Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter and Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

Frogwares explained to Gamespot that Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is partly inspired by The Sinking City, letting players explore an open world and meeting plenty of characters, while solving mysteries and donning disguises.

The team also reportedly learned from The Sinking City, and made Chapter One’s world (in Gamespot’s words) “smaller in scope by comparison, yet it is much denser, with more buildings to enter and more people to interact with.” Along with making the various interactions easier, players can use their disguises to blend into the cities’ various districts easier.

The game is set with Sherlock Holmes at 21, returning to his hometown on a Mediterranean island after his mother’s death. Alongside his companion Jonathan (not John Watson), Holmes soon finds a conspiracy across the island, and sets to solve it.

Community Manager Sergey Oganesyan told Gamespot how this game would explore Holmes’ character.

“What we want to do with Chapter One is that we want to explore this other side of the character, and how he became the great detective that we know. Our version of Sherlock is not a traditional character. He has this raw talent [for discovering the truth] that’s sort of untamed. He’s more arrogant, and much more volatile in this game compared to [other] versions. He has more fun playing with the truth, and he has no problem lying to somebody to get to the bottom of his investigation. But at the same time, he is still young. He will experience some of the things that a young man, 21 years of age, may not be ready to process in this game. This will have certain consequences on his character. Our goal is to show the events that will shape Sherlock as a great detective.”

Picking up yet more lessons from The Sinking City, Chapter One’s mysteries are open-ended, allowing clues and suspects to be uncovered and interacted with in whatever order you come across them.

This “Global Investigation” allows players to pursue a mystery from numerous angles, uncovering secrets that can end up feeding back into a mystery. Players can use their mind palace to sort the clues they have, and deduce how they all fit together.

Lead feature designer Yaroslav Martyniuk explained to Gamespot what the team focused on during development.

“The main principles that we try to instill and develop in our games is the investigation principle, where all the details, minor or otherwise, are presented to the player. So there are a lot of places in this city which contain different information on different matters. This can be used in the investigation to define and formulate which evidence you want to search for to build your evidence. This free investigation [format] is for you to decide where to go on your own. Our intent is that players who understand [the world] will feel connected to the game’s investigation–[getting players] to feel smart and active within the investigation is very critical in getting into the game’s story.”

There will also be combat, though not as much of a key part as The Sinking City. Focusing on hand-to-hand combat, Holmes can use his skills to find a foes weak points to quickly put a stop to a fight. The developers state (in Gamespot’s words) “battles take place where they make sense, and certain areas of town will have individuals looking for a scrap.”

The Sinking City developer previously had issues when Focus Home Interactive began removing the Sherlock Holmes games from console digital stores.

While this was later resolved, Frogwares are seemingly no longer using Big Ben Interactive as the publisher as they did with The Devil’s Daughter. Crimes and Punishments was also self-published. Oganesyan explained how they found little need for a publisher in the digital age.

“To be honest, it’s all about how we manage the project. Games publishing ten years ago was very different, but as the digital market has caught up to the retail market, things have changed. Nowadays, we can do many of the responsibilities that publishers have ourselves, and we don’t see any reason not to do it honestly because now we are in total control of our business, which will help our studio even more. Yeah, basically there is no reason not to do it.”

Finally, the developers assured Gamespot that the release date is considering the new challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

You can find the announcement trailer (via Steam) below.

You can the full rundown (via Steam) below.

As Sherlock, your legacy is written by the decisions you make in this open world detective adventure. Deception, violence, and deduction are just a few resources in your arsenal—your mysterious companion and sounding board, Jon, is another.

Whether you choose brute force to solve problems or stay one step ahead of your enemies by using your wits to spot vulnerabilities, you decide what each situation demands as you hone your investigative skills. It’s time to confront your past so you can become the legend you’re destined to be.

The Man Before: As a cavalier young Sherlock on the precipice of adulthood, you’ll earn your reputation in a way no game or story has explored before. We’ve never seen the youthful arrogance and naiveté of the man before the legend—now you’re living it.

Global Investigation: You never know where your next clue will come from. Explore and exploit the entire city in your pursuit of truth, using clues, rumors, disguises, tags, and pinned evidence to build a solid case within your mind palace.

And Stay Down: Weapons might help you in a pinch, but there’s something to be said for style—and you have it in spades. Spot enemy vulnerabilities with your brilliant observation skills, or exploit the environment to take someone down while keeping your own hands clean.

A Different Jon: Before John Watson, there was a different Jon – your best and only friend. But who is he, really?

A Darkening Tide: Set in the 19th century, the vibrant island in the Mediterranean promises anything but paradise. Political corruption and crime run rampant while the islanders cling to tradition and eschew outsiders, making your job even more difficult.

Truth and Lies: There are two sides to every story, and the proud islanders have their own ideas about truth and justice. It’s up to you to decide whether uncovering the truth will do more harm than good—and how that will shape the man you’ll become.

Sherlock Holmes launches 2021 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and unspecified next generation consoles.

Image: Steam



Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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