Lovecraft-inspired detective horror The Sinking City showcases its investigative tools •


It’s been a while since we last got a look at Frogwares’ promising Lovecraft-inspired detective adventure, The Sinking City, but here we are now, with a brand-new developer video, offering an overview of the game’s sleuthing mechanics as well as new in-game footage.

In The Sinking City, players are cast as private investigator Charles Reed, who finds himself in Oakmont, Massachusetts – a corner of 1920s America, plagued by a supernatural flood and other, more troubling, cosmic horrors – in search of a means to cure his hellish visions.

As Frogwares has explained before, The Sinking City is very much focussed on challenging players’ investigative impulses and deductive powers, meaning no handholding and no objectives littering the map.”We will never tell you how to approach a quest, where to go, what to look for, who you should accuse”, says the developer in its latest trailer.

Once you’ve located a likely crime scene, you can scour it for evidence, then use your casebook to record, review, and analyse anything that looks like it might be pertinent. In some cases, acquiring evidence is simply a matter of picking it up off the ground, but in others, you may need to employ Reed’s handy supernatural abilities to uncover more.

We’ve been granted a look at some of Reed’s deductive options before, including his ability to catch glimpses of the past by examining evidence at a crime scene (known as “retro-cognition”), his interrogation skills, and the tools he can use to cross-reference records found among Oakmont’s crumbling institutions.

In its latest video though, which includes a fair wedge of new gameplay, Frogwares demonstrates Reed’s Mind Palace, a feature brought directly over from the developer’s well-received Sherlock Holmes games. Here, you can use the clues you’ve found to make deductions relevant to each investigation – although, unlike Sherlock Holmes, there are no right or wrong answers, just assumptions you can use to further a quest, one way or another.

Having recently got around to playing Frogwares’ excellent Sherlock: Crimes & Punishments, I’ve been been impressed by its ability to create a sense of open-ended freedom within the fixed framework of each case – one that genuinely makes you feel like a crime-solving smart arse as you gather clues and tease out leads of your own volition. As such, I’m intrigued to see how that formula will fare once transplanted to a supernatural, and far more open setting.

The Sinking City’s greatest mystery right now, however, is its release date. It was originally announced to be launching on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on March 21st, but a revised console release date of May 31st has since been spotted on various storefronts, with the PC version moved to a non-specific “2019” on Steam. Publisher Bigben Interactive has yet to offer official word on the matter, but hopefully we’ll hear news soon.

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