Frogwares is tweaking its Sherlock Holmes series to be more modern with the introduction of "Sherlock Vision," a mechanic inspired by the BBC's Sherlock series that allows player to see through the detective's eyes.
According to Frogwares' business developer Olga Ryzhko, Sherlock vision will help take the series to the "next level" for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, the upcoming installment in the franchise set to launch early next year. Ryzhko calls the game the "most challenging, most sophisticated" Sherlock game yet, and said the development team has built on previous games' mechanics while tweaking them slightly for a more modern feel.
"Probably one of the reasons the game is more dynamic is it makes more sense now for players to have a modern Sherlock Holmes," Ryzhko said.
In Crimes and Punishments, players are meant to feel like they are Sherlock Holmes, embedded deep within his brain and at one with his powers of deduction. Players will be able to view crimes scenes through Sherlock Vision, a mechanic that will help in highlighting evidence that would otherwise be missed. For example, through Sherlock Vision players can look at a dusty bookcase shelves and notice that a chest has been taken from the shelf, or that an item may have a hidden inscription on it.
"We find inspiration in [the BBC] series, we definitely do"
Sherlock can also draw evidence from autopsies and scanning the people he meets. For the latter, players will enter a first-person view for an up-close inspection of a character's face and emotions, clothing and belongings, where he'll find everything from scars and bruises to the quality of an outfit.
Ryzhko said the development team has been "inspired" by the BBC's Sherlock television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and that inspiration is reflected in their upcoming title.
In the television show, text appears on screen listing what Sherlock is thinking — what he notices on other people, what he's thinking of and even what he's searching for on his smartphone. In Crimes and Punishments, the same happens with this Sherlock; text will appear detailing what he is thinking, such as how approaching footsteps sound and who might be at the door.
"We are very thoughtful and very respectful of the canon of Sherlock Holmes," Ryzhko said, noting all forms of media about the famous fictional detective seem to draw from one another. "We find inspiration in [the BBC] series, we definitely do. That's probably one of the reasons we're making the series more dynamic and modern."
"It's the real detective game," she added.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments will launch in the first quarter of 2014 for Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Ryzhko said Frogwares is currently undecided if the game will come to next-gen consoles.