The Sinking City is a game of investigation and mystery taking place in a fictional open world inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The first thing that came to mind when we heard about the game was why the hell it took so long for someone to come up with the idea.
Sherlock Holmes meets H. P. Lovecraft
The game is being developed by Frogwares, the same developers that brought us the Sherlock Holmes games. The player steps into the shoes of a 1920s private investigator who finds himself in a city trembling in the brink of madness. Your goal is to survive this beleaguered town and untangle the mysteries responsible for its tragic situation.
Frogwares recently made a demo to showcase the work they have done for the past 2 years. In this video, they’re showing the ‘in and outs’ of making a public demo.
Let’s dig deeper
After showcasing the gameplay trailer of The Sinking City in various events like GDC ’18 and EGX Rezzed 2018, the fans are intrigued. They definitely had a lot of questions, and Frogware is trying their best to answer them without revealing too much and ruin your experience. Below, you will find the questions that got asked during the Q&A as well as the answers of the developers.
Q: Is it level based or open world? Is this more of an action game or adventure/detective game? What playtime do you aim for?
A: The Sinking City is a third-person, open world game which takes place in the 1920s United States which is heavily inspired by Lovecraft. So yes, you will have a city – the city of Oakmont to explore for yourself. In terms of gameplay, it will be more of a detective game. So you will be solving crimes, unveiling numerous dark secrets and mysteries of Oakmont and its people. Investigating crime scenes, talking to witnesses and tracking down killers; all that in a supernatural and often hostile environment.
But the game also has a proper combat system. We have weapons, traps and complementary skills for you to unlock; and of course, you’ll have monsters that’ll haunt you all over the city. We’re aiming for 30-40 hours of playtime, ie if you want to complete the main quest and majority of side quests, but it can easily go beyond that if you’re a completionist or if you wanna see all the different endings.
Q: Approximate release date, price, and platform?
A: The Sinking City is coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and we will announce the release date and price when we are ready. At this point, we’re just adding more content to the game, refining our features, adding new quests and doing a lot of work, in general.
Q: How did you balance yourself in adding your ideas/concepts, whilst keeping to the H. P. Lovecraft lore?
A: It is actually not that difficult to incorporate that Lovecraftian lore. Lovecraft was really good at exploring these really intricate philosophical concepts, like our place in the universe, fear of the unknown, fatalism and all that. But when it comes to details and descriptions, he was surprisingly vague, which actually worked great for us because it gave us a lot of freedom to do things the way we wanted to (again, why hasn’t anybody thought about this before?). Also, keep in mind that The Sinking City is actually not an official adaptation of the Lovecraftian works, it’s rather an expansion of his universe by devoted fans of his novels.
Q: Is there any indication of your character’s mental state throughout the game? Such as a change in demeanor or change in speech?
A: Yes. We do have a sanity – or rather insanity – mechanic, so whenever our character sees something disturbing, like supernatural occurrences or monsters, he will start to lose his sanity. It WILL impact his mental health. We showed this mechanic in GDC and EGX Rezzed where our character would start seeing things like tears in space. But as of now, we’re still discussing, we’re still thinking about how we want it to look like and what kind of impact we want it to have on the character and on the player as well. It’s very likely that this mechanic is going to look different in the final game.
Q: Could you explain how the gunplay mechanics work in the game? Do you have set weapons or can we change them over the course of the game?
A: The Sinking City is not a game where you can only run away or hide from enemies. We actually want to give you the tools to stand your ground, if necessary. We will give you weapons like handguns, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, you know, weapons that were common in that period of time. It is up to you to decide whether you want to engage an enemy or if you want to sneak past them. The way we want to balance that is by not giving you tons of ammunition. We actually want you to make the decision based on the resources that you have and the strength of your enemies.
Q: I saw in the trailer that the character is on the left side of the screen. Can we have an option to play with him on the right side?
A: I want to stress that the trailer that we showcased isn’t a gameplay reveal. We had the character on one side of the screen to help us achieve that cinematic feeling because it made sense for us to have the camera closer to the character. It is a story driven game, so we think it works best like this. We understand that we all have different tastes, so at this moment we’re only experimenting with different settings, like the position of the character and so on. We’re still thinking about how we wanna do it. Maybe we’ll give you two options to choose from, maybe something like that? Give us some time to come up with the best solution, but your feedback is extremely valuable. So thank you, guys.
That’s all we know about The Sinking City for now, but we will keep you updated if anything new comes up. If you want to watch the video of this Q&A session, feel free to check it out here.