The fictional Sherlock Holmes has been a core focus of developer and publisher Frogwares for nearly a decade in running. The independent Ukrainian studio now plans to bring back the consulting detective with Sherlock Holmes Chapter One in another story-driven thriller but which rewinds the clock to the beginning.
Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, Frogwares stated that Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is “the tale of how the legend started” as players will see a “lost young man trying to find his purpose.” The titular chapter one is the “first chapter of an epic legacy” and while not confirmed, could birth more chapters to follow the greatest deerstalker-wearing detective of our times.
The narrative sees Sherlock Holmes travel into the heart of an island in the Mediterranean, which while fictional is inspired by real-life locations. “You will see a touch of the Mediterranean mixed with Ottoman flavour and British colonialism,” said the developer. “From the outside, it looks like a paradise. But when you start looking in, you will see that there is a big class division, with some getting more out of life than others. The island is its own macro-organism, with its own stories – the good, the bad, and the downright tragic.”
The mystery in question? Solving the death of his own mother and for which the iconic detective has been given some new tools. Sherlock Holmes Chapter One features new “no-hands-holding investigation” mechanics for more freedom. Evidence can be pinned to the screen for better focus. In an example, Frogwares explained how pinning a description of a rough-looking left-handed suspect can be a good reminder to help search for clues when walking through the crowd.
There are no skills or attributes to unlock. There is no character progression in the usual state but players will get to see Sherlock Holmes “grow into the man he is supposed to be,” and this involves him in sometimes making mistakes and learning from them: something “preposterous” no doubt but which the developer believes fans will like seeing nonetheless.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One also has character customization with special outfits in store alongside facial alterations. The mansion where he will be staying on the island can also be decorated to certain degrees but which Frogwares will be revealing somewhere down the road. That and other gameplay mechanics which players will be relying on to complete their investigation.
The addition of a more open-world format has allowed the developer to include over thirty side missions “which can be as long as the main ones.” Those interested in sticking to the main investigation are still look around 12 to 15 hours of gameplay. Cleansing the entire island of every little mystery though should take over 40 hours at least. Frogwares teased (again) that the Mediterranean island has a new and different story to unravel at every turn.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One remains in production for both the last- and current-generation consoles and PC. The game will be landing on both Steam and the Epic Games Store. There are no exclusive deals in place as the publisher wants to “release the game to as many people and storefronts as possible.” Frogwares has only confirmed a 2021 release window but will be narrowing that down once the holiday season is over.
Regarding the PlayStation 5 release, Frogwares is not willing to confirm whether players can expect some sort of integration of the new DualSense features. The developer believes the new PlayStation controller is “fantastic” and which can indeed help “push player immersion.” DualSense support is definitely being looked into at present and its adaptive triggers and haptic feedback should hopefully go through.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One will not have any microtransactions but will possibly receive post-release DLC in the future.