Silence looks cold...but also really pretty.
Since 2008, Germany’s Daedalic Entertainment has developed 28 games and published nearly two dozen more. If that’s not enough to make you feel inadequate and unproductive, how ‘bout this: The studio currently has three wildly different titles (that we know of) in development, all of which were on display – in various stages of completion – behind closed doors at E3. Talk about overachieving, right?
First off, adventure game The Devil’s Men, a steampunk murder mystery set in a foggy, fictional seaside town in nineteenth century Victorian Britain. Though perhaps not as grimy as the back alleys of London, this town – which once hosted a world’s fair-esque exhibition – still serves as the killing ground for a serial killer who’s systematically picking off the members of a supposedly secret organization of villainous scientists (the aforementioned Devil’s Men). Given that all the victims are vicious murders themselves, the game will no doubt question the relative morality of the killer.
Daedalic's developers seem to have a flair for gorgeous art, as seen here in Devil's Men.
You’ll alternately control two protagonists with occasionally conflicting interests: Adelaide, the daughter of a long-missing Sherlock Holmes-type who believes cracking this case might lead her to her father (and back into the comforts of upper class living), and Emily, a street kid with ties to the criminal underworld who’s basically forced to assist Adelaide. According the Daedalic, the game’s split perspective structure while inevitably lead you to favor one character over the other.
For example, while scouting a crime scene, Adelaide may find evidence that incriminates Emily, at which point you can decide to hide the information, share your discovery with Emily, or even expose her to the authorities. Whatever decision you make will bend the story in a new direction and dictate which gameplay section you experience next, turning the game into a giant push-and-pull balancing act.
That is some awesome art direction right there.
In addition to these decisions (and the accompanying dialogue trees), there will also be the expected mix of puzzles built around item gathering, clue collecting, and code cracking. In classic PC adventure game style, most of this gameplay focuses on navigating your cursor around a static area in search of items to interact with, though Daedalic promises it’s going to keep inane item-combining to a minimum in favor of more meaningful story-driven puzzle solving.
The Devil’s Men won’t launch until around this time next year, but Daedalic’s other adventure title Silence is due out in roughly six months. A spiritual successor to the company’s previously released The Whispered World, Silence follows a young orphan boy named Noah (yes, the same kid who survived the last game) who must rescue his little sister from the whimsical but dangerous dreamland featured in the original game. Unlike The Devil’s Men, Silence eschews an item inventory in favor of purely contextual puzzles, though you can still expect plenty of tear-jerking dialogue mixed in as well.
We're always happy to see more adventure games like Devil's Men.
Daedalic’s final project breaks the adventure game streak, opting instead for traditional turn-based RPG gameplay. Blackguards 2 takes the surviving cast from the original and shanghais them into the service of Cassia, a new central protagonist who plans to claim the Shark Throne for herself by systematically conquering various settlements until she can eventually capture the capital city from new king Marwan. Naturally, you’ll choose which settlements to conquer and when, carving your own path down the coast towards the southern tip of Adventuria.
According to Daedalic, the sequel still uses the Dark Eye system (a German pen-and-paper game, apparently) but tweaks the rule set slightly to accommodate fan feedback. For example, you can now take cover, which will probably prove pretty useful when facing off against the game’s new insectoid enemy types.