Murdered: Soul Suspect Is Like A Hardboiled Ghost Trick From Square Enix Japan

By Spencer . June 7, 2013 . 9:14pm

The hardest case to solve

At a Square Enix preview event, Siliconera got to take a look at Murdered: Soul Suspect which is being developed by Airtight Games. The two companies worked together on Quantum Conundrum, but that project was managed and signed by Square Enix USA. Murdered: Soul Suspect is co-developed with Square Enix Japan.

 

 

Murdered: Soul Suspect is an adventure game that begins with detective Ronan O’Conner falling out of a window. Just to make sure Ronan is dead, a hooded assailant shoots his body and bullet holes show up on Ronan’s spirit. Two police officers show up to the scene and one of them steals Ronan’s hat. It’s obvious they’re more interested in wisecracking about Ronan’s demise than solving the murder, so it’s up to you to do it… as a ghost. The premise is quite familiar to Ghost Trick and that was the first thing I brought up when I spoke with Eric Studer, Senior Design Producer at Airtight Games.

 

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“I love Ghost Trick, it’s a great game, but we’re not Ghost Trick,” Studer replied. “Ghost Trick was very heavy on point and click puzzles. It had a slick presentation, but at it’s core it was a hidden object game in the right order. It’s so much fun to figure out the order of events, but I think what we’re doing is much broader. We help drive the narrative through this gameplay mechanic where you come into a crime scene where you make analysis on what’s going on and then taking the next step of finding out where to go next.”

 

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That’s true. At the beginning of the game, ethereal text gives Ronan hints on how to track the killer. You have to possess a woman and project what you saw when you were murdered so she tells the uninterested police officers and eavesdrop to find other clues. After you have your story straight, the game has players deduce what happened using the clues they discovered. If you get it right, it moves the story forward. Get it wrong and Ronan will say the events were out of place which gives players another chance to put the pieces together.

 

Ronan can explore Salem with some limitations. Buildings have been christened to prevent ghosts from entering through a wall. You have to sneak in through an open door or a window. We get it, these are gameplay mechanics, but once you’re inside you can walk through walls and spy on people living there. Ronan can sit at a couple’s apartment and watch them bicker. You can also find other souls that need Ronan’s knack for investigating. These side quests explain what happened to Salem and the Dusk that covers the town.

 

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What feels out of place in Murdered: Soul Suspect is combat. Ronan doesn’t use a gun or stylish combos to fight Lost Souls. He has to hide somewhere in like a telephone or a person pacing back and forth. Once the Lost Soul drops its guard Ronan get inside the soul and tears it apart from within. Since the heart of Murdered: Soul Suspect is the investigation, I was curious why they felt the need to add combat in the game.

 

“Keep in mind this isn’t a shooting game. What we’re trying to do is twist the investigation mechanic in an interesting way,” Studer explained. “The demons are lethal, but if you approach them the same way that you would approach the investigation, you have the upper hand. You are going to come into a space. You are going to see the demons there. You are going to know what your abilities are, what the layout of the space is, you can build a strategy. Then you can execute on that and adapt and make decisions based on your strategy.” The demons won’t kill Ronan in one hit, but the demons can devour his soul and end the game which forces players to restart from a checkpoint.

 

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Back to the investigation, when Ronan finally reaches the room with the window he was thrown out of. He finds clues like a bent baseball bat that triggers a flashback. Before he was killed, Ronan pursued the hooded figure who was about to attack a girl. As a ghost, he has a full view of the scene and sees the frightened girl hiding. In the flashback, Ronan busts into the room, picks up the bat, and swings at the hooded figure. The hooded entity grabs the bat from Ronan, bends it, and throws Ronan out the window. Where does this lead Ronan? Well, if you put the pieces together right he has a witness and a lead into his investigation.

 

Murdered: Soul Suspect is slated for release in early 2014 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


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  • JustThisOne

    Okay, I need to ask: Does this game have narration of any kind?

    If this game has a 50′s noir guy narration, similar to how he narrates the trailer, then I am sold.

    Seriously, he’s got a hat. He’s a detective. He’s got more than he’s signed up for. He’s seen some things. He’s so close to being that noir detective that I’ve always wanted to play as. (Cole Phelps was so damn close. At least the narration was cool in L.A. Noire though.) JUST HAVE SOME COOL GUY NARRATION, PLEASE.

    • SuperSailorV

      Like how they did it in Sin City? I hadn’t thought of that, but now that you said it, I’m totally of the same mind.

      • JustThisOne

        Yessssssssssss. Sin City. It was beautiful. The narration really made that movie special. I feel like it would benefit games with hard-boiled protagonists.

    • Pfantzypantz

      Oh man, that would sell me aswell, here’s hopin dawg

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      Yeah a little bit. During the flashback parts there was some narration. Ronan also comments like when the cops inspecting his body talk too. The living can’t hear his snarky remarks, but you can.

      • JustThisOne

        YESSSSSSSSSS!

        I genuinely hope he’ll comment on mundane things. Snark in games is all I live for. :3

    • Pyrofrost

      Does L.A. Noire have that too? I’ve never played it.

      • JustThisOne

        Its got bits of it to introduce each case.

        • Pyrofrost

          Oh ok, I was kinda interested in that game :3

  • Solomon_Kano

    Well, my interest is piqued now. Hope to see it in action come E3.

  • http://wiredjungle.wordpress.com/ DrakosAmatras

    “You have to possess a woman and project what you saw when you were murdered so she tells the uninterested police officers and eavesdrop to find other clues.”

    Is this gonna be a recurring mechanic? I wonder what sort of “processing mechanic” the information has to go through in order to make it sound plausible coming from a random witness’ standpoint.

  • HassanJamal

    A nice spin on the Adventure games genre. Keeping an eye on this :)

  • http://backloggery.com/alice3ify alice3ify

    I am a lover of Ghost Trick, and I can see definitely why I am interested with this game.

  • SirRichard

    It’s sounding pretty interesting, it’s basically an adventure game in a way where you have to solve puzzles to move forward. If nothing else, it’s nice to see a big publisher experimenting.

  • Kai2591

    Hey this actually looks pretty interesting~

    I hope the gameplay mechanics are really nice and unique :)

  • Rogerrmark

    Looks like a must!

    I’m soo happy they aren’t trying to sell us an action/shooter game dressed as an adventure,like a lot of developers nowadays.

    Hoping for something similar to Aksys/Quantic Dream/TellTale games.

  • Testsubject909

    And adding this title to the list.

  • Kris

    This looks and sounds much cooler than the name would imply. Can’t wait to see more, I’m always intrigued by the prospect of a good detective game! Also, anyone else think that Ronan is voiced by Liam O’Brien?

  • artemisthemp

    Sound good, but a bit sad about the Combat aspect of things

  • LastFootnote

    “Ghost Trick was a hidden object game.”

    False.

  • Kelohmello

    Well, sounds interesting enough. That introductory CG definitely caught my attention. Will be watching this one.

  • http://www.mengsbizarreadventure.com Mengplex

    Shame team bondi have shut down, I feel this would have been right up their alley.

    Regardless, hope this is a good game, I loved ghost trick.

  • Abend

    saa omae no tsumi o kazoero!

    • TaintedSeraph

      Zetsubou ga omae no gooru da!

  • LaserVision

    The premise of solving your own murder as a ghost really isn’t something that is unique to just Ghost Trick, so I don’t really get why it was such a point of emphasis in the interview.

  • http://www.fogalchemist.com/ caleb1993

    This has just hit the top of my list for anticipated games. I’m very excited to see how this one is pulled off. With such an engaging premise, as well as a dark and supernatural element added in, I cannot wait to see how the game progresses and what the story actually is. Post E3, this will probably be the first game that I’m hyped for that I truly do a media blackout for. Detective stories are always best the first time around when you don’t know how they’re going to go or how they’re going to end.

    Congrats Squeenix for taking the spot of having my most anticipated game. You haven’t had it since The World Ends With You was originally releasing, but you’ve finally got it back.

  • Demeanor

    This sounds like L.A. Noire as a ghost, pretty cool stuff. Somehow all the skills he has as a spirit make the protagonist sound much more bad@ss than an ordinary human. I’ll keep an eye on this.

  • isfuturebright

    This looks good :) I don’t really get it how the gameplay will work but I’m really excited about it!

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