London, 1867. The telegram arrived last week. You almost threw it into the fire. Whatever right Thomas Horgan had to contact you, he gave it up long before he left London. One more bridge torched in his wake. One more former friend cursing his name. But you read it anyway. And saw the three words the Great Detective would never have said. “Help me. Please.”
Silent Streets is an iPhone detective/mystery game for Russian based Fun Bakers, combining pedometer features with some fairly in-depth investigation elements and visual novel. The company came to me to design, plan and create the detective side of the game, along with the world, characters and cases, using a mixture of notepad related interactions, visual novel narrative, and non-linear detective work.
The world I came up with was Snowport, a small but dangerous Victorian town on the very corner of the Empire. The player is a former student/friend/rival (you pick) of a disgraced Holmesian style detective, though with more of a Marlowe status. You come to town in response to a desperate message only to find his throat cut and a mysterious alchemical symbol sewn into his mouth. The policeman investigating, Inspector Gage, needs to arrest someone, and you’re the only one around. Proving your innocence is one thing. Finding the truth is another. But Horgan’s lodgings are paid up. You have his tools. You know his methods. And Snowport desperately needs a new Detective walking its silent streets.
Snowport itself comes from a slightly alternative history where the Royal Society has embraced spiritualism as a valid scientific direction of study and the two factions are now locked in a battle to prove the superiority of their beliefs. Snowport, a corrupt ice-harvesting town haunted by inexplicable cold, is where they can both conduct their experiments far from the prying eyes and politics of London. From the game perspective, that allowed it to be a place rich in delicious Victorian styling, but with a unique flavour and scope for slightly more outlandish cases that were still rooted in a factual basis. The demo case for instance involves the sad case of a man driven to desperate actions after being struck by a bolt from Faraday Coils – Faraday in this timeline having fled government pressure to make chemical weapons for the Crimean War.
This project is currently on hold after producing the demo. Status TBC.
For years, Thomas Horgan was London’s greatest detective. Then the Magpie Incident happened. Disgraced, he fled, leaving little but burned bridges and unpaid debts. In Snowport, did his past just catch up?
If he’s tired and irritable, it’s because he considered himself a good man, once. But a good man knows that when you take a bribe, you’re forever a man who took a bribe. Even on the other side of the Empire.
Star reporter for the Snowport Herald, and cause of most of its editor’s ulcers. Evelyn will do anything to get to the truth, no matter how many bodies follow in the wake of its publication.
Everyone knows Rose. She runs the Cardinal Points pub, where any guest will find a warm welcome, a hot fire, and access to anything that Snowport’s criminal underworld can offer. As long as they don’t start a fuss.
Some would call him a sociopath. He would prefer the term ‘extremely focused’. Linwood is the master of lightning and electricity; a rising star in the Royal Society. But he too has his secrets he would rather not share.
“As a master of narrative, Richard created living characters for Snowport, contributed to the design of the town map, and brought a number of excellent ideas for the game. He also gave special consideration to historical credibility, with great attention to every detail. Richard was versatile enough to jump into new tools for game scriptwriting and co-work with great success with our software engineer. What a pleasant journey to Victorian times it was!”
– Alex Nits, Head of Production