Quietly scheduled a few weeks before E3, my appointment with Daedalic was incredibly unassuming. I’ve been a fan of their games ever since laying eyes on The Whispered World, and as an adventure game aficionado, I couldn’t help but be very interested in the chance of meeting some of the folks behind many of the best looking adventure games from the last few years.
Game and narrative designer Kevin Mentz sat down with me for a detailed presentation on his latest game, The Devil’s Men. It’s still relatively early in development, although it already looks beautiful, thanks to the gorgeous hand drawn art and smooth animation.
The game takes place in a Victorian era English seaside town, where mysterious murders have been taking place. It starts two female protagonists, Adelaide Spektor, daughter of world famous detective Karol, who disappeared years back, leaving Adelaide to fend off on her on, for the dismay of her family. Emily, her murderous partner is one a different ilk, holds little to no morals and is apparently only looking out for her own.
The Devil’s Men focuses on that relationship and how their respective investigations collide as they’re going after the titular Devil’s Men, a group of scientist that blurred the lines of reality years ago and have since been perishing one by one. The answer seems to lie with Adelaide’s dad.
Both protagonists head their own investigations, and as their paths collide, so do their morals. At points in the presentation, Mentz showed how differently things can go depending on actions you take with one character in detriment of the other. In one particular instance, Emily had a piece of evidence that she happened to stash away and not show to Adelaide, who later had no dialogue options when talking to a police officer on the scene of a crime. During the same section, Adelaide shared some info with a friend who happened to know Emily, thus changing the paths that character would take in her section of the game.
All of these branching paths sound extremely intricate and fairly more complicated than what we’ve come to expect from an adventure game. That branching mentality is ambitious and should make for some interesting outcome. It’s also worth noting how puzzles are being developed within the game. Daedalic is giving players the chance of skipping out on them completely, if they want to. On one hand, it makes the game a breeze to play through, but that also works to their detriment, since skipping out on the many branches a puzzle might stick to can bring unwanted results to your story within The Devil’s Men.
The same can be said about your actions within the game. Depending on your choices, a playthrough could be completely different from the next, not just for scenes that take place during the game, but also in terms of the puzzles you’ll face and items you might find. Speaking of items, Daedalic is re-working inventory for The Devil’s Men. Mentz showed a more realistic approach to inventory management, so items that could not possibly fit inside a character’s pocket or purse won’t go in there at all. A bold move when it comes to the absurdity of adventure games.
Daedalic promises a great tale with The Devil’s Men when it’s released in spring next year and if this demo was any indication, it’ll be worth the wait.