How do you make a true investigation game? On one hand, it has to be about discovery – the player uses his or her observation skills and wit to find clues and solve the puzzle. But the game also has to be playable. Can’t be so difficult it frustrates players. In The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the player inspects items, which basically guides you to the next step. It seems Crime and Punishments (Sherlock Holmes) uses essentially the same gameplay. In the new trailer, time freezes while Holmes takes stock of a person or place, makes mental notes, which keeps the game moving. Gameplay like this gets repetitive and after a while, it becomes trial and error, just going through the motions.
Shigeru Miyamoto recently said Nintendo won’t focus on casual gamers. His games will cater to the real gamers out there, and not the mobile-device F2P crowd. In other words, Nintendo couldn’t compete and so they’ll go niche. Comments like his are ridiculous and pretentious. Why would a business rule out anything? However, I do wish more games did give gamers more credit. We’re more patient and intelligent than some of these games make me feel.
So, if you are working on the next investigation/mystery game, don’t spoon-feed us. Place the clues, and that’s it. No pulsating fingers or flashing circles or drop-down menus. Like some of the ‘80s adventure games like King’s Quest, create and populate the world, and let us figure out what to do with them on our own. Yeah, you may not sell as many copies, but you will have created a better product for your core client base.