Put your speculation hat on and visit Sierra.com. There you will find a menacingly vague video which points to a reboot of the Sierra brand. Or, you could just view the video below. The site invites users to share the video, while indicating that further news will be announced at Gamescom next week.
Flip through the channels on cable TV for more than a minute, and there's a good chance the weathered face of Detective Lennie Briscoe or the salt-and-pepper shag of Jack McCoy will fill your screen. Law & Order reruns will be around forever; the original series ran for 456 episodes over 20 years. Throw in spin-offs and there are more than 1000 episodes. CSI and NCIS have run for hundreds of episodes. The popularity of procedural shows never wanes: day-in, day-out, the formula never changes, but we keep watching. Procedurals like Law & Order and CSI are the reliable backbone of entertainment: sturdy, consistent, always there to give you what you need without doing anything too new or exciting. We love procedurals. So why, if the genre is so enormously, enduringly popular, on TV and in books and even movies, are there so few police procedural video games?
Predictable-but-entertaining detective stories and courtroom dramas have dominated primetime for 60 years, but you can count the successful, well-known procedural games on a couple hands with fingers to spare. When HBO's True Detective did something bold and new with the formula, it became the most talked-about TV show in years. It also made me realize that police procedural games are practically nonexistent. I couldn't figure out why, so I decided to talk to game writers and designers, from the creator of Police Quest to the writer behind Spec Ops: The Line, to answer that question.
We have some bad news for fans of cop-based adventure games (although it seems there may be fewer of you than was first hoped). You'll remember that the Precinct Kickstarter was shut down earlier this month, with the developers of the Police Quest spiritual successor attempting to raise the needed money via their own independent scheme instead. Well, now that new "staged" funding scheme has been cancelled as well, after raising around $12,000 of the $400,000 goal. No backer cash has been taken.
It’s always sad to see a promising Kickstarter pull the plug, and this time is no different: Precinct, the revitalization of the classic Police Quest lineage, has suspended its Kickstarter. Precinct will be moving to a “staged” crowdfunding effort on its own website.
Of all of the classic game genres to be resurrected by the crowdsourcing renaissance, I’m most excited about the return of adventure games. In that vein, a new Kickstarter, by veterans of Sierra On-Line’s classic Police Quest, is trying to bring back the police procedural adventure.
You have the right to watch this retrospective. You do not have to laugh, but any sniggers or guilty smirks may be taken and used against you. If you do not have a sense of humour, one may be provided. Everything else will assume the TV show "Castle" is an accurate depiction of police procedure.
Maybe it’s just me, but I never could take Police Quest ($4.99 on GOG) very seriously. I know I probably should. It’s certainly a serious game—an interactive police-procedural adventure written by a real cop, and supposedly used by others as a training tool. For me though, it was always something else—closer to the dreams that good cops probably have after eating too much cheese before going to bed. It’s like a fevered nightmare of repressed paranoia, lessened only by a little guilty wish-fulfillment to round off a long day of being abused and unappreciated.
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, we pick up the shield, reach for a nightstick, and prepare to retread some very, very mean streets with the Lytton PD's top Sierra suicide squad .
LA Noire is coming soon to the PC. But crime? Crime has always been with us. Laura Bow's notebook saw her through two major cases back in the 1920s. Discworld Noir was funny, clever, and a brilliant spin on Terry Pratchett's most famous creation. On the indie side, The Blackwell Legacy games are doing a great job of telling mysterious ghost stories. During the FMV era, it turned out The Dame Was Loaded, and then of course, there was a game simply known as 'Noir' - and a personal favourite of mine, the (later, not sucky) Tex Murphy games, which took those classical stylings into the Future. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? We do. We've painstakingly dug it out a million times.
But few of those cases are stranger, quirkier, or just plain messed up as gaming's original interactive police procedural adventure. Prepare for the insanity that awaits... In Pursuit of the Death Angel.
Last week Good Old Games became a crime scene. Now we know why. The first four Police Quest games are now available to buy in a convenient bundle, and the Zork Anthology has also been re-released.