Shadows of Doubt, the noir immersive sim that we once called "Deus Ex for incorrigible snoops" has got an early access release date. You'll be able to stalk its voxelized streets and read everyone else's emails (but in, like, a good guy way) on April 24 this year.
I'm intrigued by this one. I've been following Shadows of Doubt ever since it first started making all the right noises back in 2020. Set in a procedurally generated city (that gets generated, procedurally, when you hit New Game) in an alternative, cyberpunk 1980s, the game features "a fully simulated world with hundreds of citizens" each going about their separate little lives, and all with "their own name, job, apartment and daily routine".
Your job is to creep on just about all of them in order to catch a murderer. Using an array of gadgets and whatever warped solutions you can conjure up using the game's systems—plus, naturally, a conspiracy cork board where you draw red string between suspects—your task is to "track down a serial killer" whose crimes are as procedurally generated as the city they happen in.
The game has been in development for a while now, and the developer says it's "functionally complete". Nevertheless, they've opted for an early access release in order to give themselves room to bring new content "directly into the pre-1.0 roadmap, meaning there’ll now be even more for players to discover in the initial base game when the full version launches". Plus, it'll give them a chance to address the numerous bugs and issues that they "fully expect to be unearthed for the first time at launch".
Early access status also means that the game won't "feature a story thread of missions beyond those featured in the demo" to begin with. But right now I'm more interested in seeing what I can do with the game's systems than I am in a proper story, so I think I can manage.
When Jon Bailes got hands-on with it during the Steam Next Fest demo period, he wrote that "even with the occasional quirk, there's so much to like here, from the moody voxel environments, ambient sounds and rain effects, to the density of stuff to discover and ways to discover it". To my Deus Ex-starved self, it sounds perfect. Just so long as the devs manage to pull it off.