Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened delay announcement doubles as a short war documentary

Sherlock Holmes holding up a lamp in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened.
(Image credit: Frogwares)

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened—a new entry in the long-running series, which pits the iconic detective against Lovecraftian weirdness—has been delayed "to March, or April at the latest". The accompanying video by Ukrainian developer Frogwares paints a bleak picture of daily life in the country.

"Had a busy day at work cause we are preparing for the release, and I just came home, there's no electricity yet again due to another Russian bombing," says one of the team as the video begins. "I'd like to make something to eat, but instead I'll sit in the darkness and stare at the wall."

The game was chosen as a more modest project than the studio's last few games—it's a remake of a game it first released in 2007, and a linear adventure, rather than an open world like Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One and The Sinking City were. But that said, I was impressed by a recent demo, which to me didn't seem small or underwhelming despite the difficult circumstances.

Due to Russian attacks on power infrastructure, the Ukrainian government has had to institute scheduled blackouts. The developers are forced to work where and when they can get electricity—some shifting ad hoc between remote working and the office based on where the power is, some working evenings and even nights when there's less strain on the grid. 

"There's still a lot of work ahead of us: finalising the game, fixing the bugs, and preparing the releases on multiple platforms," says another developer. "All complicated things that are made extra difficult by this whole situation."

(Image credit: Frogwares)

It's surreal watching shots of the team hard at work in the office interspersed with footage of the war: destroyed buildings, minefields, and explosions. Frogwares remains defiant and bullish, calling Russian strategies "brain dead and pointless", but it's clear the experience is taking an enormous toll. 

"I have to be honest, we are all exhausted," says the first developer, still sitting in darkness. "This war started 8 years ago with the annexation of Crimea and the Donbas. We then had two years of severe Covid restrictions, and now an all-out invasion in 2022. I think a lot of us can no longer even remember what normal feels like."

(Image credit: Frogwares)

Moving from a February release to March or April is hardly a dramatic push, and fans are clearly happy to wait, with the video's comments full of outpourings of support. 

Even if the game's not on your radar, the video is well worth a watch. It's a real window into the remarkable endurance and persistence of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation, and it's clear that, to Frogwares, the project has come to mean far more than just another detective game.

Robin Valentine
Senior Editor

Formerly the editor of PC Gamer magazine (and the dearly departed GamesMaster), Robin combines years of experience in games journalism with a lifelong love of PC gaming. First hypnotised by the light of the monitor as he muddled through Simon the Sorcerer on his uncle’s machine, he’s been a devotee ever since, devouring any RPG or strategy game to stumble into his path. Now he's channelling that devotion into filling this lovely website with features, news, reviews, and all of his hottest takes.