Teased via some hauntingly beautiful concept art, Frogwares has revealed their remake of 2006’s Sherlock/Lovecraft crossover – Sherlock Holmes The Awakened. Scheduled for release in 2023, the game will launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Bringing together the newly acquainted consulting detective and his loyal compatriot, John Watson, the game sees the two tackle their first big case. When a seemingly simple missing person’s case spirals out of control, the dynamic duo soon uncovers a sinister scheme helmed by a Cthulu worshipping cult.
Following 2019’s The Sinking City, another H.P Lovecraft-inspired tale, it seems clear that Frogwares has a Neptunian itch that only the eldritch tentacles of Cthulu can scratch. Whilst the discourse around remakes has been somewhat contentious of late, The Awakened certainly seems significant.
This ground-up remake involves a ‘substantial rewrite’ in order to have the story serve as a sequel to 2021’s Sherlock Holmes Chapter One. Whilst Chapter One saw Holmes combing the fictional island of Cordona, The Awakened involves a little more globetrotting.
Chasing eight cases across semi-open maps of London, a Swiss psych ward, the bayous of New Orleans, and the rolling Scottish Highlands, Holmes and Watson race to put an end to the cult’s abhorrent acts.
“The game is afoot.“
By way of gameplay, those familiar with the series will feel at home in Sherlock’s shoes. Players will investigate scenes and question locals, logging details from statures to stains. Using the aptly-named ‘imagination mode’, players can recreate past events. Twisting theories to suit facts, you’ll decide how best to carve out the course of justice.
Past entries have included basic action, stealth, and shooting sequences, which should be expected to feature here too. However, it’s the very battle for Sherlock’s mind that makes this entry fascinating. As Holmes delves deeper into the casework, his sanity will begin to fray as he wrestles with the eldritch terror. This is represented in-game through Sherlock’s appearance, the mind-bending puzzles, and the decaying decal of the famed Mind Palace.
In a world strangely devoid of great detective games, Frogwares’ Sherlock series perfectly encapsulates the eccentricities of a mind as mighty as Sherlock’s. For those who get their kicks from cracking cases and incomprehensible, mind-shattering horror, this is one to keep an eye on.
Yet, as fascinating a premise as The Awakened is, it is the developers who give this entry the most merit.
Based out of Kyiv, Ukraine, Frogwares has seen some significant changes to production, to say the very least. As the war rages on, the team has been open about the ethical and logistical toll on development. However hard their struggle, it is clear to see that their passion to provide is stronger than ever.
Frogwares also received a MegaGrant from Epic Games, providing funds for safe relocation and the purchase of new equipment. Despite their hardships, Frogwares has managed to consistently update and hone their craft, and with any luck, The Awakened will be the last title the team has to develop in wartime.
Finally, Frogwares has launched a Kickstarter to help fund development of the game. Having reached their goal of €70,000 in just over six hours, they will soon be adding stretch goals. If you’re interested in supporting the studio and the development of the title, you can contribute here, where as little as $35 will net you a digital copy of the game on a platform of your choice and get your name in the credits.
Can your mind handle the horror? Will you answer Cthulu’s call? Let us know in the comments below.
PS: If you’d like to learn more about the Ukrainian gaming scene, please do check out the following:
- Push Square’s Sammy Barker has an insightful interview with Frogwares’ Community Manager and Marketing Team Lead, Sergey Oganesyan
- People Make Games’ interview with several of Frogwares staff including Release and Submission Manager, Iryana Bilous, Frogwares CEO, and Co-Founder, Waël Amr, Lead Quest Designer, Rostyslav Barchii, Marketing Team Lead, Sergey, and Chepovvy Bogdan, a twenty-four-year-old 3D artist who left Frogwares to defend Ukraine
- Colin Moriarty’s interview with Anastas Lyakh, a gamer living in western Ukraine
Last but not least, the Lords of Gaming hope for a swift end to the conflict and extend our very best to Frogwares and all of Ukraine.