Framed 2 will bring more comic-panel shuffling to videogames

Acclaimed noir puzzle game Framed was touted for its ingenuity, taking elements of comic-book panel design and implementing them into its videogame format. Much of the story, then, existed outside of Framed‘s panels, allowing players to fill in the blanks. Lead designer Joshua Boggs attributes this idea to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (1993): “The level of detail and investigation [McCloud] does in Understanding Comics was absolutely pivotal for Framed, and still is to this day.” Announced last week, Framed 2 will be released in early 2017, acting as a prequel to the first game. Panel switching is an important element in Framed 2, too, but it won’t be exactly the same. “For Framed 2, we’ve…

ben wander murder collection

New female detective game seeks to right L.A. Noire’s wrongs

Ben Wander, a game developer with experience at BioWare and Visceral Games, has wanted to make a game about the 1920s for a while. After years of ogling independent game makers from afar, he finally dove in with a short demo of his upcoming detective game. The premise is that you have to interrogate the butler of a rich man, found dead in his home after an overdose. The newspaper you read that morning speculates suicide. The butler swears to find his killer. You click around his beautiful silhouetted living room and try to put two and two together to…


Explore a bleak British town in a Kafkaesque adventure game

The northern England town of Grimsfield is bleak—completely desaturated of color, existing solely on small, square dioramas. Its inhabitants, architecture, and virtually everything within it are completely cubular, except for some dashing, rare berets. Everyone within Grimsfield is self-absorbed, the protagonist perhaps most of all. He’s an ex-detective who has recently given up on his day job to pursue his dream of becoming a poet. But if only life were that simple in this Kafkaesque adventure. The rules-laden town of Grimsfield is all about making your life inconvenient Adam Wells, the creator of the point-and-click adventure game Grimsfield, is an…


Let the inky dread of Renoir wash over you in its first trailer

Renoir is a bleak, brooding puzzle-platformer from the recently formed Czech studio, Soulbound Games. No, the name is not a reference to the French impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, nor his lush, saturated style. Nor is it a reference to his son, Jean Renoir, whose film La Règle du jeu the British Film Institute considers to be the fourth best of all time, and whose film La Bête Humaine is a cornerstone of the film noir style, to which the game clearly owes a lot. Instead, the developer tells me, it’s both the name of the game’s gritty detective protagonist and…


The virtual Batcave looks good-maybe even too good

When Batman: The Animated Series first aired on Fox, the only way for me to explore the Gotham City it displayed on my TV was with my imagination. Minutes after each episode ended, I’d run outside with a cardboard shield covered in aluminum foil and a bat insignia I’d cut from black and yellow construction paper. God knows what possessed me to run around my backyard flailing at invisible foes, but six-year-old me thought it was amazing. Had I been born twenty years later, none of this would have been necessary. Rendering a child’s imagination quaint by comparison, Batman: The…