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Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders – Poirot, but not as a TV star

PREVIEW – It was a surprising, yet pleasant sight to see that another Agatha Christie book is getting a video game adaptation. It was even more of a surprise that it was led by the Micronics team. „Wait, they still exist?” – I thought. It looks like they don’t plan to go under anytime soon, in fact, they are bringing something old back in a new shape. It’s going to be the good old Poirot, but not as a TV-series.

 

I’d like to start with an interesting trivia: this is not the first time to see The ABC Murders turned into a game! In the autumn of 2009, the AWE Games/Black Lantern Studios duo made a game for the Nintendo DS. However, the protagonist was Captain Hastings in that adaptation. In this one, we’ll get to control Hercule Poirot, whose partner and best friend is Hastings – this makes it already a huge difference between the two iterations. Also, Microids plan to make it as the first game of a series, which means more Agatha Christie books would be „gamified”.

Let’s just sing the ABC

The story begins with the Belgian detective getting a suspicious letter. In it, he finds a location of a murder and the signature of „ABC”. Three murders, three locations and the same three letters. Alica Ascher in a tobacco shop in Andover, Betty Barnard in Bexhill and Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. Three different classes – tobacco shop owner, waitress, rich guy -, but one thing is the same: ABC did not notify the Scotland Yard, but Poirot. Why? What’s the reasoning behind not making it an officially known crime?

Third person detective

To me, it seems like the genre has a mini-renaissance to some degree. Sherlock Holmes games look like they are on the way up – there’s a new game in development for the PlayStation 4 with an occultist touch to it, not to mention Holmes’ mental health having a huge role as well -, and in this game, another detective seems to make a return. Don’t expect huge surprises in the game’s genre, though: it’s going to be a third-person detective game, where we have to go to the crime scenes, look for clues, check the suspects alibis, ask them questions to find the next clue, and eventually, arrest the killer.

Eighty years

We’re eager to see how the book – which was first published in January 1936 – gets turned into a decent game. It looks like the veteran Micronics (really, they’ve been in business for three decades now – they are now owned by Anuman Interactive) timed the release of the game close to the 80th anniversary on purpose. The visuals look interesting: while it’s going to be cel-shaded and cartoony, it still have dark tones.

An interesting mixture. Going by the two videos below the article, the voice acting is also going to be very nice. The release date is currently set to February 2016 on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac. There is only one hurdle to jump to make this game successful in its genre: how good of an ambience will Poirot’s story have?

-V-

These could make it a success:

+ This genre is rarely seen
+ …especially with Poirot as lead character
+ The visuals are interesting

These could make it a disappointment:

– Ambience: make or break
– Pricing?
– How will it avoid becoming a niche game too soon?


Publisher: Microïds

Developer: Microïds

Genre: Third-Person

Relase date: 2015

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