Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, the latest entry in developer Frogwares’ well-regarded deduction-based adventure series, now has a release date and will be coming to Xbox Series X/S, PS5, an PC on 16th November, with a PS4 and Xbox One release to follow.
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, as its name suggests, serves as a prequel to Frogwares’ previous Sherlock Holmes titles, taking players back to the detective’s days as a fresh-faced 21-year-old and the events that would lead to his life of sleuthing. It begins as Sherlock, with best friend Jon in tow, arrives on the sunny, Mediterranean-inspired island of Cordona – a significant aesthetic departure to the fog-shrouded London streets and rural corners of Frogwares’ previous adventure – on the tenth anniversary of his mother’s death.
Frogwares has already shared some of the new and returning mechanics players can expect in this latest third-person, open-world investigation adventure, but the developer has now offered some additional information in a new 7-minute gameplay “deep dive” trailer.
There’s talk of your actions affecting your friendship with Jon – your bond will worsen if you kill enemies instead of arresting them, for instance, or if you fail his requests – and we also get a look at Chapter One’s investigation system (which lets players gather clues by asking virtually anyone about items of interest), as well as its revised observation and deduction mechanics.
Here, young Sherlock’s unrefined abilities mean it’s possible for him to make incorrect deductions, which might then influence how a conversation unfolds. Similarly, when using the Mind Palace to connect all the different clues gathered throughout each investigation to turn them into theories and conclusions, the number of clues found and how they’re interpreted can mean the difference between getting it right and accusing the wrong person.
Out on the island, players are able to explore the open world environment and pick up new quests, some revealing more about life in Cordona, others offering glimpses into Sherlock and Jon’s childhood, and yet more providing origin stories for some of Sherlock’s most iconic items – such as a quest to locate a stolen violin. And between missions (Frogwares previously said to expect around 30 side quests alongside core investigations), players can hang out at the hub-like Sherlock family mansion, which can be restored to its former glory over time.
Lastly, there’s a look at Chapter One’s new combat system which, in response to feedback on Frogwares’ Lovecraft-inspired The Sinking City – now features smarter AI, tighter controls, more convincing sound effects, and better pacing. The developer says the goal this time is to create combat that feels more like a puzzle, utilising Sherlock’s sharp mind, agility, and arrogance. It also mentions combat challenges, where players can earn money to buy new outfits and furniture for the mansion. Those that aren’t overly keen on the idea of combat can adjust its difficulty, or turned it off completely.
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One comes to Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC on 16th November. The previously announced PS4 and Xbox One editions will now release at a later date (“a few weeks at most”) as Frogwares says it needs “more time and a little breathing room for our team to wrap these versions up properly”.