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Ambitious procedural detective noir Shadows of Doubt launches in April

Initially as a Steam early access title.

Shadows of Doubt, the wildly ambitious and long-in-development procedural detective noir from developer Cole Jefferies, is launching into Steam early access on 24th April.

Shadows of Doubt, which Jefferies first started discussing all the way back in April 2018, is a first-person, open-world detective sim - complete with the prerequisite snooping and stealth - set in a procedurally-generated noirish sci-fi city.

That procedural generation, which also incorporates elements of hand-crafted design, governs everything from the city's streets and fully explorable buildings to the citizens milling around the world as determined by their personal schedules.

25 minutes of Shadows of Doubt gameplay from March last year.Watch on YouTube

And players have immersive-sim-like freedom in how they tackle their non-scripted investigation - deploying everything from hacking and lock-picking to climbing and sneaking - as they hunt down a serial killer (which could be any one of those aforementioned citizens) while taking on side missions for extra cash.

"The biggest [mystery] rattling around my brain right now," former Eurogamer editor Martin Robinson wrote back in 2020, "is how is this possible? This is a work of staggering ambition and no small amount of artistry, presenting an evocative, fully-functioning cityscape for you to explore, complete with several intricate systems underpinning your sleuthing. I've played 20 minutes and I'm simply staggered."

It's partly that ambitious scope (which you can get a better idea of in the gameplay video above) that has lead Jefferies to initially release Shadows of Doubt as an early access title on 24th April. As explained on his blog, "The game is functionally complete with a full suite of features, cases, content, and a complete Sandbox Mode [but] there are some key things that launching in Early Access allows for, not least of which is more content."

"Launching into Early Access means I can bring that new content directly into the pre-1.0 roadmap," Jefferies continues, "meaning there'll now be even more for players to discover...when the full version launches [and] it helps me respond to bugs and unusual edge case issues that, given the massive scope of the game and the nature of its systems, I fully expect to be unearthed for the first time at launch."

"Shadows of Doubt really has been a dream project of mine to make, and it’s my goal to make it the best possible game it can be for everyone who plays it."

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