Frogwares is currently beavering away on Sherlock Holmes Chapter One - the latest entry in its well-regarded deduction-focussed adventure series - and as it works toward a PlayStation, Xbox, and PC launch later this year, the developer has shed a little more light on what's in store.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One, as we learned when it was announced last year, serves as a prequel to Frogwares' earlier Sherlock Holmes games, rewinding the clock to Holme's days as a fresh-faced, 21-year-old in order to chart the events that would lead him to a life of sleuthing.
Chapter One marks a deliberate shift away from the fog-shrouded London streets of previous games, with its third-person, open-world investigatory action taking place on a sunny, Mediterranean-inspired island - riddled with class divides and corruption - as Sherlock, with the help of best friend Jonathan, investigates the death of his mother.
That's what we already knew, but now Frogwares has shared more details in a newly released fan Q&A video. Here, the developer confirms Chapter One will feature five main quests, all of which are connected to a single overarching story. The core investigation is driven by the death of Sherlock's mother, but Frogwares says Holme's eagerness to prove his credentials as a real detective means he'll take on unrelated cases - AKA side quests - along the way.
Some side quests will focus on Holmes and Jonathan's past, for instance, while others revolve around the people on the island, and Frogwares says there'll be 30+ (some said to be as substantial as their main quest counterparts) in the final game. These additional quests will start to become available once Chapter One's opening quest is complete, at which point players are able to explore the open-world island and uncover new mysteries at their leisure.
Frogwares also confirms there are multiple endings and quest outcomes depending on players' deductive and moral choices, as was the case in its previous Sherlock Holmes games (you'll be able to accuse the wrong person depending on how you piece together clues, for instance), and the developer anticipates it'll take around 12-15 hours to complete the main storyline, and around 40 hours to see everything in the game.
As for the kind of investigatory tricks Sherlock will have at his disposal this time around, Frogwares has confirmed disguises will be making a return, and players can buy and don new outfits (including hats, glasses, even facial hair, wrinkles, and bruises) to gain the trust of different social groups, access closed off areas, or simply to satisfy their fashion whims.
These customisation options will also extend to Sherlock's mansion residence on the island, with players able to deck out its rooms using furniture they've either bought from vendors or earned as rewards. Additionally, Frogwares has reiterated that combat will play a role in the game "where it makes sense for the story".
Although Frogwares says it's not quite ready to show off gameplay just yet as "a lot of things are still being worked on", there are a few additional details - including some audio snippets of Sherlock and Jonathan's voice work - in its new developer video.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is currently expected to launch on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S later this year.