Gamers have solved murder mysteries many times, but it’s hard to find examples of playing as the prime suspect. Well, examples besides Bohemian Killing, a first person adventure game where you’re tasked with proving your innocence in the midst of a trial that is shaking the very foundations of the game’s steampunk interpretation of Paris. Needless to say, the title captured my imagination immediately, and I was able to get in contact with the game’s developer Martin Makaj to discuss what makes this courtroom drama stand out in the market.
TechRaptor: What were your influences for Bohemian Killing?
Martin: Mostly the Phoenix Wright series, and Gone Home (in case of gameplay), but I found inspirations in John Grisham books, and few movies, for example Under Suspicion with Morgan Freeman, and Gene Hackman. The game takes place in Paris – it was my sister’s idea – she lives in Paris, and knows the city very well – she designed most of the in-game locations.
TechRaptor: What will the gameplay for Bohemian Killing be like?
Martin: The gameplay is similar to the Gone Home‘s – player can walk around the city in first person perspective, and interact with different objects. The story is set within two time frames. In the present, you find yourself locked up in the courtroom. You’re getting acquainted with the evidence, witness testimony and questions posed by the Judge. Each question triggers a flashback – and begins your testimony. During the flashback you find yourself in a Parisian district, with each of your decisions, interactions and action affecting Alfred Ethons’ testimony and the final verdict.
TechRaptor: You describe Bohemian Killing as a “courtroom drama,” how much of the game is actually spent in the court?
Martin: In case of storyline, the whole game takes place in the courtroom – but as I said before you testify in the “flashback mode”. So in case of pure gameplay there’s 1-2 hours of gameplay in the courtroom, and additional 4-6 hours during the flashbacks.
TechRaptor: The game is said to be non-linear, can you elaborate on just what that means?
Martin: For example – A neighbor testified that at approximately 10 p.m. he passed you in the entrance of the tenement house, noticing that your clothes were covered in blood. You can try testifying that your neighbor lies and prove that he has a reason to do so. Or you can get into a bar fight just a few minutes before, so that you can testify that the blood the neighbor saw was yours, and not the victim’s. Also you can cut yourself while shaving, covering your clothes with blood that the neighbor sees later. These are just a few possibilities.
TechRaptor: How many different outcomes will the trial have?
Martin: There are around 10 different endings (around, because the judge has his AI, and can decide the verdict himself, based on your actions during the game; and some verdicts are made from a few parts).
TechRaptor: Just how in-depth is the system for influencing testimony?
Martin: The player can deny, lie, mislead, manipulate evidence, blame other people or look for mitigating circumstances. Or you can try to pretand that you are mentally unbalanced. Or just admit that you are a psychopathic killer – it’s all up to the player.
TechRaptor: Steampunk is a fairly popular genre of speculative fiction, but there doesn’t seem to be many true steampunk video games. Why do you think this is?
Martin: I can think of a few popular steampunk games – for example Dishonored, Arcanum, Bioshock Infinite, Syberia, or The Order 1886. But in fact, post-apo, or fantasy, or a hard-core sci-fi is more popular in games, and I deeply regret this – steampunk is one of my top favorite genres.
TechRaptor: And finally, when can we expect Bohemian Killing to release?
Martin: Bohemian Killing will be released both retail, and digital version in early July.
TechRaptor: Thank you for your time.