Solving crimes is hard enough for a private eye, but it's especially so when you need to keep your own business afloat too. There will be no forsaking one for the other next year when indie developer General Interactive releases its cyber-noir adventure/management sim hybrid Chinatown Detective Agency.
It's 2032, and the "world is in a state of chaotic flux as the global economy is nearing the nadir of its decade-long downward spiral." One of the last remaining bastions of order is Singapore, but due to underfunding for law enforcement, "even here, the government is struggling to keep the nation state from the brink of collapse." Those who can afford it turn not to the police but to private detectives in order to fine "a semblance of justice."
Against this backdrop, players assume the role of Amira Darma, a former INTERPOL agent who became disillusioned with the "crumbling effectiveness of the organization" and left to open the Chinatown Detective Agency in a "small 2nd floor office." Amira is "intelligent, resourceful and most importantly, insightful," attributes which, along with her "attention to detail and unquenchable curiosity were all key to her success as an investigator, and will be valuable assets in her new life as a P.I." She's going to have to be at the top of her game as she travels "all over the world in hot pursuit of criminals, persons of interest and valuable objects," while also balancing the company's business interests at home. Along the way, she will even "untangle a web of conspiracies and plots that threaten to push the Lion City over the edge."
Inspired by the globetrotting adventures of Carmen Sandiego in the '80s and '90s, Chinatown Detective Agency is a retro-styled pixel art adventure that sends players to approximately 50 locations throughout Singapore and around the world. Driven by its story, the game will have a central narrative arc revolving around your pursuit of "a malign individual with evil intentions," but "most" of your time will spent on a variety of subplots. In between researching clues and investigating leads, it is up to you to keep the office operating, so you will need to "manage the agency's resources" and decide which cases to take on, from clients "both well-intentioned and shadowy."
There is no firm release date just yet, but Chinatown Detective Agency is due to launch on Steam for Windows and Mac in 2020. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game through the official website.