Soon adventure gamers can step into the shoes of a bookstore owner who finds himself embroiled in a bizarre otherworldly mystery. No, sorry, it's not a new Gabriel Knight mystery, but rather the localized English version of Arrowiz's Hermitage: Strange Case Files, a Chinese visual novel-styled adventure coming later this year to PC and consoles.
The game is named after a "sinister bookstore that attracts most unusual customers – all of whom seem to be involved in mysterious cases bordering on the paranormal." Players control the "less than motivated bookshop owner, a former anthropology professor who for unknown reasons has never been seen outside of the bookstore." When a series of "horrific incidents" befalls the city, you set out to solve them with the assistance of a "hacker genius on the run, a self-proclaimed detective and a short-tempered legal consultant." Along with good old-fashioned detective work, perhaps the "supernatural horrors that lurk between the pages of Hermitage's Lovecraftian book collection" will yield some clues into the dark events unfolding.
Although described as a "paranormal horror adventure," Hermitage largely plays out like a traditional visual novel-styled detective story with a degree of freedom to shape the investigation as you see fit. You must track down leads by "interviewing characters and choosing an approach that fits the target's personality, while intel is gathered through dialogues, TV news, web forums, phone messages and emails." As you progress you will unlock various "character skills" that you will be tested on at certain times throughout the game. Through the use of your pinboard to "link and analyze characters and events," you must form an airtight argument to prove your deductions or your case "might just take a turn for the worse."
Originally a Chinese exclusive, the English translation for Hermitage: Strange Case Files is underway and we should see the game launched on Steam for Windows PC by the end of the year, along with as-yet-unspecified console ports.