What's better than one gritty neo-noir mystery on the foreseeable horizon? How about at least four such mysteries, the first being free? That is the goal of indie developer Iron Noir Soft's Joe Kowalski Chronicles, which is set to kick off later this year with a free prequel chapter.
Born in 1911 in a remote Polish village even he can't remember the name of, Joe survived the sinking of the Titanic on his way to America when he was just a year old, though his parents did not. Orphaned by the tragedy, Joe's youth was spent "fighting and getting beat up by hoodlums in the neighborhood," but as he grew older he decided to become a cop and later a detective. Each of the four (at least) planned episodes in the series will represent a distinct phase of Joe's life and career, with one or two crimes to solve per installment and around 60 minutes of gameplay. The prequel, Murder in a Flat, is a whodunit in which a grisly murder was committed by someone on the same floor of an apartment building.
Heavily inspired by classic film noir and games like Blade Runner, Discworld Noir, and more recent titles such as Face Noir and Blacksad, Joe Kowalski Chronicles is a third-person 3D adventure controlled entirely through point-and-click. Interaction will involve standard investigative mechanics, with hotspots bringing up a small action menu to choose from. Joe will also be able to draw his gun and shoot at times, and "action" scenes similar to those in Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy will appear occasionally, but such sequences will be rare, fairly basic, and skippable.
The first full commercial episode of Joe Kowalski Chronicles likely isn't due until early 2022, but the free prequel is coming along nicely and should be available sometime later this year. To follow its progress in the meantime, drop by the official website for additional details.