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Frogwares reveal wet survival horror sequel The Sinking City 2, taking the dev "in a newer direction" in 2025

Get ready for more Lovecraftian fish frightens next year

A screenshot from the reveal trailer for The Sinking City 2, showing a man from behind as he looks up as a huge monster
Image credit: Frogwares

Frogwares finally regained sole control of The Sinking City in January, after years of dispute, and have wasted no time in now revealing a sequel, with an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for a "safety net", coming in 2025. The new and extremely damp survival horror game, set in a heavily flooded New England city in the 1920s, is pivoting the studio to a "'horror-first' focus with gameplay primarily built around combat, exploration and its Lovecraftian setting and story". This is a step away from the studio's mainstay, the Sherlock Holmes detective games, and I am uncertain about the choice. But let's peer through the weeds a bit further.

They're not doing away with detection entirely though. You can still do detection-ing in the game, but it's optional, "offering tangible gameplay bonuses and eureka moments without it being a requirement to progress", per executive producer Denys Chebotarov. So if you bother to investigate things you're more likely to find other options for progression, that kind of kidney. The emphasis here is more on shooting monsters will antique guns, and scrounging up useful bits and pieces of debris to stash in your limited inventory.

There's also "a morally grey and captivating story" with all cults and mutants and giant, weirdly ripped octopus lads - Lovecraft, innit (which, I should point out, I had some issues with in the first game). The Sinking City 2 is a separate and stand-alone story from the original game, with what seems to be a different protagonist, if the spooky-ooky cinematic trailer is anything to go by. A new protagonist makes sense, becuase the original protagonist was a private investigator, and it's quite hard to make detection optional when you're one of those.

The city in the title is a different one too, that being Arkham, while the original game was set in Oakmont. The vibes sound like they'll be very similar though, i.e. everything is flooded, with the presser mentioning "decaying mansions, flooded markets and abandoned hospitals". Broadly, I am very on board. The trailer dude looks like a salt-of-the-earth type, there are fish monsters, there's a horror train and a crying siren-esque lady. I like this studio and my soft spot for their games is prominent enough that, were you in a boss fight with me, it would be a big glowing target on my tummy.

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Yet. The Sinking City's combat was the worst system in it, whereas Frogwares are very good at the detective-y stuff (though, the combat in Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One was way better than previous fighty efforts). Publishing director Sergiy Oganesyan says "we need to start taking bolder moves. The industry is changing around us and we want to secure the studio’s future," which I think is an admirable sentiment, but I would argue that making a horror game and then smushing your detective stuff in there in case it turns off your established fans isn't a bold move; I loved Banishers and that doesn't have optional time travel through ye olde poloroid photos.

At the same time, I totally get that Frogwares would also be risk averse. They've had a bad experience with a publishing partnership, and, oh yeah, they're a Ukranian studio and there's a fucking war going on - hence the aforementioned Kickstarter, which they did with Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. My ideal scenario would be that they have one team working on a Young Sherlock detective game and another working on a pure horror game, but everything's for the best in the best of all possible worlds. The length of this post belies how few details about The Sinking City 2 exist. We'll probably see more over the year, before it's out in 2025.

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