The world’s greatest detective who isn’t Batman will once again tangle with the many-tentacled forces of darkness in an upcoming remake of Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. It serves as a sequel of sorts to Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, although they’re calling it a “full remake and substantial rewrite” of the original. There isn’t a trailer just yet, so feel free to anticipate that while you refresh your memory of exactly who Sherlock Holmes is by watching one for Chapter One below.
The Awakened follows on from Chapter One by finding out what young Sherl is up to now he’s returned to London. It’s his first major case, y’see. Oh and hey, Watson’s back! Except this is their meet-cute investigation now. Let’s just blame the dark god Cthulhu and his followers, who Holmes and Watson have to contend with while they search for a missing person. You’ll travel with the dynamic duo who aren’t Batman and Robin to London, Switzerland, New Orleans and the Scottish Highlands.
The developers have been thinking of remaking The Awakened for a while now, but felt this was the perfect time. Frogwares say that the case will serve as the catalyst for Holmes to become the person we all know and find slightly irritating. For Watson and Holmes, it’ll prove to be “a profound and haunting experience that essentially brings them together”. Bad boys for life, dear Watson.
“So we’ve always wanted to remake this game at some point, but the war has forced us into making it now,” producer Denys Chebotarov said. “By working on a title that has the bulk of its content, scope and narrative all locked in place after just a few weeks, we are giving ourselves a much more predictable and structured development cycle. And stability and predictability is exactly what we need right now while the rest of our days remain so uncertain.”
This version of The Awakened isn’t the game you may have played years before, even if it superficially resembles it. None of the earlier game’s code or assets are being used. Instead, Frogwares say they’ve been able to “cleverly rework” some of the assets from Chapter One for this Unreal Engine 4 remake. Although the story and cases from 2007’s The Awakened will mostly remain intact, feature designers team lead Jaroslav Martyniuk says that they’re “adding entirely new gameplay mechanics while reworking the original ones to expand the ways players will be solving the cases”. There’ll be entirely fresh voice-acting too, plus changes to the third-person camera and – yay – extra side-quests.
Frogwares have announced they’ll be funding part of The Awakened remake’s development through a Kickstarter campaign. Like other Ukrainian developers, Frogwares have been through some difficult realities this year. They’ve also had to contend with publication issues around 2019’s similarly Lovecraftian The Sinking City, which arose from a dispute with publisher Nacon. It got to the point where Frogwares actually asked people not to buy the game on Steam.
Alice Bee enjoyed her time playing the previous entry in the series for her Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One review. “This is a game in which I made an inflatable sex doll for an elephant!” she said. “Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is somehow both the best game that I have ever played while also being as smart as a bag of rocks.” Typical Conan Doyle with his elephant sex dolls.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened doesn't have a release window just yet but you can expect to play it on PC, although it’ll be coming to Xboxes, PlayStations and Nintendo Switch too. I’ll let you know when the first trailer awakens. If you fancy checking out the original then you can find it on Steam and GOG for £9/$10/€10.