Soulbound Games wants to go from working part time on their side-scrolling, noir-inspired murder mystery game, Renoir, to working full time on the game. In order to do so they had to take their concept to Kickstarter where they hope gamers on PC and home console are in the mood for something that pays homage to the 1940s hard-nosed detective stories while taking full advantage of the Unreal Engine 4’s capabilities.
The game follows James Renoir, a private investigator who ends up biting a bullet while working a case. His body is dumped in a ditch. He wakes up near a flaming car after being killed and players will attempt to solve their own murder. Yes, it’s similar to Murdered: Soul Suspect, where a similar concept was employed. You can see the game’s pitch video below where the developers explain what they’re aiming to do with the game.
An interesting element in the game is being able to force the souls of victims to help during certain puzzle segments. In one scene we see Renoir use two dead souls to disable a light and turn off a steam pipe.
The reason the lights have to be disabled is because James has to avoid direct light. It’s one of his weaknesses in the game after winding up dead. It’s a little like the reverse situation of Alan Wake, where players are in control of one of the specters trying to avoid facing the bright lights of life.
The game has a really cool look to it and the use of the Unreal Engine 4’s smoke particles, dynamic monochromatic lighting system and parallax layered backgrounds really makes the game pop and come to life, even as a side-scroller. I especially liked the scene where he was in the smoky bar while the band played in the back.
If the entire game is painted with the same kind of visual nuance and atmospheric density present in the Kickstarter trailer then this could easily be a fan-favorite platformer for ages to come. It also reminds me a little bit of the other noir crime-caper called Nosebound.
Another highlight is just how amazingly animated the characters are. They move with a very realistic sense of fluidity, which is oftentimes rare in games like this. In a way, I kind of wish Hatred had this kind of depth to its presentation, as it could have made the game a lot more engaging as opposed to just being a generic black and white shooter.
Anyway, if you like what Soulbound Games is doing with Renoir, you can contribute to their $61,279 goal by paying a visit to the official Kickstarter page. If you don’t have any money to spare you can still help the game out by upvoting and favoriting it over on Steam Greenlight. If all goes as planned, the game is set to arrive for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2017.