Most gamers are familiar with the “choose your own adventure” concept, where critical choices made during play change the course of the narrative. Jenny LeClue
, indie developer Mografi
's newly-announced 2.5D point-and-click title, is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter
and aspires to bring some traditional adventure gameplay and a collaborative “metanarrative” element to the traditional gamebook mechanic.
Planned as a trilogy, the game follows titular protagonist Jenny LeClue, a young gumshoe who’s tired of her boring cases in the city of Arthurton and longs for a tougher case to crack. She’s granted this wish in dubious fashion when her mother is accused of murdering the Dean of Gumboldt University, and Jenny is the only one with the detective chops to come to her mother’s defense and uncover both the truth behind the killing and the dark secrets lurking in Arthurton.
Although the focus of the game is to be the mysterious plot, players can expect to see some typical adventure gaming tasks, such as interrogations, inventory puzzles, and minigames such as guiding Jenny from one location to another on her bicycle. However, there are a few innovations that Mografi hopes will spice things up, such as the ability to upgrade items, like Jenny’s trusty flashlight, or purchase new items like x-ray glasses, in order to gain new abilities that will aid Jenny in her quest to solve the crime. Interrogations will also have a twist, with Jenny able to observe the subject for visible clues that might reveal their guilt or innocence that would otherwise go undetected.
The standout feature of Jenny LeClue
, however, is the developer’s approach to the story. The “author” of Jenny’s adventures, Arthur K Finkelstein, is available to help if you are stuck, but his presence also allows you to change the story to a degree. At various points during the game, you will have to make a choice as to what action Jenny takes next on her journey. Instead of being limited to your own game, though, the decision you make will be fed to a database containing the choices that all
the game’s players have made. According to the developers, this will enable players to permanently influence subsequent chapters of the story, essentially “writing” the story collaboratively. Although Mografi indicate that “bits of the less-popular choices” may be brought back in future episodes, for the most part they will “go away.”
Mografi is currently seeking $65,000 on Kickstarter to fund the first episode, though stretch goals may allow additional episodes to be financed by the campaign. Gamers have until August 21st to grab their $15 copy of “every episode” that receives funding. The game is scheduled to be released in December 2016, on PC, Mac, and Linux, with support for other platforms planned after launch. More information can be found at the official Kickstarter page