(Check out our interview with the developer here)

While coming across brand new projects is one of the great things about game shows, it’s nice to also be able to touch base with the familiar. I’ve written pieces about Tokyo Dark in the past, but at TGS 2016 I was able to finally get a look at the product to see how it’s coming along.

Tokyo Dark is, as Maho Williams of Cherrymochi puts it, a “fusion between western-style point-and-click adventures and Japanese-style visual novels.” Set in the dark, gritty side of Tokyo that most tourists might never come across, Detective Ito is searching for her partner, who has been missing for a while. While walking through the streets, players can mouse over many objects to get an interactive menu of what to do. The streets are lonely and dark, save for the bright neon buzz of any number of izakayas and hostess clubs.

As Detective Ito continues her investigation, she’ll have to interact with plenty of people on the streets or in shops, as well. The search requires her to get more information, after all. But depending on the actions she takes, her personality begins to shift according to the SPIN system – Sanity, Professionalism, Investigation, and Neurosis make up the stats that guide her search. It adds “kind of a roleplaying element…characters reactions to Ayami will be different.” Play the hard-boiled detective in a sleazy bar and the staff will be less willing to work with her than if she’s willing to knock back a drink at the cost of some of her professionalism.

Every little action affects these SPIN attributes in some way, and even doing something like looking at a sign can help add to the investigation, and the stats can be checked at any time. The choices made will lead to several different possible paths down the story, and I was told that it’s not just the endings that are different. Ayami’s journey can lead down a number of different possibilities all based on invisible flowcharts in the background.

scene1

The demo on the floor was short enough that it only allowed a small glimpse of how things can play out differently as I was forced to get information in different ways than other players, and the conclusion had numerous possible outcomes. But the visceral, grim tone of the overall story was clear. It was no surprise to learn that the influences for the game, both from the west and the east, also had this aesthetic going, with primary examples being the Blackwell series and the Japanese light novel series known as When the Cicadas Cry, combining the slightly cute artistic style with the darker tones of the story.

For more information on Tokyo Dark, check out the official website.

About The Author