Peter Triezenberg
E3 2017: A Case of Distrust Preview
Trust in me.
06.21.17 - 5:28 PM

Set against the backdrop of San Francisco in the year 1924, A Case of Distrust is a mystery adventure game that comes to us courtesy of Ben Wander, who previously worked on Dragon Age: Inquisition, with music from Mark Wilson of LA Noire fame. The game draws its inspiration from famous mystery novels and noir fiction, combining a serious Agatha Christie vibe with gameplay that takes cues from the Ace Attorney series. The promise of unraveling a good mystery is a tantalizing prospect indeed, and from what we saw on the show floor, A Case for Distrust is a promising addition to the adventure game fold.

Players assume the role of Phyllis Malone, an ex-cop who now works as a private investigator. The demo we played took place in Phyllis's apartment, where we were presented with an immediate objective: convince the stray cat that hangs around the apartment that no, really, the out of work detective doesn't have any extra food to give out. It was a humorous scenario, to be sure, but it provided an opportunity to showcase the game's strong writing. Clicking on items around Phyllis's apartment brings up paragraphs of text that describe the item itself and provide insight into her personal history, talking about her time on the force and other tidbits of information. These text blurbs are really well written, as are the dialogue options that come up later on. Clicking on items also adds them to a notebook, which provides a log of evidence that can be referenced at any time (Miles Edgeworth would be proud).

Showing the cat the empty refrigerator, Phyllis is able to contradict the animal's assumption that some food is there, taking a page out of Danganronpa's book. At this point, our plot hook reveals itself as a shady character known as Mr. Green knocks on Phyllis's door to present her with a case. Upon leaving the apartment to follow up on Green's case and acquire some leads, Phyllis is presented with a map of San Francisco, which the developers promised would have numerous locations for the player to visit and investigate over the course of the game.

With an intriguing premise and sharp writing, A Case of Distrust definitely shows promise. If the game can deliver a compelling story to accompany its prosaic dialogue and aesthetic charm, then adventure game fans will be in for a treat. A Case of Distrust will be coming out on PC and Macintosh later this year.