A mystery worth uncovering, an eerie atmosphere, choices by players having a direct effect on the story, and a unique message about human nature, all in one video game. Jenny LeClue from developer Mografi promises to have a lot to offer young players and their parents.
The adventure game, currently planned for release in 2016, tells the story of brilliant young detective Jenny as she tries to find out the truth behind a crime her mother is accused of.
Along the way she’ll have to be smart and stealthy to discover clues and unravel the mystery. But will she find herself getting into more than she bargained for?
A Love of Mysteries
“I do have a love for crime procedurals and movies like Clue, and the idea for Jenny LeClue sprouted out of that love,” says Mografi’s Joe Russ, who drives the game’s development. “The idea started as a seed and slowly grew and expanded into the story world of Arthurton and Jenny LeClue.”
Russ also cites several video games as influences, such as Kentucky Route Zero, Ghost Trick, and survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. “What’s interesting to me are engaging characters and an atmospheric story world,” says Russ, “and we want the gameplay elements to support that focus on storytelling.”
But don’t let the spooky tone fool you into thinking this is a game kids should avoid. In fact, Russ hopes kids who adore Harry Potter and The Hunger Games will find something to love about Jenny LeClue as well.
“I hope kids will find their own meaning in the story,” Russ says. “One of the themes we are exploring is understanding the complexity of human nature and that no one is just one thing. No one is perfect. No one is pure evil. We all have varying levels of moral ambiguity.”
Choose Jenny’s Adventure
LeClue is also attempting something new: letting the choices of all players have an impact on how the next chapter will unfold.
“We are still working on the exact functionality, but the idea is that players will have a certain period of time in which they can vote on key choices that effect the story,” explains Russ. “We will use the majority vote to determine how we change and rewrite parts of the story going forward based on this choice. We will also be tracking other choices players make within their adventure and use that knowledge to influence other ways the story evolves.”
Does that mean once you choose Jenny’s adventure, you won’t be able to undo that choice if you feel you’ve made a mistake? In a way. In your playthrough of the game, you’ll likely be able to go back and try it a different way, but the overall story will be determined by those votes and some of the moves you make. “I’m interested in exploring that permanence as a choice in a game, and the shared sense of authorship, something I haven’t really seen attempted in other games,” Russ says.
Demo Available Now
A playable demo is now available on iOS, Windows, OS X, and Linux.
“It’s almost surreal to see people celebrating the Playable Teaser and getting even more excited for Episode One of Jenny LeClue,” says Russ. “It’s very humbling. Jenny LeClue is a project that our tiny team believes in whole-heartedly.”
You can already find Let’s Play videos on YouTube, almost all of which have been enthusiastic about the gameplay and puzzles.
And Mografi is watching and listening. “We’re getting useful feedback about things we can improve, like some of the controls,” Russ says. “And it’s great to see that we are successfully communicating the tone and atmosphere of Jenny LeClue’s world.
“We are pouring our hearts and minds into this project,” Russ continued, “and it just makes us even more excited and want to work even harder to build a rich and compelling story world, hopefully something that people can really connect with.”