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Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One Release Date, Trailer, Story, And Setting - What We Know So Far

There's been plenty of media dedicated to Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective, Sherlock Holmes, including a whole series of video games from developer Frogwares. In May 2020, Frogwares revealed the ninth addition to the franchise, Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One.

The Chapter One announcement came during a rather tumultuous time at Frogwares, which still appears to be entrenched in a legal battle with former publisher Focus Home Interactive (as well as Nacon/Bigben Interactive over The Sinking City). Focus Home de-listed several of Frogwares' games from Sony and Microsoft's sites following a dispute, although you can currently purchase Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter

Some of the previous Sherlock Holmes games are still available on Steam, as they are published by Frogwares. Hopefully, the company can resolve the issues with its former publisher. Until then, it looks like Frogwares is determined to move forward by building up a new library of releases. Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is a prequel, designed for next-generation systems. It focuses on how a young, untamed sleuth became the famous, seasoned detective. Here's what we know about the title so far.

What is the release date for Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One?

Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One will release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC in 2021. Yes, that's right — the launch window is about a year long.

Frogwares producer and community manager Sergey Oganesyan told GameSpot in May 2020 that Chapter One had been in development for over a year at that point. Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the new Sherlock Holmes title appears to still be set for an on-time release despite the fact that it's going to be the largest game in the series to-date.

Oganesyan also told Gematsu at the end of August that Chapter One is currently in a pre-alpha state, and that viewers can expect a deep-dive into the gameplay elements in the December-January time frame.

Does Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One have a trailer?

At Gamescom 2020, Frogwares debuted a short "World of Crime" teaser that shares a bit of what gamers can expect from this new title. The video includes scenes depicting a person falling through a stained glass roof, strange and inhuman skeletons in a museum setting, knives stabbing some sort of wooden pillar, and ... an elephant execution?

Frogwares released a longer, more detailed look for 2020's virtual Comic Con in late July that explains a bit more about what players have to look forward to. In the video, Oganesyan discusses some of the gameplay: specifically, how it's possible for players undertake their own journeys while leveraging some of Holmes' deductive abilities. A whiteboard-style organizational chart offers some guidance, but it is possible for players to make incorrect decisions and condemn the innocent.

"When you find clues in our games, you can combine these clues and create a theory, a logical conclusion, and some theories are more obvious and require less thought — but obvious does not always mean direct," explained Oganesyan.

What is the story of Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One?

In Chapter One, you'll take on Holmes' first case in an open-world environment full of secrets. The game takes an open-ended approach to the investigations that the 21-year-old Holmes undertakes as he tries to prove himself on the island where his mother died.

According to a press release from Frogwares, Chapter One involves plenty of decision making, deception, and violence as Holmes addresses the concerns of various local groups. Plus, Holmes doesn't go it alone — he has a mysterious friend named Jon to help him out. Players will see Holmes's "youthful arrogance and naiveté" as he explores an entire city via clues, labels, rumors, disguises and pinned evidence. Holmes will also have access to weapons as he hunts for the truth.

Basically, the player has a lot of choice in Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, which will likely have unique effects on the narrative.

What is the setting of Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One?

Despite Holmes' status as a prominent London fixture, Chapter One marks a departure from that setting. The Mediterranean island where the story takes place bursts with beauty and history, but also hides crime and social inequality among groups such as British citizens and Ottoman descendants. This appears to be a place where where concepts of "justice" and "law" may come into conflict. 

Frogwares released a setting overview video along with its most recent Gamescom trailer, which elaborates more on the island and sheds some light on images seen in the shorter teaser. Apparently, the elephant is being put on trial, and the knives in the wooden pillar all represent vengeance. This still doesn't leave gamers with many answers, though.

During the overview, Oganesyan calls the island a "promise," stating, "Once you peek inside, the illusion breaks and you will see that the urban veneer of order and decorum hides too many dark secrets." The island definitely sounds like a perfect place for Holmes' impressive reasoning skills.