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The Sinking City 2 ditches detective work for survival horror as Frogwares seeks to 'reinvent' itself

 The Sinking City 2 screenshot - An angry fishman.
The Sinking City 2 screenshot - An angry fishman.

Just a couple months after settling its dispute with Nacon over Lovecraft detective game The Sinking City, Ukrainian studio Frogwares has announced that a sequel is in the works. But it's going in a different direction with The Sinking City 2: This time around, it's a survival horror game.

Revealed at today's Xbox Partner Preview showcase, The Sinking City 2 is set in the infamous fictional town of Arkham, and will focus on exploration, combat, and the all-important skill of not dying. Investigation and detective work will enable players to "discover secrets, alternate options, and more lore," but rather than being the focus of gameplay as it is in The Sinking City, in the new game it will be entirely optional.

"We want investigation to be a beneficial part of the game but just for those who want it, offering tangible gameplay bonuses and 'eureka' moments without it being a requirement to progress," executive producer Denys Chebotarov said. "By taking time to piece together clues, you’ll arm yourself with more knowledge and awareness of your options vs just coming across them by chance.

"We are also doing this for our existing fans who have come to love this feature from us, so they don't feel left out. For those not keen on combat and survival-horror mechanics, we will also have various accessibility features to help."

Frogwares said it's embracing survival horror for The Sinking City 2 in order to "reinvent" the studio and evolve beyond the detective adventure games it's known for. "We need to start taking bolder moves," publishing director Sergiy Oganesyan said. "The industry is changing around us and we want to secure the studio's future."

Development of The Sinking City 2 will be supported by an upcoming Kickstarter campaign that will enable additional features and provide "a safety net" to help deal with issues related to the ongoing invasion by Russia, like power cuts or the need to relocate quickly. Frogwares said the financial backstop provided by the Kickstarter for Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened "proved invaluable to us," and it needs to do the same with The Sinking City 2 "as this game is vastly bigger and more complex."

The genre shift is unexpected, but that doesn't mean it can't work: Remedy made a similar move with Alan Wake 2 and that worked out pretty well. The Sinking City 2 is being developed for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, and is expected to be out in 2025. It's up for wishlisting now on Steam.