There are two ways in which you can design a murder-mystery game.
It can of course be done in the style of Cluedo, but if you actually analyse that game, it shows it’s more about logic than anything else.
Those type of murder mystery games are about people saying “it wasn’t in the conservatory but it must have been done with a knife and either by Colonel Mustard or Miss Scarlett”. There’s more of a card game element to that than a story.
But the other way of designing a murder mystery game – the one that we chose to do – is to make it like a murder mystery TV show, with a narrative that plays through.
We have professional writers on board who are working on the murder mystery narrative, but we didn’t explicitly research these types of TV shows because, at the risk of sounding over-confident, we have seen a lot of them throughout our lives. We understand the premise and how they’re constructed.
Everybody knows these shows, and we hope Blue Toad Murder Files will appeal to everyone – it’s certainly designed with everyone in mind.
There’s no opening hour of trying to figure out what to do, or anything like that. Our goal is to get people to dive in, start thinking about alibis, start thinking about the sort of things people will be familiar with already.
In terms of complexity, we tried some scenarios where we were very subtle with the storyline and people picking up on clues, but it turned out that you have to be more obvious, otherwise people miss things.
We wanted to keep things entertaining, not too studious, and – crucially for a game – allow people to have a bit of fun with it.