There are few words to describe how excited I am for Murderous Muses, but I’ll try. When I think of all the games coming out this year, and even beyond, it is what I want the most. I feel a deep pull towards it. I need it in my life. The developer (D’Avekki Studios) is a good part of the reason why I’ve fallen head over heels for FMV games (and a big part of what I call the FMV renaissance), and Murderous Muses is doing something different by combining video with procedurally-generated locations. And now there’s a launch date to look forward to!
It’s been a year since Mordechai Grey was murdered, and his killer(s?) is yet to be caught. In tribute to the artist, Gallery Argenta is holding an exhibit with six of his most famous portraits. These portraits also happen to be of the six prime suspects, the titular Murderous Muses. The goal of the game is to solve a murder by spending three reality-shifting nights in a haunted art gallery. Play as the nighttime security guard in a gallery where the paintings come to life at night, fuelled by the mysterious ‘Eyes of Mordechai.’ See through the artist’s eyes to question suspects, unlock police interviews, and uncover just who is the murderous muse.
The murderer is random with each playthrough, as is the gallery. The developer has done this “random murderer” thing in past titles, always quite successfully in my eyes. The murderer is selected randomly at the beginning, and working out who it is involves deduction using the evidence. While each playthrough will last a few hours, the game has near-infinite replay and will require multiple replays to uncover the full story.
A bit more about D’Avekki Studios: it’s a small indie game studio run by husband and wife team Tim and Lynda Cowles. They got their start writing best-selling murder mystery dinner party games before coming into the video game space with The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker. That was followed up with two games in the same series, The Shapeshifting Detective and Dark Nights with Poe and Munro. Earlier I mentioned that D’Avekki is quite responsible for my love of FMV games, and that started at the beginning with Doctor Dekker. The madness. The murder. The intrigue. All of these are elements that I expect to find in Murderous Muses, too.
So while D’Avekki has done FMV games before, Murderous Muses is a bit different. In a press release, studio director Tim Cowles says, “Creating a 3D FMV adventure game has been a whole new world for us and the most fun to make and play so far. It’s something we’ve wanted to do ever since playing Phantasmagoria and Under A Killing Moon back in the ‘90s and I’m grateful that tools like Unity have allowed our tiny team to level up!”
Developed and published by D’Avekki Studios, Murderous Muses will be released for PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One on April 12.