Crime Scene Specialist

Here’s an idea for a VR game:

You are a crime scene specialist, and you get called to crime scenes to find out what happened there. You need to use your expertise, your laboratories and colleagues to accurately reconstruct how the crime was committed.

In the first mode of the game, you get called to a crime scene. A crime scene is a room that you can move around in and that contains (apart from the crime scene, obviously), lots of stuff. This could be a hotel room, or a living room or a diner or whatever. Inside of that room, you can touch and inspect all the objects and look at everything from every angle. Note that some of the crime scenes might be quite gruesome, so this is definitely a game for adults. You can apply technology, like fingerprint dust or UV light to find blood, or DNA, or make a GUI in VB to trace the IP of the attacker, or whatever. You can take photos from every angle and with different lights and many more. You can also use your laboratories to send away any samples you’ve found for more information on them: DNA checks, fingerprint checks, blood checks, material composition checks… and many more. You can also use your colleagues (who can go out into the world) to do background checks, interview witnesses, canvas the neighbourhood, check surveillance tapes and do whatever cops usually do. But you can never leave the room yourself. However, you talk to yourself, in the form of a voiceover. Whenever you discover something, “your voice” will tell you clues and keep you engaged with the case. You’ll also talk to your colleagues in that voice, so that’ll be consistent (i.e. the player does an action and the voice comments or carries it out).

Whenever you have a theory of how the crime could have been done, you can enter the second mode of the game: reconstruction. In this mode, you can set up the scene and all participants, then puppeteer everything to reenact how the crime actually happened. If you can match many of the clues you found in the other mode with your simulation, you’ll eventually find out the truth of the case and solve it satisfactorily.

Your colleagues will then go out and catch the perp. Yay for you!

SPOILER ALERT: There’s a twist in the end.

The game sort-of follows the advances in crime scene technology. In the first case it’ll only be photos and looking at stuff. In the second it’ll be fingerprints, in the third it’ll be blood samples, in the fourth it’ll be DNA samples and so on. The settings will reflect this change, with the first scene set in the 60’s, then the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00s and then the 10’s. This also increases the difficulty because you have more different paths you could take. At the same time, simulation “technology” increases in realism. In the first case, you’ll only puppeteer people and will have to roughly line out how it could have happened to solve the crime. In each further case you’ll have to be more detailed, e.g. matching scratches and blood spatter successively closer. In the penultimate case, you’ll have full 3D visualisation of all people involved and will have to match every detail perfectly to solve it.

And then there’s the twist: In the last case, all you get to do is look at the crime scene. No laboratories, no colleagues, no equipment. Your reconstruction is prepared with two involved persons, the perpetrator and the victim. You’ll have to reenact how the crime happened simply from looking at the scene (but you may look as detailed as you want). The case is a simple one anyway, so you’ll be able to easily find a solution to how it happened. However, the simulation is different: you puppeteer the victim, but you have to act out the perpetrator yourself.

And then you get called to the final case: the inside of a jail cell. You may look at it as long and as detailed as you want, but there’s nothing else to do and no simulation either. The only thing you can do is return to the menu and turn off the game.

Of course, if you really paid attention, there’s foreshadowing: you’ll find one of your tools in one case, then probably fingerprints or DNA evidence, all summarily dismissed with some voiceover. “Hmm, must have dropped that here before, better pick it up!” or “Hah, it’s me, probably contaminated the scene” or “Damn, I got my prints on it again! Better not tell the boss!”. All of which are of course true, since you did get your DNA in the scenes whenever you did the crime. Conveniently, all the cases have a solution with a culprit that isn’t you.

And of course, the whole schema isn’t new: an investigator that is also the offender. There are probably other games that do a simulation of it. Certainly movies. However, we’re using VR to place the player into the shoes of the actual actor, and the game is designed around slowly leading the player into doing the crimes themselves. The simulation aspect will get more realistic during the game until it culminates in actually, quite realistically committing the last crime without any outside help. At that point, the culprit isn’t identified in the simulation, but instead the player has to act in their stead. In fact, they are committing the crime in that moment and they will be made to feel it that way right after it. The emotional impact of that setting should be much higher than other media can deliver.


If you want to make this game, go ahead. A writing credit would be appreciated.
If you want to make this game with me, let me know and we’ll do it!