I spend much of my time playing, writing & reading about video games, but inevitably, some games just slip by; BlackSad: Under The Skin may have ended up being one of those games. Thankfully, this will not be the case & I wanted to share what I believe may become one of 2019’s hidden gems. I came across Blacksad several months ago, ignorant of the characters’ graphic novel pedigree & was instantly sold on the concept. From the small amount of gameplay I’ve seen, I’m convinced that BlackSad may be the next great detective game.
As I mentioned above, BlackSad: Under The Skin is based on series of graphic novels of the same name. Set in 1950’s New York City, you play John BlackSad, an anthropomorphic cat detective, investigating the disappearance of an up-and-coming boxer, Robert Yale. This case will take the hard-boiled gumshoe through the seedy underworld of New York & won’t shy away from the controversial topics that plagued the decade, like McCarthyism, racism & institutional corruption.
The world of BlackSad isn’t like our own; there are no human characters. Instead, the citizens of New York are all anthropomorphic animals that share the characteristics & personalities of their role. The game is being developed by Pandulo, Spain’s premier game developer, who describes BlackSad: Under The Skin as an “adventure -- investigation” game that takes inspiration from classic point & click adventures.
Adapting a graphic novel is never easy & there’s a lot that can go wrong. BlackSad already has a dedicated fanbase, but the character may be relatively unknown to many gamers. Finding the right balance between serving an installed fanbase & introducing the IP to a new audience is a challenge in itself. Bringing what only existed on the pages of a graphic novel to life requires painstaking detail to the characters, dialogue, setting & most importantly, a suitable musical score to accompany the theme of the game. If all these prerequisites are fulfilled, both parties should be satisfied.
Fans of Telltale should take to Blacksad: Under The Skin like a duck to water, as the game features both dialogue wheels & action scenes which play out using quick-time events. As John Blacksad, you’ll investigate crime scenes, interrogate persons of interest & deal out rough justice to anyone dumb enough to cross you. From the trailer below you can see that Pandulo is taking the source material very seriously.
BlackSad: Under The Skin isn’t a triple-A game & hasn’t garnered much attention from the gaming media, but here at KeenGamer, we like to shine a light on those lesser known titles. I look forward to its release, but I understand that games like Star Wars Jed: Fallen Order & Death Stranding will overshadow this promising noir adventure. This kind of game doesn’t come around that often; a recent example of this genre done right is Night Call, in-which you play a taxi driver moonlighting as an investigator, on the heels of a Parisian serial killer.
I hope that I’ve managed to tweak your interest in BlackSad: Under The Skin. If you’re looking to get some background on the characters, I recommend picking up the graphic novels; they’re a fantastic read & the artwork oozes with noir style charm. BlackSad: Under The Skin was originally set to release on September 26th, but will now release November 5th for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & PC.