Pendulo Studios and YS Interactive just announced an ambitious adaptation of the French graphic novel series Blacksad. The striking multi-volume string of mysteries and adventures from authors Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido follows the exploits of John Blacksad, a dedicated independent investigator who gets wrapped up in something bigger than another easily solved missing persons case. The series relies heavily on the hardboiled and noir genres with unique spins on tropes that should be instantly familiar to anyone who has watched films like John Huston's The Maltese Falcon or Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train. It's a rare genre to see in video games, with the only notable examples being LA Noir from Rockstar and another graphic novel adaptation, The Wolf Among Us.
Blacksad: Under the Skin takes place in an alternate version of 1950s New York City populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals. A strange series of disappearances and deaths take place around a boxing club in town. Joe Dunn, the owner of the club, is found dead in a possible suicide. The club's premier fighter, Bobby Yale, can't be found. With these two mysteries looming over the gym, Sonia Dunn, Joe's daughter, turns to John Blacksad to get to the bottom of whatever is going on.
How players wish to pursue the answers they need will have lasting consequences in this narrative adventure game. Depending on decisions made over the course of the investigation, the outcome could be wildly different. Characters will react differently to Blacksad if he chooses to play hardball instead of by the rules of the ever-shifting underworld he's about to enter. Sometimes to get to the bottom of nasty business, someone might have to get a bit dirty.
Honestly, Blacksad: Under the Skin looks really cool and fresh. There aren't a ton of games tackling this sort of subject matter, especially not through an anthropomorphic lens. It's interesting that the game, despite the silly visuals seems to be playing it all straight. The deadly serious tone of the game really makes it come together as an interesting project. Even though I haven't heard of either of the developers behind this adaptation of Blacksad before, it looks really competently made and boldly different. No matter how you cut it, that's exciting.
Blacksad: Under the Skin will be releasing for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC later this year on September 26. The game will feature full voice support for English, French and Spanish along with subtitles in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch. A collector's edition of the game will be available at launch that includes the base game along with an artbook and a resin statue of John Blacksad himself.
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