If you’re reading this, somehow The Sexy Brutale has shown up on your radar. So, we want to take this opportunity to provide a little background on what the game is about, how it came to be made, and what we hope players will (we hope!) enjoy about it.
The Sexy Brutale is a murder mystery with a large cast of characters who live (and die, horribly) over the course of a single day in the mansion. It’s a game about observation and puzzle solving — but more than anything else it’s a game about time. There’s a lot more to the story itself (and I really hope you enjoy the story) but it’s the mechanics and impact of time that’s the backbone of the experience.
Charles, Tom, and myself (the three founders of Cavalier Game Studios) have loved games that create a sense of place, where you can go to hang out as well as play. We found games that have excelled in this regard used time or schedules as a part of their design.
The scheduled parts of a game we loved were a smaller slice of a much larger experience. For example, the amazing Majora’s Mask’s Clock Town. But there were also titles where almost everything ran according to the clock that also created that same depth of appeal for us. Games like Animal Crossing (pigeon milk, anyone?), Harvest Moon, ChuLip and of course the mighty, mighty Gregory Horror Show (which is both phenomenal and near-unplayable at times) all struck a deep chord with us. We wanted to do something that tried to combine the best parts of these classics while trying to minimize any of the more frustrating aspects.
The The Sexy Brutale mansion and all events in it were built from the ground up with the central idea of making time at the heart of it all. As a small team (even with Tequila Work’s support) we knew we would never be able to create an enormous, sprawling world. So we tried to find the right “density” by creating a mansion with different things happening at different times. It may only take a minute to explore a room, but if what was happening in that room depends on what time of day it was when you entered… then suddenly you don’t just have a set amount of geography to explore, you have a whole “day” to spend wherever you like as you try to uncover the mysteries in the house.
Figuring out the mechanics of how time would work was a huge technical challenge. Putting all the characters onto a schedule and making sure everyone was where they needed to be was an enormous design challenge. Creating a story that made sense of everything and gave players a mystery to sink their teeth into was a massive narrative challenge as well.
But putting it all together? That was when things really got complicated. We’ve done our best and it seems like players are enjoying the game so far. And if you decide to book a stay at The Sexy Brutale, we hope you’ll enjoy your time…