Over at Auroch Digital the team have a vision for the future of gaming that is different to any other that we’ve seen. Fresh off the back of creating a Chainsaw Warrior adaptation for PC, iOS and Android, the team now look to Whitechapel for inspiration.
Its latest title, JtR125, looks to provide a marriage of gaming and documentary to create a historically accurate insight into the chilling reign of terror held by Jack the Ripper over 19th century London…
125 years ago Jack the Ripper became one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. Over a period of just a few months Jack the Ripper murdered at least five women in Whitechapel, in a series of crimes that to this day have never been sold. In JtR125 the player takes on the role of an artist for an illustrated weekly newspaper of the period, piecing together the crimes committed by retracing the witness' steps and examining evidence, using real witness statements and documented evidence.
THE ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPERS THAT INSPIRED THE GAME'S AESTHETIC
Auroch Digital’s Tomas Rawlings said that the aim with JtR125 is to bridge the gap between gaming and the educational aspects of a documentary. He believes that “this will hopefully establish that gaming can be taken as a serious format for dealing with serious issues and topics. Perhaps it can be held up to users who denigrate gaming.”
Running on the Unity engine, JtR125 uses a unique visual style adopted from the pictorial newspapers of the era. This has been created to give the impression that you are viewing the events of the crimes as if you were a reader of a newspaper, picturing the events in 3D. Rawlings described it as “engaging with life in London in 1888 as an everyday citizen, experiencing the panic and fear prevalent in society.” The papers themselves were fairly graphic in nature; this was of course at a time when crowds would arrive for public executions or to observe inquests into every gory detail.
Playing as an artist for The Illustrated Police News, you must speak to witnesses to uncover the events of the Jack the Ripper stories, piecing together the events of each evening. Auroch Digital are also planning to potentially include crowdsourcing in a similar manner to The Walking Dead’s post-chapter results screen. For example you may receive the evidence at the inquest of Catherine Eddowes and decide whether you think Jack the Ripper is surgically trained. Your results could be compared to other users and help to narrow down your list of suspects.
Jack the Ripper’s crimes were unanimously brutal in nature, so this hand- carved aesthetic allows the team at Auroch Digital to portray the crime scenes without resorting to the barbaric details. That’s not to say that JtR125 will shy away from the graphic details of the events, but it’s a topic that can prove controversial. Rawlings was keen to point out that the title is being to an ethics panel, in what he believes is a first for gaming. “There are still relatives of these victims out there so it’s a matter of ethics that we look at what we are doing and whether it’s acceptable. To this end the murder scenes have been recreated as they were in the newspapers, rather than the early-day crime scene photographs that were taken.”
Going down the documentary route has meant Auroch Digital targeting a feature-length approach. Rawlings believes that gaming as a medium is still very much in its infancy and has yet to settle on a desired length, but he believes that gaming will eventually adopt a similar format to that seen in the film industry.
Do you think the unique documentary and game fusion will help JtR125 stand out from the crowd?
What other historical events would be perfect for converting into the format?
Let us know below!