Sherlock Holmes series developer Frogwares has revealed the existence of its next game.
It is currently untitled but the Ukraine-based studio, which is planning to relocate its developers to safety with help from an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games, is referring to it as Project Palianytsia. Alongside this working title, Frogwares has released four pieces of concept art to set up the game, which it calls “a mix of eldritch horror coupled with Victorian-era mystery.” It says the game is aimed at fans of The Sinking City and its Sherlock Holmes series.
“We are revealing the game now in this way to simply show people we are pushing on and also as a clear middle finger to those who thought they could just roll into our country hoping to disrupt and ruin our lives,” Frogwares communications manager Sergey Organesyan writes in a press release. “While still challenging, prior to this, everything we released during the war was existing projects that needed to be finalized. We are now making something almost entirely from scratch which is a lot harder under these circumstances so we needed to think smart about what is realistic for us. The idea was greenlit for this very reason as it is something our current team and setup can deliver compared to doing pre-production on another open-world title, which is what we were doing prior to the war.
“The name Palianytsia is symbolic to Ukraine as it’s considered part of our national cuisine. But it’s also the equivalent of phonetic Dark Souls for Russians who can’t pronounce it correctly when trying to pass off as Ukrainian. And so now it’s often used in the field as a test to quickly identify possible affiliation of unknown individuals.”
Alongside this press release, Frogwares has released a full statement in regards to the game’s announcement, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and why the studio needed to pivot from its open-world game to this new one. That is posted below, in full:
"The war keeps going. And so do we. A new game is in the works.
We are now reaching the 4th month of the Russian invasion. This so-called “special operation” was supposed to take only a few days to complete. Funny how life doesn’t always work out to plan. We have no doubt that Ukraine will remain an independent nation - no matter what the Russian forces throw at us. But because of the war, we have to adapt. And the work must continue. With that, we have an announcement to make.
We can now officially reveal that we are working on a new game, codenamed 'Palianytsia.' It’s a horror and mystery experience that fans of both The Sinking City and Sherlock Holmes should like. We’ll make a proper announcement soon, but for now, we have a few early concept pieces to share with you.
To be frank, 'Palianytsia' is not the project we had originally planned on doing next, but with the war taking place, we needed to re-evaluate everything. It is a bit more streamlined than our latest open-world titles but it’s a game we are sure we can deliver under these extreme circumstances.
As an independent studio, we always have to balance our resources and workflow to be able to deliver our games. But the war has thrown notable hurdles at us and our established process. Constant communication and iteration between teams is harder to maintain, so we need a project where staff can have more autonomy. Roles and responsibilities had to shift around to fill the gaps left by those who signed up to fight or provide humanitarian aid. And the threat that tomorrow something could happen somewhere or to someone that would force us to drastically adapt all over again means we need to be more flexible. With this in mind, we had a decision to make.
Do we go ahead with a large scope project and risk disruption, have less room for R&D and innovation, less access to your highly skilled staff, and have smaller pre-production and development of specific tools? Or perhaps we can be smarter about this, and create a project with an easier turnaround and a tighter scope - but still ambitious, packed with quality, and with great storytelling and mystery behind it. This way, we can not only make a new game, but do so while supporting those fighting.
We will be revealing more about our next title shortly. And, if you are interested, we’d like to give you a more detailed look into our lives and our work during a war. Perhaps it might bring you and us a little bit closer. We’re also looking at other ways to bring the game to you directly - more info on that soon.
Thank you for all your support during this time. Stay safe wherever you are.”
For more, read Game Informer’s running list of the game studios that have shown support for Ukraine.