|A suspect being grilled in the interrogation room|
from the game, LA Noire by Rockstar Studios.
There's a strange thing that happens in the creative mind. Defeat doesn't dampen it's spirit, but makes it stretch its muscles and try again. While I was initially thinking about going back and touching up a few older concepts (such as the Wildpath System devised for the EN World 7-Day contest a few months ago), something else has arisen to occupy my time. For now.
I've been playing a lot of LA Noire for the past month and what I love (though I'm not very good at it) are the interrogation scenes. Reading facial expressions and holding people to direct evidence in a quest to obtain the truth and find the guilty party. Absolutely love it. Interrogation scenes can make for some of the best moments in a great series or movie (the best being those from the original BBC series, Cracker, with Robbie Coltraine) and I suddenly found myself wondering how to design a focused game for just such an idea.
The first thing you need to eliminate is any abstract mechanic for handling lies or intuition. While I'm sure one is possible, what I'm looking for is a challenging game of deception and mystery where an abstract mechanic, such as dice rolls, assists rather than informs. In other words, players have to think their way through this game.