Jim Walls boasts an origin story better befitting a superhero than a game designer. Traumatised by a shootout as a cop in Sierra On-line’s hometown, Walls was persuaded by studio owner Ken Williams to lead work on Police Quest, the adventure game that eventually spawned five sequels.
Now Walls is planning to come out of retirement for one last case: a first-person adventure game based on real policing.
The realism is all relative, of course: Precinct’s players will see more shootouts, high speed car chases and hand-to-hand combat than your average beat cop, but true to life, they’ll also be required to conduct investigations and solve puzzles using only the contents of their pockets.
“Jim is leading an effort to successfully combine original Sierra-style adventure with modern video game technology,” reads the pitch. “The Precinct team is poised to redefine the cop-game genre by making a game that both classic and modern gamers can enjoy.”
While the game’s visuals will play out in the first-person 3D, input will be handled via a series of multiple choice text options, making the player chief decision-maker at the expense of all else. I guess its closest contemporary equivalents might be Heavy Rain, or Telltale’s most hands-off work.
Besides Walls, Precinct’s four-man development team also includes Robert Lindsay, a fellow Sierra veteran who has since made his mark on Microsoft’s Xbox division and Harmonix’s more recent games. Together, they’re asking for $500,000 – though they’d quite like $800,000, to be spent on European subtitles and “more gameplay, more characters, more story, more polish”. Pledges range from $5 to $10,000, but you’ll need to stump up at least $30 to grab a digital copy of the game on release.
Precinct will be an episodic series, released digitally on PC (Steam is already namechecked) and Mac. You interested?