Renoir challenges players to solve murders through the eyes of their victims.
James Renoir is not having a great day. Living and working as a private investigator in a city full of crime and corruption, against a film noir-inspired backdrop, things aren’t exactly all sunshine and rainbows for this private eye. When his life is taken by a mysterious gunman, Renoir’s ghost ejects itself from his body, and goes to work on solving the case.
Czech developer Soulbound Games has taken a deep inspiration from film noir and infused it into a passion for games, creating something full of monochrome contrast and a full rainbow of atmosphere. In Renoir, players control the ghost of Jack Renoir as he works to solve the mystery of his own murder. Despite being a ghost, Jack is, in a certain sense, not alone. The postmortem detective can trace the actions of “victims” around him and control their actions, coordinating them with his own in order to solve puzzles. It’s kind of like if Jonathan Blow’s Braid had a multiplayer mode, along with about 200% more crime and brooding jazz melodies. As described in the Kickstarter, Jack can inhabit a victim, make them do something like turn off a light, and then hop to a second victim. Upon switching, the first victim immediately begins to replay their action, causing Jack in this new victim to act in turn. This allows him to set up multiple actions from a single starting point, creating a series of puzzles where timing is everything.
Soulbound Games sees an astrally projected 18 months of work still ahead of them with Renoir, and need all the help they can get without relying on a seance and a deal with a questionable spirit. The team needs $61,279 in all, and still has a ways to go in the remaining couple weeks before the campaign ends. The game is planned for a release on PC, Mac, Linux, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, an offering complete enough that the group doesn’t even need to consider stretch goals yet. As for reward tiers, the business of dying continues to be a lucrative one: donors can get DRM-free digital copies of the game, a chance to have their silhouette appear in-game, physical merch galore from a t-shirt to a hip flask and playing cards, and the chance to act as a co-producer or producer of the game.