The Last Case of Benedict Fox
The Last Case of Benedict Fox brings a demon and a detective together for an investigation into both the surreal worlds of the memories of the dead, and the abandoned mansion that was the site of a gruesome murder.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox immediately caught our eye at the Xbox & Bethesda showcase with its dark, fantastical mix of Metroidvania and adventure elements. It’s set to launch into Xbox Game Pass next year, so we reached out to developer Plot Twist for more information, with creative director and lead game designer Bartek Lesiakowski having been kind enough to answer our questions!
What is The Last Case of Benedict Fox?
The Last Case of Benedict Fox melds together Metroidvania, adventure, platforming, and puzzle elements, inspired by Lovecraft, noir pulp fiction, and 20th century jazz. It’s in development from Plot Twist and is published by Rogue Games.
When does The Last Case of Benedict Fox launch?
We don’t yet have a specific launch date for The Last Case of Benedict Fox, but we do know it’s coming next year.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox was revealed during the Xbox & Bethesda showcase earlier this year with a fantastical trailer. “The reveal was better than we could ever anticipate,” Lesiakowski says. “We are feeling fantastic… The majority of reactions were all very positive which gave us a big morale boost. It also validated our thoughts that we’re on the right path and we have something special on our hands.”
Will The Last Case of Benedict Fox come to Xbox Game Pass?
Yes! The Last Case of Benedict Fox joins Xbox Game Pass at launch in 2023 as a day-one addition. “It’s hard to put into words just how much of a positive influence Game Pass will have on our game,” says Lesiakowski. “It opens up a door for a multitude of different players playing Benedict and, fingers crossed, falling in love with it and its genre. It’s a huge deal for a small studio like ours.”
What’s it about?
Benedict Fox is a detective who just so happens to have a bond with a demon that allows him to explore the minds of the dead for clues. He and his demon head to a huge abandoned mansion in order to investigate the murder of a young couple, and the disappearance of their child. We know from the Steam page for The Last Case of Benedict Fox that we’ll be lost within “a dark, intriguing world full of secret organizations, forbidden rituals, and cold-blooded crimes,” but the game keeps its cards close to its chest when it comes to story details. “Benedict and his demon companion are two opposites that need to work together,” Lesiakowski explains. “They are joined not so much by choice, but by fate. Where will destiny take them? That’s for you to find out!” Lesiakowski adds that there is a narrative element behind the team’s decision to have Benedict and his demon reliant on each other. “As the name of our game suggests, there is an investigation to be solved. The demon might have insights that our Benedict simply wouldn’t have. The two make a formidable duo. Where will their relationship take them? Only time will tell…”
What’s the gameplay like?
The Last Case of Benedict Fox is also fairly secretive with regards to its gameplay. We saw some combat and exploration in the game’s reveal trailer, and it seems these will be key elements. “Our main goal is to solve the mystery behind the murders that happened in the mansion. Both Benedict and his companion have their own reason for it,” Lesiakowski says. “Combat and exploration of limbo are just a few ways of achieving that goal. You will also come across puzzles and riddles to solve, which will differ depending on which world you are in. The same goes with the characters and factions that you will meet. Each of them will participate in the upcoming events for their own reasons.”
One of the reasons that the devs have Benedict and his demon relying on each other is for the uses it has in the gameplay. “Thanks to his demon companion, Benedict is able to use supernatural powers that will help him defeat the demons and occultists he faces.” Benedict will also have his own weapons, and we’re told that his surroundings can also come into play during combat, with the devs adding that “concentration and a tactical approach are your greatest assets.”
What’s the world like?
One of the twists of The Last Case of Benedict Fox is that we won’t just be exploring the “real” world of the mansion, but, thanks to our demon’s powers, will also venture into the minds of the dead and into worlds where “memories, emotions, and traumas take on a physical form.” Lesiakowski elaborated on this for us, adding, “The mansion that you will explore in the real world is a hub, a safe haven to which you and Benedict can come back to at any time, meet NPCs, spend that well-earned coin, and find clues and other places to explore in the world of limbo. Once you enter limbo though, you are in a place that’s full of danger from enemies that are in it and from the environment itself. It’s not a place you want to spend your free time in, that’s for sure. From a visual point of view,” he continues, “it’s one heck of a challenge as it is a constant balance between that which is known and real and that which is supernatural and out of this world.”
Lesiakowski gave us a few hints on what these different worlds will be like to explore. “One of our main goals is to give players constant reasons to explore,” he begins. “We try to achieve that in a few different ways. One is to give you variety in your “typical” Metroidvania explorations. The other is to give you reasons to explore through the narrative itself by giving you more clues and glimpses into the story. We want the story to accompany you throughout your whole experience, such as through the dialogue between Benedict and his demon companion. And lastly, we want to have a high quality and level of detail in our environments, so that the environment in itself makes the player want to explore it further.”
The inspirations for The Last Case of Benedict Fox range from 20th century jazz music to Lovecraftian elements. “Some of those inspirations are a result of our own interests and that we are drawn to these types of ‘vibes,’” Lesiakowski explains. “Other inspirations are a result of the evolution our work went through, adapting the world of our game to the gameplay and vice versa. Sometimes one side wins, sometimes the other. To us, it’s a never-ending process. It has to be if we want the end product to be consistent with its narrative, gameplay, art, and music.”
The Last Case of Benedict Fox is set in the 1920s, but it seems this wasn’t always the case. “The 1920s were not the setting that we originally planned,” Lesiakowski tells us. “Initially, we started closer to our times. However, as ideas and inspirations floated and Benedict was starting to take shape, the setting evolved too. We started going back in time, like a clock going backwards. Once we landed in the 1920’s, it felt right. It felt right with our narrative and with our gameplay. It also worked with our love of all things Lovecraft. It all started to take shape.”
The game also features a Burton-esque art style, and Lesiakowski says that this too “is a result of evolution and iteration. We knew we wanted our game to be filled with contrasts. When there are two opposing forces or ideas, it can result in some powerful combinations! We also used that idea of contrasts with our visual style. We wanted to have an eye-catching cartoon style that’s combined with a dark and grim narrative. Two opposites at work. And that’s how we landed on our current style.”
Any news on the achievements for The Last Case of Benedict Fox?
We don’t yet have the achievements for The Last Case of Benedict Fox, but Lesiakowski did talk us through the team’s design process for the game’s achievement list. “First of all, we feel that achievements should supplement the game and highlight its strengths,” Lesiakowski begins. “While working on a game, quite often we come to a point where we are satisfied with the mechanics and the story accent, and we immediately think to ourselves ‘Oooh! This could really work well with such and such achievement!’ The key is to not think of achievements as an afterthought.” From what we’ve seen so far, The Last Case of Benedict Fox holds its secrets close — and it seems we can expect similarly cryptic achievements, with Lesiakowski warning us to “expect the unexpected.”
As for his thoughts on the ideal achievement list: “To me personally, an ideal achievement list is one that you can complete in one walkthrough, figuring it out all by yourself without the need to refer to the internet. I know that for many people, achievements serve as an excuse to return to the title after the first pass. However, I fondly remember those games that I completed all by myself, without any help, playing the way I play, and out of nowhere, I get a notification saying I collected all the achievements. It only happened to me twice. But those are the gaming memories I will cherish forever.”
Out of all that, what is Lesiakowski most excited for players to experience? “I love the feeling of complete immersion in a game. It seems that the older you get, the harder it is to get that feeling. I think that might be a reason why some gamers don’t try new games out and put games from their youth on a pedestal. Maybe part of that reason is that games don’t mature at the same rate as the players,” he continues. “We want to create a game that feels consistent and focused, one that will allow for that feeling of immersion.”
So, what do you think? Will you be keeping an eye out for The Last Case of Benedict Fox to launch into Xbox Game Pass next year? Will you be playing on day one? Let us know what you think in the comments!