Come Midnight, the moody detective game that THQ cancelled

3 min read

Come Midnight

Before THQ bit the dust and went ultra-bankrupt, it was a publishing giant. It had numerous titles underneath its belt, and the future looked good. It also had a bin full of cancelled games, including one detective game with a supernatural edge to it that was being developed by People Can Fly back in 2006.

Speaking to Eurogamer, former People Can Fly leader Adrian Chmielarz gave details on Come Midnight, a game that he believes “would have been absolutely incredible”. “The problem with the game was that it was very hard to explain,” Chmielarz explained.

In a way that it mixed noire, survival-horror, adventure, thriller, love story… The closest I can give you would be a more streamlined LA Noire – LA Noire meets Uncharted, in a way. You are a private eye and you start a normal investigation, but it turns out that there are some otherworldly powers at work, and you can communicate with the dead.

Playing as a detective, gamers would have briefly died and gone towards the light before being pulled back to the world of the living. “And when he got back he actually kept that ability to see into the afterlife,” Chmielarz explained of the game, describing how the detective would be able to pull the final 30 seconds of viewable life from a corpse. “It was moody as f***,” Chmielarz said.

An incredibly moody game. Great narration, third-person perspective like Resident Evil mixed with LA Noire, and full of surprises.

So why did THQ pull the rug out from underneath this game? Because the game was too different, says Chmielarz:

There were shooty bits, you were fist-fighting, you were visiting shady places talking to people. But it all centred around the core idea of “what it would be like to be a supernatural detective in the ’40s.

I don’t want to spoil the concept about what it was really about, because the concept was also really cool, and a lot of people at PCF really regretted it when THQ cancelled it because it was something really different. But that was the problem: it was different.

THQ was reorganising, withdrawing from Europe. They were supposed to leave just one title and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was way more advanced at this point – close to release – and we were one-third in.

THQ seriously f***ed us over at this point. They just cancelled. ‘OK we’re just cancelling the game – see ya.’ It’s all corporate bulls***; three weeks before, they cancelled all communication – no phone calls, stopped answering emails. Absolute a**holes.

Thanks to that abrupt cancellation, People Can Fly was in serious financial trouble, and decided to pool their resources on a new Unreal engine game instead, eventually creating one of my favourite games of the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation, Bulletstorm. Chmielarz again tried to push for Come Midnight to get some support, but the game was still considered “too different”.

Hopefully, Come Midnight can live once again in the future. Because clearly, the market is ready for a supernatural detective thriller by now.

Last Updated: May 21, 2014

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