Hamlet, like most of Shakespeare’s tragedies, ends with the vast majority of the people in the play dead. Danish noblewoman Ophelia is one of them. In Elsinore, Ophelia awakens from a horrible nightmare that in four days everyone in Elsinore Castle will die.
Now she’s trapped in a time loop, forced to live the same four days over and over, but still determined to try to change the future.
Elsinore is a point-and-click adventure game with a story that reacts immediately to your decisions, whether it be to tell the truth, lie, assassinate, or befriend. There are many characters to meet, all with their own secrets and desires. As you collect bits of information in the form of hearsay or evidence, you’ll have a chance to present them to the different characters to try to get them to change what they’re doing.
The development team is led by Katie Chironis, currently an adventure game writer who has worked on games like Powerstar Golf, D4, and SimCity. She and their lead designer, Connor Fallon, who’s previously worked on Enemy Mind and Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, were at GDC showing off the game. Kotaku found them and shot a quick interview video with them while doing a quick demo of the game.
On their development blog, Chironis reveals that their team has changed the genders and races of some of the side characters to bring a more diverse cast to the play. For instance, Ophelia is of mixed descent, Spanish and African, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are both women of color in the game. Instead of going the easy route and just making everyone white because that’s the way it’s been done, she and her team did some digging and looked into the racial makeup of the world at that time.
“In choosing a historical period for your game, you choose a blank canvas full of potential. Rather than immediately applying the version of history which Hollywood has handed down to us and calling it “accurate,” creators should strive to be reflective of actual history. That involves rethinking some of the assumptions we make about the people who lived and died long before us.
“Many of the diverse voices from history have been intentionally and maliciously erased by our precursors over time, but in the age of information — where Google Scholar is a couple keystrokes away — there’s little excuse left to hide behind.”
The game was successfully funded on Kickstarter in May of 2015. It is set to release for Fall 2016 for PC, Mac, and Linux on Steam.