We first played The cyberpunk RPG Gamedec at Gamescom 2019, where we met and spoke with the developers at Anshar Studios.

After the game’s successful Kickstarter campaign, the devs have released a pre-alpha version to selected people. I had a chance to play through a small section of Gamedec and reach my own conclusions about the game and the case I was investigating.

Gamedec preview

Gamedec’s pre-alpha gives us a small taste of 22nd century Warsaw. It’s a cyberpunk world where we play as a detective hired to investigate a little boy’s virtual kidnapping. His body is safe and sound, but his consciousness is trapped in a virtual world. That’s right – we investigate crimes that take place inside video games and VR. That is why they call us a Game Detective (or Gamedec for short).

Playing Gamedec on PC is pretty simple – you just point and click. With these simple controls, you investigate crime scenes, question witnesses, and collect clues. The decisions and conclusions you make based on these clues are what the game is all about.

Early on in development, the game promised that every action and decision you make would be impactful. From what I can tell, that promise is kept so far. The consequences of your choices are varied, and you might not always reach the conclusion you were hoping for. If you’re not the type of roll with the punches, you might find yourself loading a previous save and trying again quite often.

Gamedec preview investigation

To help you with your investigation, you have a few helpful screens: the codex, the deduction screen, and the professions screen. The codex contains all the information you revealed so far, split into five categories: organizations, technologies, characters, Realium (the real world), and Virtualium (the virtual world).

The deduction screen is where you keep track of your current investigation. The case is segmented into layers – the deeper you get, the closer you are to the truth. To get to the next layer, you have to figure out the answer to a question crucial to solving the case. The game will not tell you the answer but will let you know if you found all the relevant information or not.

To reach an answer, you will need to make deductions. You can either draw conclusions by reading through all the information you have and choosing from an available array of conclusions. The other way is to develop our character’s profession to help land on the right solution when you speak to NPCs or comb through a crime scene.

Gamedec preview aspects

Your characteristics are displayed in the professions screen, where they are called “aspects.” They change according to the decisions you make while playing. They represent what type of person we are, based on how we play – these aspects than dictate which professions are available to us. The full game will have over 30 professions to choose from, but the pre-alpha version only had eight available.

Gamedec reminds me of Altered Carbon and The Matrix – how you jack into detailed virtual worlds and change avatars and skins while exploring them. In reality, the game is based on a series of Polish books with the same title, by author Marcin Przybyłek.

To tell the truth, I got pretty frustrated while playing Gamedec, though that has more to do with the pre-alpha state than the game itself. On the other hand, whenever I reached the outcome I was aiming for, I discovered just how deep and twisted the game, and it just feels great. I enjoyed Gamedec quite a bit, even though investigation games aren’t really my cup of tea.

Gamedec will be released in Q4 2020 on PC. Anshar Studio are planning to follow up with a console version in the future, but that’s an investigation for another day.

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