Nobody Wants to Die Seems Like a Stylish Future-Noir Detective Adventure

With The Wolf Among Us 2 from Zombie Telltale (as I like to call them) nowhere in sight, I need a good detective noir game fix. Fortunately, Nobody Wants to Die came out of nowhere a few months ago and blew up on IGN’s YouTube channel – to the tune of 2 million views for a completely unknown project. It’s easy to see why: it looks awesome! It’s set in New York in the year 2329, where immortality is par for the course thanks to memory banks that can store your consciousness or straight-up transferring said consciousness into another body. I got a look at a 20-minute gameplay demo ahead of its just-announced July 17 release date and came away pretty impressed with the futuristic twist on classic noir-detective gameplay.

You play Mortality Department Detective James Karra in pursuit of a serial killer targeting the city’s elite. Obviously, nobody should be truly dying in this 24th-century day and age, and it became quickly evident during my hands-off demo that even your partner, Sara Kai, and your longtime boss the Chief of Police want you to just forget the murder scene you’ve arrived at and not risk kicking any possible hornet’s nests. “Just forget about this and call it a tragic accident,” the Chief suggests, but Detective Karra is having none of that.

I like that there are dialogue choices from James’s first-person perspective when other characters talk to him, allowing you to choose snarky responses or in some cases outright lies. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. The scene shown in my demo saw James walk into the ornate lobby of Green Tower, only to find an atrium with a once-glorious but now burned and charred gigantic tree in the middle – along with the titular Mr. Green hanging from one of the branches.

I like that there are dialogue choices from James’s first-person perspective when other characters talk to him, allowing you to choose snarky responses or in some cases outright lies.

All but the first minute or two of the demo was spent investigating the scene. Seeing as how this is the 24th century, however, James has a lot of cool tech to help him out. The main one is the Reconstructor, a holographic projection that you can feed clues into, at which point it will reconstruct the murder scene in front of you. I don’t want to ruin the investigation for you before you’ve had a chance to play this section of Nobody Wants to Die for yourself, so I’ll spare you the specifics. But to speak generally, you’ll comb the scene for clues, examine them with your eyes, your X-ray device, your UV light, and your intellect to piece together exactly what happened.

I was impressed by how in-depth the case I saw in my demo was. This wasn’t a two-minute scene where you scan a couple of clues in the environment and then you’re done. No, you are clearly going to do a lot of futuristic detective work here, and I am here for it.

Nobody Wants to Die also looks great. It’s powered by Unreal Engine 5 – a more and more common but nevertheless welcome occurrence these days – and the sound work seems fittingly noir-ish, highlighted by the hardboiled voice work of the actor playing Detective Karra. Developer Critical Hit Games has been working on Nobody Wants to Die for six years now, and while I only saw one tiny slice of the detective gameplay and not the larger picture of the narrative campaign in store for us, I’m looking forward to finally getting my hands on it to find out what else it offers.

Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s executive editor of previews and host of both IGN’s weekly Xbox show, Podcast Unlocked, as well as our monthly(-ish) interview show, IGN Unfiltered. He’s a North Jersey guy, so it’s “Taylor ham,” not “pork roll.” Debate it with him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan.


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