By Matthew Wade
Murder mystery game from author James Patterson due in May 2008
Popular American crime thriller author, James Patterson, whose books were recently confirmed as the most popular withdrawals in a survey of UK libraries, will release his first video game this Spring.
Creator of such popular works as Along Came A Spider and Kiss the Girls, Patterson has employed the services of game design guru Jane Jensen - of Gabriel Knight fame - to bring his books to the gaming universe, with the emphasis on casual gaming and attracting the types of consumers not normally associated with video games.
His first offering, which is due for release in May or shortly thereafter, is provisionally entitled The Women's Murder Club and is expected to feature an original homicide mystery based in the settings of the books and TV series of the same name.
The game will use a so-called ‘hidden-object approach' to gameplay - as employed by Jensen in her two previously-released Agatha Christie video games - whereby players control a main character who must identify clues and solve puzzles to work out who committed a murder.
Discussing this move earlier this week, Patterson commented: "What I love about this project is the chance to widen the boundaries of what people can do on the small screen, sort of like what the Wii is accomplishing. We're going to give people who don't want to shoot things...who prefer to use their brains...a chance to solve a really good mystery. This will open up a whole new arena to a lot of people who don't play games now. I believe that market is huge."
In addition to his Women's Murder Club series of seven books (now a US TV series), Patterson is the designated author of 13 Alex Cross novels - two of which have become films featuring Morgan Freeman - and four Maximum Ride books for youngsters.
Patterson's writing approach has caused controversy in the past, both due to the rapid-fire pace of his stories, which feature next to no descriptive content, and due to his ‘book factory' method of production; this sees him produce a 30-page synopses for each new book title, which in turn is then fleshed out by other contracted writers.