During E3 2013, Square Enix offered a small dose of Murdered: Soul Suspect behind closed doors, a supernatural detective story from developer Airtight Games. The concept reportedly stems from the first Die Hard movie, as creative director Yosuke Shiokawa wondered what it would have been like if protagonist John McLane had actually died, and decided to stick around to resolve the terrorist takeover as a ghost.
That's what is going on here: detective Ronan O’Connor was murdered while attempting to apprehend a suspect, and now must investigate his own death as a ghost. Naturally the best place to have a supernatural investigation is in Salem, a town known for its witchcraft-laced history and other ghostly matters. That said, there's already something supernatural going on before Ronan takes it in the back: he just adds to the local bunch of spooks and demons wandering the streets.
The demo opens at Ronan's own crime scene. With his memory clouded, he watches a murder take place, then slowly figures out that he's actually the one laying dead in the street face down. Soon the cops are gathered around his body, studying the numerous bullet holes that are lined up and down his back. Because he's a ghost, Airtight Games has introduced a unique type of gameplay: you can't hold objects and you can walk through most objects.
So to figure out how he was killed and who did it (even though he knew who this killer was when alive), Ronan must pull information from his own corpse, hijack the living to read their thoughts and see what they are investigating, and take advantage of some new ghostly abilities. However being a ghost has its limitations including the inability to enter a building on consecrated grounds without someone actually opening the door.
Players begin to learn more about the protagonist through NPCs and scripted dialog: the detective heading the investigation into his death is actually his brother. Ronan was also considered as "unorthodox" but still somewhat admired by his peers. He was also actually pushed out a window first, then shot in the back several times as he lay near-dead in the middle of the street.
Throughout the game, players will have access to a menu – a ghostly file cabinet of sorts -- that keeps tabs on all the clues he discovers such as info pulled directly from his body, what police have said and more. This helps the player review everything learned so far just in case they've missed something and are stumped.
In addition to the main investigation, Ronan will come across side quests to expand the story. For example, one ghost girl asks him to find her body. He thus hijacks an elderly couple nearby to see if they know anything. The path also leads him to a scenario where he acquires someone's attention by causing the local electronics to fail. It also introduces demons which he cannot overcome head-on. Instead, he must sneak up on them by possessing a human, or escape them by jumping into a body. Demons strive to become non-demonic by consuming lost souls, hoping their energy will return them back to normal ghosts.
The gameplay demo revealed that one of his abilities is the power to see impressions left behind by humans. In this case, it was his killer, allowing him to piece together what the antagonist was doing at a specific point in time. It was here that he learned that he already knew the killer, came to arrest him, but was overpowered and pushed out the window.
But there's more: there was a witness! A girl, staying in the next apartment, heard the struggle, watched him fall out the window and then the killer shoot him in the back. She flees, afraid of being the next victim. This is where the demo ends: Ronan heading off in search of the girl.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is slated to arrive on Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in early 2014.