Have you ever wondered how Phillip Marlowe might have turned out if he was less “hard-boiled” and more “dark roasted”? Would Sam Spade be the sort of world-weary and cynical barista the world needs right now? Coffee Noir may not answer those questions, but it may just be the espresso shot of a detective story you’ve been looking for.
Set in a retro-futuristic London, Coffee Noir will put players in the shoes of Arthur Oliver, a cop-turned-private eye in a city where a cup of joe doesn’t come cheap, and a bag of coffee beans is the stuff dreams are made of. One of London’s biggest coffee moguls has disappeared, and his family suspects foul play. The only way Oliver’s going to get any answers is to pose as an up-and-coming salesman in the missing man’s company, working his way through the seedy underbelly of the coffee game to ferret out the truth.
Coffee Noir will combine a 2D noir-styled visual novel with a business management simulation. Rather than trying to brute force a path through conversation trees, players will need to engage in the business, attracting the interests of potential suspects by how well they perform and gleaning clues through conversations.
Indie studio Doji worked with various economists and academics to create a robust economic model, hopefully, to give players as much challenge chasing the sterling as they do try to unravel the mystery. Players will need to make sure their teams are reliable, their supply chains flexible, and their negotiating skills razor-sharp, and even then, there’s no guarantee things are going to be precise as they appear.
Slated to release in the fourth quarter of 2020, Coffee Noir will be coming out initially on Steam. There are currently no details about console ports, alternative PC storefronts, or the price point at launch.