(A close up of the body outline from Scene Investigator’s PC demo)
Hello and thank you for playing our demo at Lvl Up Expo! We had such a jam-packed month. I hope that you’re all doing well. This article is to give you a breakdown of the demos, in case you still have questions.
The in-depth breakdown reveals the hows and the whys for the demo. We know that some people reading this haven't tried the demo, or perhaps only played the Live experience we held at Lvl Up Expo. If you want to try our demo, you still can! On our site, we have the game’s demo up and ready to download.
Here's the link:
Going any further will result in spoilers! We want to make sure you’re ready before we hand these out.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!
(Scene Investigators 'live demo' questionnaire)
Here are the answers (Live):
Here are the answers (PC):
(This writeup explains the live experience we held at Lvl Up, but it also gives away most of the same answers for the PC’s demo.)
(PC demo of Scene Investigators)
This case is one of a dinner party. Five friends and acquaintances have gathered for a meal. Someone was murdered. All the clues are in the scene. Can you solve the case?
This was the premise for our demo of Scene Investigators. Players are given a chance to put their thinking caps on and figure out for themselves what exactly happened here.
Before we can continue, we should briefly explain how the questions are designed. Out of the five, three are questions that can be deduced through the physical evidence and clues. For two of the questions, the physical evidence isn’t enough. You will need to understand the characters, their motives, and use your reasoning to determine what happened. We call this the 30/70 principle. The game will give you 70% of the evidence and you, as the player, will need to fill in the rest with your understanding of the story. Only then can you answer the questions.
A quick survey of the area and we’ll notice a few important details: A table was set for five people, and someone seems to have died (indicated by the body outline). As we take a closer look at the scenario, we will begin to notice a few more details. One person seems to have been drinking orange juice while the others were drinking coffee. Although the table was set for 5, only 4 chairs seemed to have been used. The unused dinner set seemed to have been set up for someone left-handed. Lastly, the person at the head of the table seemed to be the one who was killed.
If we were to comb the entire scene we’ll find 14 clues in total, with some having additional clues within. Missing one of these clues can be an issue as each is vital to understanding the whole picture. Below we’ve included a full list of all the clues, along with the important details that each had.
Instructions (Post-it note)
Clara is asking her husband to set the table with a set of reminders
Ed is left-handed
Clara’s cousin drinks orange juice
Clara’s cousin is referred to as a guy.
Guest list (Post-it note)
3 names: Jake, Edwin, Jenny
4/20/03: Clara’s Birthday
3/13/03: Doctor’s app
2/10/03: Clara leaves for LA
2/20/03: Clara returns from LA
Fantasie Amour branding on the cover
Valet parking ticket
Valet parking for Fantasie Amour
Valet parking ticket dated 2/14/03
A card from Jake to Clara saying happy birthday
Clara helped Jake while he was in AA
Karen lives in LA
Clara lives in NY
Addressed to Clara Gibson from Karen Benson
Same address as ID Card: (Clue 8A)
Henry and Clara are a couple.
Clara and Henry seem to have a shaky relationship.
Name: Henry Gibson
Same address as the envelope: (Clue 7)
Abortion clinic business card
Lawyer business card.
2/20/03: Pick up Clara from the airport
List of restaurants
Fantasie Amour is a very expensive 5-star restaurant
Has a lipstick smear on the head of the cup
Liver warning: Severe liver damage may occur if you take 3 or more caffeinated drinks.
SVC Pharmacy Receipt
Somebody purchased a prescription bottle. (same bottle as Clue 12)
With the clues given, we can understand the scenario better. Henry and Clara are a married couple but seem to have a shaky relationship (Clues 7, 7a, and 8a). Their names are not on the guest list, so we can safely assume that they are the hosts for this gathering (Clue 2).
(Birthday card from the Live Experience)
On the calendar, there is a day marked as “Clara’s birthday” and we also find a birthday card for Clara (Clues 3 and 6). It isn’t fully confirmed, but this dinner gathering might be a birthday celebration for Clara.
The cause of death seems to have been a type of poisoning. We can find a prescription bottle with a detailed warning not to use this medication with any caffeinated drinks (Clue 12). If the killer poured the entire medication inside a highly caffeinated drink such as coffee, the consequences seem quite lethal.
Let's begin to answer the questions.
Question 1: Who Sat in chair #5?
(Image from a 2d draft of the Live Experience)
This one is fairly easy. Right off the bat, we have a clue pointing out that “Clara’s cousin” is to be served orange juice (Clue 1). If we wrote “Clara’s cousin” as the answer, we’d be half right. The full answer would be to figure out which of the 3 names is Clara’s cousin. There are 2 angles to approach this from:
The note mentions both the “cousin,” and Ed. It makes little sense to reference both the “cousin” and Ed on the same note unless they were different people. We also know that the cousin is a male based on Clue 1. Since we know Henry is the husband and Ed is not the cousin, we can conclude that Jake is the cousin. If we know the cousin drank the orange juice, then it has to be Jake that sat on chair #5.
From one of the post-it notes (Clue 1) we know that a “guy”, Clara’s cousin, drank orange juice and this guy sat in chair #5. The note also references a guy’s name, “Ed”, and explains that Ed is left-handed. If we were to give the dinner setup another look, we would notice that the utensils for chair #1 are placed differently from how the other chairs are. Every other chair has its utensils placed as if they were all right-handed. This most likely means that chair #1 is Ed’s setup. If Ed’s placement in the dinner gathering is known, that would mean that the only 2 guys available are Henry and Jake. But it can’t be Henry as he’s Clara’s Husband, not her cousin. We can now deduce that it was Jake who must’ve sat on chair #5.
By using the same logic, you will also be able to answer question #3: Who is Clara’s cousin?
Question 4: Who died?
With the current information we have, we cannot answer question 2. We will come back to that question when we understand a little more.
We will need to examine the clues near the body outline to answer question 4. If we were to look closely at the spilled cup, we will notice a lipstick smear on the rim of the cup (Clue 11). We can safely imply that it was a woman who used this cup. If we were to look at the positioning of this cup, we see that this setup is at the head of the table. By tradition, it is commonly known that the host sits at the head of the table. We know that there are 2 hosts: Clara and Henry. We also previously deduced that it was Clara’s birthday today. By putting these clues together, we can assume that was Clara who sat at the head of the table, thereby making her the victim of this murder.
Question 5: Who is the killer?
Before we answer this question, we want to take the time to unravel the hidden story within the scenario. Understanding this story can help us understand a motive and give us insight into who the killer might be.
(The restaurant guide from the PC demo)
It all begins with the valet parking receipt for Fantasy Amour dated (Clue 5). According to the restaurant list we found, Fantasy Amour is a highly rated and very expensive restaurant (Clue 10). What a few might not get at first glance is that this receipt is dated February 14th, which is also the same day as a commonly known holiday, Valentine's day.
(The little notebook planner from the Live Experience)
At first glance, it may have seemed that Henry took Clara out to an expensive dinner date on Valentine's day. However, if we look at the calendar, we can clearly see that Clara was apparently out of town that week (Clue 3). This is further proven when we look at the notebook planner (Clue 9). The planner, which most likely belongs to Henry, mentions the entry “Pick up Clara from the airport.” So, Clara was out of town. This begs the question, who did Henry go out with on Valentine's day?
The answer to that could be found in one of the handbags (Clue 4). If we look inside, we will find a matchbook with the Fantasie Amour branding (Clue 4a). The owner of this bag must have taken one of the matchbooks from the restaurant. This bag could not have belonged to Clara since she was gone during the time of the dinner date. This implies that this bag must be Jenny's. In other words, Henry’s mistress is Jenny. Additionally, this further proves our deduction that Clara is the victim. Inside the same handbag, we can find a non-smear lipstick (Clue 4b).
(The Lipstick’s cap from the PC demo)
From the victim’s cup, we can see that there’s a smear on the rim. If we deduce that this handbag is Jenny’s, it also stands to reason that Clara must’ve been sitting in at the head of the table.
Understanding the Motive
Let us try to look at each character that we know of and try to look for a possible motive. Right off the bat, we can eliminate Jake and Ed as possible suspects. Ed never made it to the party and Jake didn't have a motive. If we look at the birthday card from Jake to Clara, we can see that he loves and appreciates her (Clue 6). There is no reason that he would want to kill Clara. That only leaves Henry and Jenny. From the hidden story we just uncovered, we can see how both Jenny and Henry may have a motive.
(Clara’s letter from the Live Experience)
If Henry was the killer, he was in a pretty good position to kill Clara. After all, he was the one who set up the table (Clue 1). They were currently in a rocky relationship. He could have easily poisoned Clara’s drink with no one noticing. Yet, if he poisoned Clara, he was very sloppy at covering his tracks since both the prescription bottle and receipt can be found easily.
If Jenny was the killer, she would need some way to poison Clara without anyone noticing. She could have tried to stealthily pour the prescription’s contents into Clara’s drink. Or an easier method would be to poison her own and, without causing attention, switch her drink with Clara’s. Either or, she would have to be seated next to the victim. If we look at the seating position, we can see a possibility of this occurring.
With the exception of chair set #1, every other setup is similar. You have the fork on the left side, the knife on the right, and an unused spoon on the right with the cup being set on top of it. Oddly enough, chair set #4 has its cup placed on the opposite side next to the victim’s cup. This isn’t definitive proof and we don’t know where each person was sitting exactly, but this is something to note.
The most curious item in this scene has to be the abortion card Henry has in his wallet (Clue 8b) This implies that one of the women is most likely pregnant, but which one? Henry and Clara seem to be currently near the breaking point so it seems unlikely that she’d be the one to be pregnant. If we look into Jenny’s handbag, we will also see a box for nicotine patches (Clue 4c). Nicotine patches are commonly used by people who want to quit smoking. Now, why would Jenny want to quit smoking? For an additional detail that some may not know, it is also common for pregnant women to refrain from drinking any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. If we were to give another look at the seating arrangement, we will notice something very curious. One of the cups of coffee is left untouched. Given the weight of the evidence, it is more likely that Jenny is pregnant rather than Clara.
(Henry’s wallet from the Live Experience)
Lastly, we need to talk about why Henry had the abortion clinic card to begin with. If he had this card in possession, it could mean either one of two things: He was hesitant with his relationship with Jenny and didn’t want to commit, or he was planning to end things with Jenny and didn’t want to keep the baby. Whichever it was, Henry's motive to kill Clara becomes weaker.
From all the evidence we gathered, we can deduce that Jenny is the killer and sat in chair #4. With this information, we can then deduce that Henry sat in chair #2.
From this walkthrough, we can see that not all answers are 100% evidence. We need to use our intuition to fill in the rest and come to our own conclusion. As developers, we designed this scenario with Jenny as the killer and placed all the clues to support that. In real-life cases, however, we might not have everything needed to close the case so easily.
This month is going to be an extremely busy one, but we’re still going to be giving the next Inside EQS soon! If you’d like to stay updated on everything that’s still to come, be sure to follow us at these links:
We hope you have a great March and a great start to Spring!