Serial Cleaners, the recently-announced 90s-set sequel to 2016’s Serial Cleaner, didn’t reveal many details in its enigmatic launch trailer. Now, developer Draw Distance has shared some exclusive details with GameSpot about the sequel, how it will differ from the original, and what 90s pop-culture has most influenced the game.
Like the original, Serial Cleaners will cast you as a mob cleaner, being sent to clean up crime scenes while avoiding getting caught by anyone else who shows up. You need to collect evidence, drag bodies, and clean up pools of blood while dodging enemies. The art style is a bit less cartoony than it was in the first one, and the general vibe of the new art is much grittier.
A work-in-progression concept art screenshot, featuring what is clearly meant to be the convenience store from Clerks (Kevin Smith, 1994)
The game, which is described as an “indirect sequel,” will tie in to events from the original, but won’t require knowledge of it to enjoy. “When Serial Cleaner hit the shelves three years ago, we at Draw Distance were still in the process of broadening the scope of the kind of games we wanted to develop,” says marketing executive manager Marcin Kaleta. While the first game was influenced by the developer’s earlier work on mobile titles, the sequel will be “a fully-fledged stealth-action crime story with complexity and challenge increased from its predecessor.”
The game, which is set in New York, will let you figure out how you want to play, and levels are made to feel like a “predesigned puzzle” than was the case with the original. You’ll need better awareness of your environment, and the blood left behind at the crime scenes you’re cleaning can now smear, which will likely mess you up.
There are four different cleaners to play as this time, each with different abilities, and two are shown off in the art below. There’s Bob, the first game’s returning protagonist, who will be the game’s all-rounder, and suits a “slow and methodical approach”. Bob will have the ability to slide over pools of blood to escape to hiding spots fast.
Lati, the other character revealed, has a backstory involving nearly being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit. While Bob is good at hiding, Lati is better at running when things get difficult; she can run, jump, climb, and slide faster than the other characters.
The game will wear its cinematic influences on its sleeve, too. Lati is cited as being inspired by Black cinema from 90s Hollywood, including Boyz n the Hood (John Singleton, 1991) and Fresh (Boaz Yakin, 1994). The first crime scene you can play as her in is inspired by Juice, Ernest Dickerson’s 1992 crime thriller. In fact, each mission is “a love letter to different movies of the decade,” Kaleta says, but with a “self-aware and pulpy tone”.
The game will also feature a narrative framing device that sees all the cleaners meeting and reflecting on events on the final day of the 90s–December 31, 1999.
Kaleta also revealed that there is a Serial Cleaner TV show in the planning stages, although details are thin right now.. The developer is working with APA Agency and DJ2 Entertainment, which worked on the recent Sonic the Hedgehog movie and is also developing the upcoming Disco Elysium and Life is Strange shows.
In the initial announcement, it sounded as though Serial Cleaners might be targeting a next-gen release, too. Kaleta has clarified further, saying that this might happen, but it’s not the focus right now. “We are, of course, think about next-gen,” he says. “This is something we would love to do, but our priority for now is a version for PC and current consoles.”
Serial Cleaners will launch on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in 2021.
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