Ubisoft is unveiling the details behind its latest Facebook game, CSI: Miami Heat Wave, based on the popular TV series. The role-playing game is its latest companion title that aims to capture the time of franchise fans, whether they’re on Facebook, the PC, TV, or other places where CSI content is available.
You start out the free-to-play game as a rookie crime scene investigator. You join investigator Horatio Caine and his famous sunglasses to uncover evidence, interrogate suspects, build labs, and solve grisly crimes in the city of Miami. The game is drawn in a cute, cartoon style, but you’ll be picking through bloody crime scenes in your quest for the truth. The title tries to use the same kind of one-liner humor of the show and it lets players delve deeper and deeper into different cases.
Adrian Price, producer of the game, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the title builds upon the learnings of its predecessor, CSI: Crime City (launched on Facebook in 2010). That game has an audience of about 810,000 monthly active users even though it’s fairly old for a Facebook title. “We’re trying to use the show characters as much as possible in the interaction with your character,” Price said.
You start out with an easy quest at a crime scene where you have to inspect tiles of the floor in a room. When you click on a tile, you expend some energy. You may add tools over time such as a camera, Luminol, fingerprint kit, and other stuff that lets you ferret out evidence. Your energy goes up when you find something. If you level up, you can start searching more titles at the same time, finding evidence quicker, and grinding your way through cases more quickly. If you buy virtual goods for real money, you can search even faster.
Price said that this time, the story will have different options so that it will be replayable. In that respect, the game will be a lot different from CSI: Crime City, which peaked at 350,000 daily active users, compared to the current 90,000 daily active users. There are optional side quests which give you more play options. As you solve cases, you get points that you can use to upgrade your crime lab. This game may be a better business model for Ubisoft as there are more monetization options beyond energy, such as speed-ups or power-ups.