This Is the Police 2 is Weappy Studios’s sequel to its 2016 adventure strategy game. Like the first This Is the Police, it seeks to tackle the tricky interplay between power, politics, and personal conflicts within and outside of the police force. It will launch later this year on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Switch.
Playing as Sheriff Lilly Reed, the player has to run their police force in the remote town of Sharpwood. This Is the Police 2 incorporates management simulation mechanics, and Reed has to delegate tasks to officers who have access to limited equipment. Each character also has specific skill sets, strengths, and weaknesses that can make them good for one mission or another. They also have prejudices that could lead to messy situations.
Weappy’s cofounder and game director Ilya Yanovich says that the team began working on the first title shortly before Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. At that time, people asked the studio how these events affected the development of the game.
“Back then we said we were trying to talk about universal problems that aren’t tied to any specific recent events,” said Yanovich in an email to GamesBeat. “It was true then, and it remains true now. A few years have passed, but terrible cases of abuse of power, by the police and by others, still regularly appear in the news headlines – and I’m afraid they’ll never disappear. We can struggle against this to the best of our ability, but we must also try to understand it.”
Like in the first game, This Is the Police 2 explores corruption and violence. Yanovich says that the new lead character adds another element as well. As a woman in charge of the local police department, she faces significant resistance.
“Women’s leadership in the face of mocking male sabotage is one of the new themes of TITP2,” says Yanovich. “Other themes will be familiar to those who played the first game: the thirst for power and the abyss into which it leads. Our game is about compromises with law and one’s conscience, and how quickly those compromises corrode order and decency. And most importantly, our game is about the fear that can turn every one of us into a criminal.”
It’s a complex situation where everyone seems to be tainted in some way. Yanovich describes the police in the game as “full of prejudice and prone to violence” — and on the other hand, Sharpwood’s citizens are “ignorant and cruel.” However, these two groups need each other, and they’re stuck together in a gloomy, snowy town that’s reminiscent of the Coen brothers’ Fargo or David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
“This Is the Police 2 is a game about compromises, sometimes tough and unpleasant, and sometimes running against your beliefs – but maybe after experiencing these situations inside the game, the player might better understand the people that are forced to make similar compromises in real life,” said Yanovich. “If you ask players what makes video games special compared with other forms of art, most of them will focus on interactivity – meaning you can influence (via game mechanics) what is happening in the game. But perhaps it’s just the opposite: the interactivity of video games is how they use their mechanics to influence you.”