Saturday, April 1, 2017

Coming Soon - CSI: Farmville

According to a friend I have at Zynga, the FV2 game developers were looking for a way to inject a bit more drama and excitement into their flagship game.  Being huge fans of the now defunct American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, as well as its numerous spin-offs (CSI: Miami, CSI: Boise, CSI: NY, CSI: Cyber, etc.), Zynga decided to acquire the rights from the CBS television network and create a hybrid spin-off of their own:  CSI: Farmville.

Perhaps the two franchises may seem like an unlikely pairing at first glance, but the honchos over at Zynga are confident that CSI: Farmville will be a huge hit.  Their confidence is apparently bolstered by the market research and surveys they conducted which revealed to them that a large majority of FV & FV2 players also watch CBS, and many of them are avid fans of police procedural drama television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Research can be telling, but the actual proof will be in the pudding.  A large part of the game's success will have to rely not only upon its embedded fan base, but on its execution.  Can Zynga pull it off?  Only time will tell.  The game is slated for release sometime in summer, 2017.  If their developers can make it interesting enough, and if their coders can somehow prevent it from loading at a snail's pace and constantly crashing all the time, they may well indeed have a new hit game on their hands!

I asked my source at Zynga about the game's mechanics; "how will it play, exactly?"  He told me that it would be very similar to the FV2 we all know and love, except with more of an emphasis on solving farm-related crimes, rather than actual farming.  The player will have the ability to add the same friends and neighbors they are already accustomed to playing FV2 with now, except visits will be a bit different.  The game will create random crime scenarios on each of your neighbor's farms, which will function as "quests," or more accurately in the context of the new game:  "assignments."  You play a retired farmer turned crime scene investigator who, upon visiting your neighbor, will be briefed on the details of the crime that occurred on their farm and tasked with the assignment of gathering the clues necessary to solve it.  Your limited visit energies (clicks during a neighbor visit) must be carefully used to locate crime clues.  Clicking on the wrong thing will result in a wasted visit energy and get you no closer to solving the crime, so don't go around arbitrarily clicking sprinklers or feeding chickens like you normally do during neighbor visits, lest you won't get very far in this game!  You must study the crime scene very carefully, as clues could be found anywhere on your neighbor's farm.  Successfully solving the crime within the time constraints imposed by the given deadline will generate rewards for both you and your neighbor!

Little more is known about CSI: Farmville at this time, save for the aforementioned tidbits and the few screenshots provided to me by my source at Zynga which I have posted herein.  Will it function as a standalone game, or as an auxiliary component to FV2, such as the gourmet farm where rewards garnered playing the latter are redeemable on the former?  My source wouldn't say for certain, claiming he feared that he had already told me too much.  So I am anxious to see how it all plays out myself upon its release.

Fans of the cancelled television series are excited to see it come back, even in farm-game form, my source informs me.  CSI and its various spin-offs spanned a very respectable 16 years on television, running from 2000 to 2016, with an impressive total of 797 episodes of the CSI franchise being aired.  The franchise was indeed very popular and has had a large cultural impact.  It is said to have spawned something known as the "CSI effect," in which criminal courtroom juries commonly have unreasonable expectations of real-life forensics because of what they have seen on CSI.  Additionally, the newfound popularity of forensics dramas on television has led to an increase in applications for courses dealing with forensic science or archaeological science; in the United Kingdom applications are up by 30%!

Obviously I can see the attraction of livening up FV2 with some more action and drama, but I remain cautiously optimistic.  It's true that the game has become a bit boring and tedious over the years, with the same old quests repeated in different forms over and over.  Sometimes playing the game can feel more like work than play.  However, tinkering with a tried and true formula can tend to be risky business, so I hope that Zynga knows what they are doing!

One of the screenshots my source at Zynga sent me reveals that the game will feature cameo appearances by the avatar of everyone's favorite CSI: Miami character, Horatio Caine.  It appears that Horatio will sum up the gist of each crime scene by dramatically delivering one of his famously witty one-liners!

LOL, that Horatio always cracks me up!  Such a wonderfully morbid sense of humor!

So, my friends, what do you think?  Are you looking forward to this new Farmville/CSI spin-off game?  Were you a fan of the CSI television series and/or any of its spin-offs?  Do you enjoy the thrill of finding clues and solving crimes in a farm-based setting?  Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.  I look forward to hearing your opinions!