A hit-or-miss studio looks to brighten its future with a story about a detective who sees the past

Phoenix Online Studios, the team behind the King’s Quest tribute series The Silver Lining, is trying its hand at something new: a supernatural murder-mystery adventure called Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.

Erica Reed isn’t your average FBI agent. She has the power of “post-cognition,” meaning she can see into the past and witness events as they happened. She’s dismissive of the power, even as she uses it to track down criminals, including, she hopes, the serial killer who murdered her brother. But things take an unexpected turn when Reed finds herself on the trail of a killer who appears to have intentionally left behind clues that only she can see. Does he have powers of his own? How does he know about hers? And what does he want?

A new promotional trailer for Cognition shows off a rather dark, striking visual style as well as a small handful of impressive animations, and while the voice acting sounds like it could go either way, it appears as though the game may serve up some legitimately creepy moments. That’s very likely at least in part thanks to the participation of industry legend Jane Jensen, she of Laura Bow and Gabriel Knight fame, who isn’t directly involved with the development of the game but is helping out as a “story consultant.”

While Jensen’s name is a big selling point, the studio that’s actually making the game has a little bit less of a stellar reputation: Phoenix Online’s previous effort, The Silver Lining, was not good, to put it bluntly. On the other hand, it will be working with an actual budget this time around (The Silver Living was a volunteer, fan-made project) thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that brought in more than $34,000 in donations, well over its $25,000 goal. Hopefully, that influx of cash, coupled with Jensen’s oversight, will help it avoid the mistakes of The Silver Lining and make Cognition a truly compelling investigative adventure.

The first episode of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, entitled “The Hangman,” is currently slated to come out this fall.