Sherlock is one of the smartest shows on TV and it was a huge honour to get the chance to tinker with it. The show’s producers, Hartswood Films, got together with digital developers The Project Factory to make an interactive adventure featuring the core cast, and I was asked to come up with a story and write the thing.
The result is Sherlock: The Network. It’s a mobile and tablet app that sees you become part of Sherlock’s famed ‘homeless network,’ helping him to gather evidence and solve crimes. There are ten cases, including one major overarching mystery.
One of the joys of this kind of interactive format is that we were able to address the player directly, with Sherlock, John and Mycroft all speaking straight to camera and making the audience feel like they’re in the room with the characters.
The whole production was a fanboy’s dream, watching some of literature’s greatest characters and film’s finest actors speaking my words. Working with Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Sue Vertue was a thrill and an education too.
From the day of release, The Network was the no. 1 paid app (of any kind) in the UK App Store for over a week, and has been the no. 1 entertainment app in 37 countries, including the US and China.
The audience reaction following the launch has been astonishing. It was shortlisted for a Cannes Lion and nominated for a 2014 Develop Award for Best Use of Narrative, suggesting that it was one of the best-written games of the year on any platform, and was nominated in the Best Game category at the Broadcast Digital Awards. It won a WSA Award and the UK Mobile App Design Award for Best Game. The press seem to like it too:
“This, my dear readers, is one excellent app.” – The Daily Star
“A little bit of Cumberbatch in your pocket.” – Digital Spy
“Worthy of the legendary detective himself.” – MSN UK
“Sherlock fans do collective dance of joy…” – Metro
“Part game and part multimedia storytelling… Genuinely fun.” – Guardian
“Pretty durn cool.” – Nerdist
“Indulgently entertaining.” – Geektastic
“Just like that dream you had last night… For the Sherlock obsessives, The Network has the goods.” – Radio Times
“Hugely successful… an exception that many in the world of drama would love to emulate.” – Screen Daily
“An awesome game… one hell of a ride.” – Toronto Thumbs
“A smash hit” – Publishing Perspectives
“A contender for best app of the year” – Sherlockians USA
“A brilliant app… ingenious… amazing.” – Hypist
“Totally entertaining.” – Mystery Playground
“A fantastic way to get inside the Sherlock life and be a part of the action.” – Appy Ladies
“Sherlock: The Network fits in the series world in every way and doesn’t dumb down its content to appeal to a broader audience… The immersion into Sherlock’s world is top-notch, and you’ll find yourself awaiting more cases just as eagerly as you’ll await Series 4.” – The Unofficial Apple Weblog
“Unique and scintillating… a wonderful app that will keep you busy in mind-tangling activities for hours.” – Apps Tribune
“A fantastic interactive platform for fans to feel like they’re part of the team… A brainy app that isn’t just an easy way to profit off fans… The cases are intricate and immerse you in the Sherlock universe.” – MovieViral
“When I went into this game, I wasn’t expecting it to live up to the show’s genius. However, I was quickly proven wrong… An astounding gameplay experience… The mysteries presented in the game are amazing, actually making you think… My favorite app to come out so far this year.” – App Spotlight
“Worth every penny, especially for science writers looking to hone their own powers of observation… Sherlock’s deadpan message at the beginning of the third case made me laugh out loud. And the scornful imperiousness of Mycroft, Sherlock’s brother, was, well, priceless.” – The Science Writers’ Handbook
“After you’ve concluded all the cases… you have carpal tunnel, you’re mentally exhausted, drooling (Cumberbatch on Face-Time!), and left wanting more.” – The Science of Cinema
“Als je eenmaal het spel hebt uitgespeeld, wil je eigenlijk alleen maar meer. Dat is het teken van een goede game.” – De Telegraaf
“Dat maakt de app vooral voor liefhebbers van de tv-serie een goede aankoop, maar ook wie het nog nooit gezien heeft maar wel van puzzelen houdt is het een vermakelijke app.” – Volkskrant
“Nahezu perfekt” – Appgefahren.de
“Ein Fest für Spürnasen und Meisterdetektive.” – Gameswelt
“Это просто замечательно.” – Appsad.ru