Deadly Premonition known as (Red Seeds Profile レッドシーズプロファイル Reddo Shīzu Purofairu) in Japan, is a psychological horror video game developed by Access Games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and published by Ignition Entertainment in North America, Marvelous Entertainment in Japan and Rising Star Games in Europe. It was released in North America on February 17, 2010, in Japan on March 11, 2010 and in Europe on October 29, 2010. The PlayStation 3 version was released only in Japan on the same date as the Xbox 360 version. A director's cut release for the PlayStation 3 was announced in March 2012 and released in April 2013. As of July 2013 Deadly Premonition has been added to Steam Greenlight. In just one week, the proposal earned enough community votes to justify release on the digital distribution service.
The game is notable for introducing open world, nonlinear gameplay and a comedy horror theme to the survival horror genre. It is also notable for implementing a free-roaming storyline within an open game world where all the characters have their own schedules.
It has become known for its "headline making strangeness" and is regarded to be one of the most critically polarising games of all-time (holding the Guinness World Record for most critically polarizing survival horror game), receiving both extremely negative and extremely positive reviews and is seen as a primary example of games as art.
Deadly Premonition is a psychological horror video game which gives the player the freedom to explore the small town of Greenvale and choose events and activities to participate in, alongside mandatory sequences which advance the game's overall story. The main character, Agent York, is controlled from an over-the-shoulder perspective, and can wander freely, talk to other characters, and collect and use inventory, including an array of melee and ranged weaponry and recovery items. He is awarded money for numerous actions - both for solving quests and for minor events like killing enemies; money can also be penalized for poor performance. York may explore the environments on foot, or use one of a variety of cars to travel long distances at speed. These cars must be maintained, as they consume fuel, which York must purchase, and accumulate damage which will render them useless unless York pays for their repair. York himself must also be maintained, as he requires food and sleep at regular intervals. He must also shave and change his clothes periodically or his hygiene-related scores will suffer.
The game has a day-night cycle which operates at one-third of real time; one game day takes eight hours to elapse during free exploration. Time frequently skips ahead in response to story events, and York can accelerate its passage by smoking cigarettes. Places of business and entertainment venues in Greenvale have specific hours of operation and must be visited at the proper time to enter them and make use of their services. The non-player characters also have their own schedules, and will travel around town as they go about their business. They are labeled with onscreen indicators so that they may be tailed in vehicles, and York can peep through the windows of many buildings to observe their activities. If York engages them at the right place and time of day, they can offer him sidequests to perform for additional rewards. There is also a dynamic weather system, in which adverse weather occurs at random and will change conditions in the town, necessitating the use of headlights or windshield wipers when driving. In addition to sidequests, scattered throughout the town are a set of trading cards which can be collected while exploring.
The game also contains numerous survival horror combat sequences, in which York must defeat otherwordly enemies while trapped in certain locations. Enemies can approach by walking or by a quick teleportation maneuver; most will engage York with hand-to-hand attacks if they reach him. York must stop moving to use his weapons, leaving him vulnerable to rush attacks. Enemies may be armed with melee weapons, guns, or other types of weapons; some enemies include a quick-time event to escape their attacks. During these sequences, York's primary objective is to investigate crimes which took place there in the recent past; collecting photos of pieces of evidence will allow him to "profile" the scene and reconstruct the events that took place with his deductive skills.
The game gives the player control of FBI special agent Francis York Morgan (referred to as York), who arrives at the fictional town of Greenvale sent to investigate the murder of a young woman, Anna Graham. York takes on the case due to the manner of the killing; a seemingly ritualistic murder of a young woman where red seeds have been found on or near the body, as this is similar to a series of other murders across the country. Upon arriving in the town, York is greeted by town sheriff George Woodman and his deputy Emily Wyatt, who York quickly develops an attraction to. York generates considerable friction with his dismissive attitude toward the locals, bizarre demeanor, and tendency to interrupt conversations to deliver asides to an unseen person he refers to as "Zach".
As the investigation develops, several more women are murdered, the key links between them being the same red seeds and a symbol which York believes is a peace symbol upside-down, and York is regularly ambushed and attacked by a faceless axe-wielding figure wearing a raincoat, as well as a number of mysterious ghost-like shadows. It is also established that, as a child, York witnessed his father shooting his mother before turning the gun on himself. York also has a scar on his face which he refuses to explain. Throughout the game, York is seen entering dreamlike worlds featuring angelic versions of the key witnesses to the Anna Graham murder, twin children Isaach and Isaiah, as well as a series of other unexplained characters, and it is implied that this is an alternate reality rather than hallucination.
York eventually begins to visit an old, mysterious resident of the town, Harry Stewart, who tells him that the current 'raincoat killer' is not the original. In the 1950s, a U.S. military operation took place in the town in order to study the effects of biological warfare. A gas was sent out from the bell tower, causing the residents to temporarily go insane, during which time the original raincoat killer went on his spree. It is implied that the shadows York fights are the spirits of the original killer's victims. However, York is soon captured and kidnapped by another policeman, Thomas MacLaine, who is revealed to be a cultist who wears drag in his spare time. Thomas eventually commits suicide after losing his gun during a battle with Emily, and York reveals that he believes the copycat raincoat killer is George. This is later confirmed as George reveals that he has gained shapeshifting powers as the result of eating the red seeds. York is able to kill him, but ends up hospitalized.
York realizes that, while George was the Greenvale killer, he could not have been responsible for the other similar murders nationwide and was likely just a pawn. He eventually discovers that Forrest Kaysen, a travelling tree salesman depicted as a comic relief character throughout the game, is in fact the primary antagonist and was one of the soldiers responsible for carrying out the original gas experiment, and that the upside-down peace symbol seen close to all of his victims was, in fact, a tree. York is led by Kaysen to the community centre, next to the bell tower, and finds that Emily has been kidnapped and a tree planted inside her stomach. York then realizes that he is, in fact, Zach. Francis Zach Morgan witnessed his mother dying with a tree sprouting from her own body with Zach's father and Kaysen in the room. Zach's father was unable to shoot his wife out of mercy and instead took his own life, leading to a more agonising death for her. Kaysen then hit Zach across the head, causing the scar. Unable to cope with the grief, Zach psychologically switched places with his alter-ego, York. Upon recognising this, Zach permanently switches back with York and, although unable to save Emily, kills Kaysen and leaves the town with optimism for his future.
In the closing scene, York, Emily, Thomas and all of the Greenvale murder victims are seen happily existing in the alternate reality.