I wonder it's possible to randomize crimes in an open world for a crime investigation game, in the vein of the NCIS or CSI TV shows.
By open world, I don't mean a simulation where characters in the world are all living dynamic lives and crime springs from those activities. I mean a gameworld akin to those of GTA or Saints Row, with the game dynamically producing one crime in that city for the player to solve or close the book on, then producing another when the player is done.
For each crime, the player would be called to a specific location to find and analyze physical evidence like bodies, fingerprints, DNA, murder weapons, etc. Analyzing some evidence might prompt the player to go to another location to search and analyze. Eventually, the player would find the suspect and must chase down that suspect through buildings or the city streets. If the player loses the suspect, then a new chase is arranged. If, at any time, the player feels stuck or doesn't like the crime, he can close the case and move on. Ratio of successful vs unsuccessful cases would be among statistics shared online.
There are two reasons I'm not sure this sort of game is possible.
First, you'll notice I didn't mention any dialog.
If crimes are randomly or procedurally generated and not scripted, then it's unlikely questioning, interrogation, and such could be made fresh and interesting for each case. Investigators and civilians could blurt out humorous lines. But conversations can't be dynamically produced to mimic the lies, dodgy answers, and withheld information of conversations with witnesses and suspects.
Dynamic witnesses are possible if they simply blurt out basic details at the crime scene, though. They could even bear witness to verbal confrontations and scenarios in general ways, like "They were yelling at each other" or "They looked like they were having a romantic dinner". Anyway, could a crime investigation be fun without deep dialog if the crimes were countless and unpredictable in an open world?
Second, how can crimes be procedurally generated and feel both deep and fresh?
I figure this would be easier if the crimes actually happened. So the game invents a scenario, then plays out the scenario so that witnesses are possible and the placement of physical evidence is truly dynamic. The game invents these scenarios by creating relationships between random NPCs (family, business partners, crime partners, drugs, testimony, etc), searching its index for crimes possibly resulting from such connections, and then playing it out in a dynamic setting.
Honestly, I believe much of this is possible, but perhaps not enough to make a full and consistently fun game. What do you think? Is the crime investigation genre of games capable of procedurally generated or emergent content?