D4, billed as an episodic noir mystery, was announced at Microsoft's E3 2013 press event, where a short trailer was shown. The game's development at Access Games is being headed by Hidetaka "Swery" Suehiro, project lead on Deadly Premonition. Unlike previous games from the studio, D4 sports a cel-shaded art style that suggests a graphic novel, similar to The Walking Dead.
The game was released worldwide on September 19, 2014. The initial release of the game featured the prologue, episode 1 and episode 2 of D4 season 1 for $14.99. More episodes will be released at later dates. Free downloadable costumes will be made available each week after the game launches - announced every Monday and made available every Wednesday - which will tie into other well-known titles.
The protagonist, a private detective named David, loses his memory after his wife Peggy Young is murdered. For mysterious reasons, these events imbue him with the power of time travel, although he is unable to use this ability at will - to travel to a certain point in time, he must find a item that refreshes his memory of the events surrounding it, he calls these items "mementos". Through this strange turn of events, David intends to discover how and why his wife was killed, and will try to stop it despite knowing he cannot change the past.
As in two of Swery's previous projects, Spy Fiction and Deadly Premonition, D4 will feature a character named Forrest Kaysen who is David Young's ex-partner in the Boston PD Narcotics Unit.
The game's action segments have been compared to Elite Beat Agents, in that the player must complete a variety of simple gestures in quick succession, and with correct timing, in order to affect the flow of the current scene. Gestures consist of swiping up, down, right, left with 1 or both arms.
The use of Kinect in the control scheme is meant to allow a "relaxing experience" while playing, rather than forcing players to stand up and move vigorously; Swery likens playing D4 to sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and watching TV.
A player can investigate areas using swiping hand gestures to rotate the character 360 degrees. When investigating items a player hovers their hand over it, this displays information about that item. Hand gestures or Kinect voice commands can be given when presented with on screen character response options.