Deadly Premonition Origins is an open world survival horror game developed originally by Access Games. Set in the fictional, rural American town of Greenvale, Washington, the story follows FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan as he investigates the murder of an eighteen-year-old woman, which bears similarities to a series of murders across the country.
Deadly Premonition Origins is a survival horror game set in an open world environment and played from an over-the shoulder third-person perspective. The game's objective is to guide the player character, FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan, as he investigates the identity of the Raincoat Killer, who is responsible for a murder in the rural town of Greenvale. York receives in-game money for numerous actions—both for finishing levels and for minor events, such as shaving or changing suits; he can also be fined for poor performance, such as wearing dirty clothes. Additionally, he requires food and sleep at regular intervals, as indicated by the gauges measuring his hunger and need for sleep. If his gauge for sleepiness reaches zero, he will become hungry more quickly; if his gauge for hunger depletes, he will begin to lose health. Sleeping restores his health and tiredness, while food and items to ward off sleepiness, such as coffee, can be purchased from stores in Greenvale.
York may explore Greenvale on foot, by car, or by using a special item obtained by completing a sidequest. Cars must be maintained, as they consume fuel, which York must purchase, and accumulate damage that eventually renders them useless unless York pays for their repair. York often has a specific time frame for investigating sites and interviewing non-player characters; however, if he misses the timeslot, the player may simply try again during the next day without a penalty. Places of business and entertainment venues in Greenvale have specific hours of operation and must be visited at the proper time to make use of their services. Non-player characters also have their own specific routines and travel around town as they go about their business. It also features a dynamic weather system and day-night cycle which affects the responses of the non-player characters. If York engages one at the right place and time of day, he or she may offer him a side-quest to perform for additional rewards. In addition to side-quests, trading cards are scattered throughout the town, which the player can collect while exploring. York can also participate in mini-games, such as darts, racing through checkpoints, and fishing, and may accelerate the passing of time by smoking cigarettes.
Deadly Premonition Origins contains several combat sequences, in which York encounters supernatural enemies while trapped in the Other World. York may battle them using melee weapons or firearms, or may choose to evade them by holding his breath. Melee weapons will eventually break with continued use, and York's pulse increases whenever he runs or holds his breath. Periodically, York encounters the Raincoat Killer, which will activate either a quick time event, a chase sequence, or a hiding event necessary to escape the murderer. During the Other World sequences, York's primary objective is to investigate crimes that took place there in the recent past. He collects photos of evidence to use to "profile" the scene and reconstruct events that took place with his deductive skills. Furthermore, the Other World regularly affects the entire town, excepting the interior of buildings, from midnight to six in the morning.
Francis York Morgan investigates the murder of 18-year-old Anna Graham in the rural town of Greenvale, Washington, in the United States. He takes on the case due to the manner of the killing: a ritualistic murder of a young woman where red seeds have been found on or near the body, similar to a series of other murders across the United States. 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 referred to as "Zach." He is assisted by the town's sheriff George Woodman, who is scarred by a past of childhood abuse; the deputy sheriff Emily Wyatt, who becomes a love interest for York; and Thomas MacLaine, George's meek assistant. Additionally, York finds himself regularly ambushed and attacked by the Raincoat Killer, who, according to the folklore of the town, kills only when it rains.
As the investigation continues, Anna's close friend Becky Ames and Diane, Becky's elder sister and art gallery owner, are murdered in a similar fashion, with a mark placed nearby that York believes to be a peace symbol upside-down. He learns that the trees producing the red seeds grow in Greenvale and that there are two Raincoat Killers. The original one, who inspired the folklore, went on a killing spree after the United States military released gas made from the red seeds into the town in 1956, causing the residents to temporarily experience an uncontrollable, murderous rage. The second, the New Raincoat Killer, hopes to gain immortality by consuming the red seeds and murdering four people, who have also been forced to eat the seeds.
When Thomas abruptly disappears, York suspects his involvement in the crimes, a hunch that is confirmed when Thomas kidnaps him. While tied up, York realizes his romantic feelings for Emily, who searches for him with Forrest Kaysen, a traveling tree salesman. It is also revealed that Anna, Becky, Thomas, and his younger sister Carol all belonged to a secret sex club created by George; jealous of George's romantic interest in Emily, Thomas draws her into a physical confrontation with him and dies when he falls on a hook. York, now rescued, reveals that he believes the copycat raincoat killer is George. Emily and York find the final victim, Carol; before dying, Carol attacks Emily out of jealousy as well and forces her to ingest some of the red seeds, which sickening her to the point of unconsciousness. York leaves Emily in Kaysen's care to confront George. George confesses to being the murderer and has gained shape-shifting powers as the result of eating the red seeds; in the ensuing fight, York kills him.
Afterward, 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 Kaysen is responsible and that the symbol seen close to all the victims was a tree. York finds that Kaysen has planted a tree inside Emily's stomach, and the sight causes him to recover his repressed memories: as a child, Zach witnessed his mother dying with a tree sprouting from her body, with his father and Kaysen in the room. His father was unable to kill her out of mercy, leading to a more agonising death for her, and then he killed himself. Unable to cope with the trauma, Zach psychologically switched places with his newly created other personality, York. Though unable to save Emily, Zach kills Kaysen, revealed to be a supernatural entity from the Red World and messenger of the Red Tree, and leaves the town with optimism for his future. In the closing scene, the spirits of York, Emily, Thomas, and the Greenvale murder victims are seen happily residing in a parallel plane of existence.