NCIS – Hidden Crimes

About NCIS Hidden Crimes

Based on the hit TV show, NCIS, the player joins Gibbs and his team of special agents as they hunt dangerous criminals and solve cases across the world for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
In this free to play mobile game, players will search hidden object scenes and analyse clues to solve the crimes. The game is full of content. There are new Episodes added regularly, dozens of hidden object scenes to master, many entertaining stories to consume, leader boards to compete with friends and much more. The game is developed and published by the very talented team at Ubisoft Abu Dhabi

Image Gallery

Below are some images of the game.

Core Game Play

The core of the game is based on the popular hidden object game mechanic and its various iterations. Episodes are created by combining hidden object scenes in sequence with a variety of different mini games, dialogue cut scenes and cinematic sequences.
The player must also play the scenes outside the story to earn currency to progress in the story. There are dozens of hidden object scenes, each with 3 different game modes to play and master.
Since the game is free to play, there is an energy system to control how fast the player consumes the content. There are also pay walls to access new content. Players pay to access new content such as game modes or story at a faster pace.


The game has a single linear story and also a large meta game. Players move through Episodes in sequence. There are 12 Episodes in a season. Each Episode is a standalone, solvable case with a clear victim and criminal at the end. There is an overarching story which ties the episodes together too. There is a great variety of funny family stories and serious criminal cases, just like the NCIS TV show.
Outside the story, the player unlocks 2 new scenes each episode, each with 3 game modes. Players can earn stars as they master scenes by replaying them many times. There is an RPG style level system, where the player progresses from rookie to expert, unlocking rewards as they move through the ranks. There are various leader boards and challenges where friends can compete. There is also a list of achievements to complete and rewards to be earned.

My Role

I was the Lead Game Designer on this project. Here is a list of the things I was responsible for.

  • Working with the other leads to create and maintain the vision for the game
  • Leading a team of 7 designers creating features for the game and episodic content
  • Reviewing and contributing to game design documents and presentations
  • Communicating the game design vision to key management at Ubisoft Abu Dhabi and HQ in Paris.
  • Co-coordinating with other department leads in Art, Live Opps, Development, QA and Marketing to deliver the game
  • Mentoring the design team on best practice processes for free to play mobile game development
  • Co-ordination and scoping out features and planning with the production team
  • Facilitating brainstorm work shops between departments for new features
  • Arranging user play tests in house to test the game, making decisions on which action to take next

All intellectual property rights to NCIS Hidden Crimes belong to Ubisoft Entertainment. Images and videos only appear here with permission from the company for the purposes of showcasing a design portfolio.