See Part 1 of our Gamescom round-up for the show's first day events.
Agatha Christie, Syberia 3, Dream Chamber, 9 Elephants – Anuman Interactive
On Thursday, Alain Milly of Anuman Interactive revealed that along with the announced plans for new Agatha Christie games, the French publisher also had a couple of other surprises in store. There will be several Agatha Christie games developed, but none are in production just yet. These games will tie in with other new adaptations of her work planned for film and television, and more information – such as which titles we can expect – will be announced in October. The games will be developed for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, with a possibility of porting them to consoles as well.
Concept sketch for Syberia 3
Many adventure fans will be delighted to learn that Syberia 3 is at last in production. Benoît Sokal is working on the game and the story is done for the first major setting, while the design for the second is almost finished as well. This will be a long-term production though, with the game probably not out before 2015. The developers hope to be able to reveal more at the end of this year, but in the meantime, there's good news for console owners as the first two games will be released on PS3 and Xbox 360 “soon”.
When Anuman bought Microïds, they had three goals: making their existing games compatible with new versions of Windows, porting those games to mobile platforms, and finally publishing new games, of which Dracula 5 and The Inquisitor are good examples. Dracula 5 is the concluding chapter to the disappointingly abbreviated previous installment. The Inquisitor is an ongoing franchise, as the books on which the series is based are still being written. The third book will be out in France in September.
Two years ago, AG colleagues Mark Jones, Harald Bastiaanse and I ran into Italian publishers Reply Forge, who were eager but unable to tell us much about the game Dream Chamber. But now Anuman Interactive has picked up the publishing rights to this title, giving us a long-awaited look into the noir-styled game set in the thirties. Its graphics seem to have changed from the naïve art style it had when we first saw it; still hand-drawn cartoons, but now looking more polished than before.
The protagonist is a wealthy man named Charlie Chamber, who likes to solve crimes. Charlie has a special ability that allows him to revisit scenes he has been to before in his dreams and examine them in more detail. One example is Charlie visiting a police station to learn some facts about a crime that happened at a ball, but when he revisits the police station in his dreams, he suddenly notices a list of guests he had completely overlooked before. Switching between waking and dreaming can be done at will. Travelling between locations is done through a map, and when you click on your destination you switch to a car with a driver. You can chat with this driver about contemporary subjects such as how Constantinople has been renamed to Istanbul, and occasionally he will have information about the job at hand.
Finally, the tentatively-titled 9 Elephants is a Professor Layton-esque puzzle adventure with jazzy music and math puzzles created by French studio Infernal Brothers after winning a competition. In the game, the protagonist is a little girl that tries to find her father who disappeared.
Contrast – Compulsion Games
Canadian developers Compulsion Games showed me some scenes from Contrast, which they describe as a puzzle-platformer. It is situated in the '20s and heavily influenced by film noir. Didi is a little girl growing up under less than ideal circumstances. Her father left, and her mother is a performer in seedy nightclubs. Didi copes with her environment through an imaginary friend, Dawn, who is a sexy looking girl that can change herself into a shadow. The player takes control of Dawn as Didi tries to find her father, exploring an adult world as seen through the eyes of a child.
The game plays with the concept of dimensions a lot, as Dawn can walk onto any shadow when she is one herself. By paying attention to where lights are, relative to objects, you can reach balconies or other high platforms. Since Dawn is only an imaginary friend, if you fail a jump she just lands on the floor unharmed and you can try again indefinitely. Most of the platforming is optional anyway, as this is largely an open world with optional sidequests and collectibles to encourage exploration.
The first act, of three in total, is located in the Red District and features the nightclub Didi's mother works in. Your task is to get Didi inside so she can watch her mother perform. The story is told mostly through lengthy cutscenes that serve as rewards for solving puzzles like fixing and aiming some spotlights. The second act finds Didi in the fairgrounds of a circus, where her dad is about to lose a substantial sum of money and maybe even his life to some bad guys. She of course wants to fix this and has to find a way to stop them.
While in many games child characters are noticeably voiced by adults, Contrast uses an actual nine-year-old with some professional experience, and from what I could hear she did an excellent job, especially acting petulant. Contrast will be out around the time of the PlayStation 4 launch date on Windows, PS3, PS4 and Xbox 360, and it will cost about $15 for the digital version or $20 for a collector's edition with some as-yet-undisclosed extras. Some markets will also get a retail version.
Goodbye Deponia – Daedalic Entertainment
I sat down with Jan (Poki) Müller-Michaelis for a demonstration of the last part in his Deponia trilogy. The first two games were just an elaborate setup for this finale, and so much will be going on, wrapping up all the loose ends, that this third part will feel like another two games. As we already learned at E3, Goodbye Deponia picks up the action right where we left it in Chaos on Deponia, with Rufus and Goal separated once more. As is usual for Rufus, his creative solutions lead to even more problems and when he decides to clone himself too, the chaos is complete.
The three clones of Rufus are not different from each other, as was the case with Goal, but they will be in different locations and can interact with the others. An example of how this works involved a drain through which one Rufus could send objects to another Rufus located in some sewers somewhere below him, leading to the kinds of puzzles that are common to this series: convoluted comic brain-teasers. Poki described one of the scenes as a Benny Hill-esque chase. The graphics remain in the same deliberately absurd cartoon style, and for those who can't get enough of Poki's musical interludes between the chapters, you'll be happy to know there will be even more than before.Continued on the next page...