Nelly Cootalot – The Fowl Fleet
Baron Widebeard is up to his evil tricks again. Having hypnotised a fleet of waterbirds, he has set out on a quest for power. His aim: to find the secret of the Treasure of the Seventh Sea, located in the heart of a frozen volcano on forbidding Gloomholm Island. Once more Nelly Cootalot, pirate and defender of small defenceless animals, is called into action. Aided by her ghostly mentor and Widebeard’s rival, Bloodbeard, Nelly sets out to put an end to the wicked baron’s fowl plans.
Alasdair Beckett-King’s widely popular freeware adventure Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! was originally made as a birthday present for his girlfriend (who allegedly really wanted shoes). Now Alasdair has teamed up with Application Systems Heidelberg to co-develop and publish a sequel. Whilst using the same characters and some of the locations from the original game, Alasdair prefers to think of The Fowl Fleet as a commercial follow-on rather than an outright sequel. His intent is that new players will be able to pick it right up without knowing the history, though there will be some references for fans of the first game.
The graphics have undergone a significant upgrade this time, with detailed hand-painted backgrounds and 3D cel-shaded characters. The humour of the original still comes through, and Beckett-King promises the secret of the treasure will be revealed by the end – “unlike in other games”. Whilst the first game was made with the AGS engine, this one has been made in Unity. The main reason for this change is Unity’s multi-platform capability, which makes porting much more accessible.
Further information can be found on the game’s website while you wait for The Fowl Fleet's release some time in the first quarter of next year.
The Slaughter's Alex Francois
At last year’s AdventureX, The Slaughter was in the closing days of a Kickstarter campaign. Crowdfunding proved successful, and development has progressed ever since. Inspired by the Ripper killings, though not intended to add to the plethora of explanations for those murders, the game tells the tale of a private detective who’s well past his glory days. Even now people sometimes recognise his name from past successes, but few hire him for more than locating missing pets. When a serial killer starts making their mark on the streets of London, he soon finds himself in over his head. Even in sleep there is no respite, as events of the day recur in strange imagery within the world of his dreams. Can the connections revealed within his dream state genuinely help him in the real world?
Lead designer Alex Francois has recently decided to release the game in two parts, mainly due to a desire to get something out sooner, given when the Kickstarter campaign finished. Whilst not his original plan, Alex feels that the game is large enough to justify the split, and the new aim is to have the first part out by summer 2015. The inclusion of a downer ending to the first chapter should leave players motivated to come back for more. Jeopardy is to be a constant feature throughout, with the lead character often in real danger. To give some respite to players, there will be safe areas to visit. However, as with games like Silent Hill: The Room, previously safe havens can themselves become dangerous, keeping players on their toes.
To learn more about the game, check out the developer’s website.
Albrecht the thief just wanted to ply his trade in peace. But his love of gambling got the better of him, resulting in a stranger forcing him to steal a magic blade. Normally he wouldn’t go anywhere near the Devourer’s Cathedral, but this time he didn’t have any choice. Now the creature that lurked within the Cathedral has done something to him, giving him the ability to use the dagger he was tasked to steal. In certain places, a single sweep of the blade creates a doorway to another plane of existence. With every power in the land in pursuit of him and the dagger he bears, will Albrecht ever get to see the quiet life again?
Flavio Salaroli and Massimo Sforzini of The Weavers
In The Weavers, Guru Meditation Project are producing an epic tale of dark fantasy. The game on display was only intended as a technical demo, but it is already an impressive piece of work. Using a simple point-and-click interface, I got to explore both a section of the city and an alternate plane. The graphics are done in a fine art fantasy style, though darker tones predominate to emphasise the unpleasant nature of the setting. The characters were also animated to a decent level in the brief section I saw. The game is fully voiced, the gravelly tones of Albrecht making it clear that he is not a man to be messed with. A small part of an alternate plane was included, with the doorway cut between worlds by the knife appearing as a shimmering tear in reality.
The game includes a talent point system, and your choice of how to spend these points will affect the options available. Put points into brute force and fighting, and you’ll find that Quick Time Events will be the norm for dealing with obstacles. Lean more towards social skills and you’ll get dialogue options that provide a less violent solution. Alternatively, invest in wit and find a way round that doesn’t involve dealing with people at all. In running through the demo, I tried both fighting and social approaches, with the developers pointing out how the third approach would have worked once I had achieved the goal of entering a guarded building.
No release date is scheduled yet, though the developers hope to have it out sometime in 2015. Further information can be found on the developer’s website.
A Poison Green
A Poison Green's "FlyingMandarine"
It is the year 2070, and environmental issues have only got worse. Gas masks are now mandatory at all times when outside, and illness from pollution is rife. Seeing where things have gone, the people want change, but a corrupt government in the pockets of industry is unwilling to accede to their wishes. Peaceful protest has been tried but does not appear to be working. Now some have decided that the time for peace is over, and more violent action is necessary. As two people plan an attack that will be sure to attract attention, a lone journalist seeking to reignite his interest in news may uncover more than he was bargaining for.
A latecomer to the convention, Faraway Industries didn't have a demo of A Poison Green to play at the convention, but a chat with one of the team proved interesting. The game will have players directing three characters over the course of the game, switching back and forth at pre-determined points. Two of these characters, an opinionated professor and a young woman who falls under his influence, are the instigators of the terror plot. The third is the journalist who stumbles across the plot whilst putting together a story on some bombings that happened exactly 20 years earlier. The characters are not natural choices for protagonists, such as the professor’s willingness to kill innocents for his beliefs, which stands in stark contrast to normal heroic roles.
Only a slideshow was available at AdventureX, though it capably showed off the game's illustrated graphic realism. The point-and-click gameplay is intended to be less puzzle-oriented and more about the decisions players make. As you constantly switch sides, actions with one character may help or hinder the others. Additionally, each character has a hidden statistic that will be influenced by your decisions. The movement of this stat will affect the actions available to that character later on, ultimately affecting how the game ends. The game is to be presented in three acts, though released as a single game, and is approximately 40% complete at this time.Continued on the next page...