Adventure News

March 2005



'Killer' game's release date announced

Get your PC or Xbox warmed up, because The Adventure Company has finally announced the gold status of Microïds' Still Life.

This highly anticipated murder mystery thriller, in which you play a contemporary FBI agent tracking a serial killer, will hit store shelves on April 14.



Thriller game captures look and feel of t.v. suspense dramas

Gamer's Hell is currently featuring 16 new screenshots of the upcoming Indigo Prophecy (previously titled Fahrenheit).

The screenshots look rather dark and muddy. But it's clear that the look, feel, and theme of the game is influenced by today's edgy television suspense drama series, specifically 24.

Indigo Prophecy is slated for a September launch on Playstation2, Xbox, and the PC.



Create an adventure on the PC and play it on the PSP

From Software have announced their plans to release a utility, titled Adventure Player, that gives gamers the chance to create their own adventures, using a PC, and play them on Sony's new PlayStation handheld the PSP, using only the Adventure Player UMD (a proprietary disc format for the PSP) and a memory stick with the game files.

There's no concrete info on the level of customization, however it seems that with proper programming knowledge anything's possible with the Adventure Player. Apparently, game creating will be relatively easy, as you can input photos from your digital camera and use those as images in your game.

From Software are also including a game script called Echo Night, an old release from the company, and they promise monthly downloads from their website. And, of course, players will be able to exchange scripts via the PSP's WiFi connection.

However, it's still not certain if this will ever appear outside of Japan. That won't stop importers, though, when it's released out there in June.



"The core engine of the experience is the story"

Quantic Dream front man David Cage recently discussed his upcoming title, Indigo Prophecy, with Total Video Games. Cage expounds on the ideas and thought processes behind this game, such as the 'rubberband' story, optical motion capture technology, and the fusion of gameplay and cinematic direction. These and other features should put Indigo Prophecy on the high promontory of innovation not just for adventure games, but all other types of games.

In another Q&A session over at FileFront, Cage talks about usurping the conventions of a stagnant game genre:


The idea behind Indigo Prophecy was to bring new life to the adventure genre that has not really evolved much over the last ten years.


Indigo Prophecy (previously titled Fahrenheit) will launch worldwide this September for Playstation2, Xbox, and the PC.



Sample Private Moon Studio's episodic offerings

Developer Private Moon Studios has recently released free trial versions of the first three episodes of AGON ('London Scene', 'Adventures In Lapland', and 'Pirates Of Madagascar'). Downloading each episode, for both PC and Mac, now provides a limited playable segment at no cost. The full version can be unlocked by online purchase and registration.

AGON is a pay-per-episode puzzle-rich adventure unleashed chapter by chapter and takes the player to various locales around the world.

Grab the first three episodes of this series now at the official AGON site or at Gamer's Hell.



Telltale involved in development of comedy adventure

Frankfurt-based Deck 13 is working on a game called Ankh: The Tales of Mystery, a third-person comedy point & click adventure set in ancient Egypt. Adventure Archiv has published a preview that is based on a prototype version of the game, saying it has "heart-warming humour" and has an easy to use interface.

Interestingly, the article mentions a cooperation deal that Deck 13 signed with Telltale Games, the team of former LucasArts designers that is currently working on Bone. It presumably puts Telltale in some sort of advisory role for the project.

Since no official announcement has been made, Telltale was not able to comment much. CEO Dan Connors did confirm to us that "[Telltale] has been reviewing the game for Deck 13 and it looks great. It's really funny."

A website for the game will be opened soon. According to the Deck 13 website, more information can also be expected at the German Games Convention that is held in Leipzig in August.



Underground-related monthly roundup released

No, it's not the time when women are to be avoided, it's January's (late-running) editon of DIY Games' Independent Adventuring column. Check it out here.



Game designers discuss the importance of narrative

In a feature article at Gamespot, Editor-in-Chief Greg Kasavin muses that the only way to truly move and transport us in our experience of games is through storytelling. It's the one love in games that he enjoys most. And he's not alone in this.

As games become increasingly sophisticated technologically it seems that fundamentally human elements - narrative and characterization - are being ignored. But there are still a handful of passionate developers for whom story, not so much awesome gameplay or graphics, is the real motivating force.

Kasavin talks to well renowned designers about this. Among them are adventure game giants Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango, Full Throttle) and Ragnar Tørnquist (The Longest Journey, Dreamfall). Tørnquist says that his upcoming Dreamfall "...[plays] with structure and pacing in a way that just hasn't been done in this medium before, and that's incredibly fascinating."



Turkish adventure lives again... or still

In a positive twist on the previous news out of Turkey that Aedon Games had stopped working on Loath Nolder: Labores Solis, it turns out the project has not been cancelled entirely. Instead, development of the game has been assumed by a newly formed spin-off team called Galley of Dreams.

Even better, as three of the four members of Galley of Dreams had been working on Loath Nolder for Aedon, the transition has caused very little disruption to the game's progress. According to director Onur Samli, they remain optimistic about a mid-2005 release date.

A detective-based, psychological horror inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Loath Nolder should offer as much intrigue and suspense in the game as it has behind the scenes.



Fantasy adventure available for download

Five Magical Amulets, from Czech developers OFF Studio, is now available for download on their site. The game is in the fantasy genre, akin to the King's Quest or Legends of Kyrandia series.

The game contains about seventy hand-drawn locations, divided into four chapters, almost fifty interactive characters and an original soundtrack with a duration of approximately 50 minutes. The game should provide hours of adventuring enjoyment to novice and experienced player alike.



Voting has begun on this (last) year's AGS Awards

Voting has started on the 4th annual AGS Awards. In order to vote you must be registered on the AGS forums. The voting form can be found here.



Return to Mysterious Island developer gives AG exclusive first look

If Kheops Studio has been quiet since the release of Return to Mysterious Island, it's because they've been busy working on two new games. Today at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Kheops CEO Benoit Hozjan gave Adventure Gamers a first look at these projects, both of which are well into development.

The first game takes place around 15,000 B.C. in an area modeled after the prehistoric">Lascaux cave in southern France. The player will figure out how to use items and elements of the environment to cook, hunt, fish, build tools, and recreate the cave paintings of Lascaux. The game is in first person perspective and uses an inventory system similar to The Egyptian Prophecy's. Kheops has worked with a scientist to ensure that the environment, tools, and clothes are accurate for the time period, and in-game documentation will allow the player to learn about prehistoric life. The game's title has not yet been finalized. Kheops plans to ship this game in June. A publisher has not been announced.

The second game in development will bear many similarities to Kheops' last release, Return to Mysterious Island. Its setting and premise are also grounded in the novels of Jules Verne, but it's not a RtMI sequel and takes place in an entirely different environment. The game will feature a complex inventory system like the one in RtMI, with several improvements and enhancements based on reviewer and fan feedback. This game is expected to ship in September.

Adventure Gamers will have more information about these upcoming games soon.



Veteran French developer bids adieu

The adventure genre has suffered another setback with the announcement that French developer Galiléa has officially shut its doors for business.

Originally formed in 1996, Galiléa broke into the genre with an adventure/edutainment title called Genesys, before finding a much wider audience with its promising Cameron Files series (Loch Ness and Pharaoh's Curse/Amenophis). The company's final adventure was Jack the Ripper in early 2004. These games met with mixed public and critical reaction; often considered to be entertaining, but suffering from what the developer admits were rushed production schedules.

Having already cancelled production on the third Cameron Files game and shutting down its main studio in Grenoble, France, Galiléa has existed since mid-2004 as a skeleton company based in Montreal, Canada. However, unable to secure any new development deals, co-founder Philippe Gaudé has now confirmed that budget considerations have forced them to close down and seek opportunities elsewhere.

With this news coming on the heels of fellow developers Detalion and Microïds Canada facing similar financial realities, it's yet another sobering reminder of the challenges facing even experienced developers in a small market.

Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Gaudé graciously acknowledged the many people who helped make their games possible in a final note of appreciation, while reserving a special "thank you to all the people who bought our games and played them. I hope we’ve brought you some enjoyable experiences through these works of passion and dedication."



Dr. Tornquist: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the action

Major gaming sites, IGN and Gamespot, have just gotten some (minor spoilerish) hands-on experience with Ragnar Tornquist's sequel to The Longest Journey and couldn't wait to tell us all about it.

Dreamfall, developed at Funcom, is certainly shaping up to be a great experience, judging from these write-ups of the demo they were presented. One of the main sources of discussion in these articles is that the game will contain some combat and sneaking portions. While this is true, most of these scenes will be optional, in that players will be always be presented with an alternative that puts brains over brawns. Tornquist insists that the story is such that it really requires direct control and involving the player in some action. He assures, however, that these will not merely be some tacked-on action sequences with no real ties to the story and atmosphere.

Speaking of the controls, the demo finally showed the focus cone in action. Those who never actually understood how the focus field worked should check out the streaming video in Gamespot's preview. It's Funcom's solution to the main problem when putting adventures on consoles and they promise it'll be as intuitive on both the PC and X-Box. Lastly, Tornquist mentions the camera problems that often plague third-person direct-controlled games, and their hopefully total absence in Dreamfall. The team has scripted the camera completely throughout the game, so that players see what they want to and need to see.

The game is scheduled for release later this year, although no date has been set in stone yet.

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