Adventure News

December 2005



Haunting adventure comes to North America in early March

Fans of horror-themed adventures got some welcome news confirmed today, as Got Game Entertainment announced that it will be publishing Scratches in North America. Developed for PC, the game is scheduled for release on March 1, 2006, and will retail for $19.99 (USD).

Scratches is a first-person, atmospheric mystery developed by Nucleosys, a two-man team who combined to create the first commercial game ever from Argentina.

In the game, players assume the role of Michael Arthate, a writer who arrives at his new home of Blackwood Manor to finish his latest book. What begins as a peaceful stay at the old Victorian home, however, soon gives way to an emerging terror as "a long since forgotten story from the past emerges to haunt the present."

The player will "delve into every dark corner of the mansion and its untended grounds via a point-and-click interface. Examining, probing, and hunting your way through musty rooms, an overrun greenhouse, a sinister chapel, and a forbidding crypt, your investigation deepens, and you slowly become aware of one terrifying fact: you are not alone."

For more information about the game, be sure to visit the official website.



TAC to deliver the fantasy adventure in March

Having watched Keepsake already release in Germany, and with a UK release scheduled for February, North Americans starving for a fantasy adventure have been getting impatient for news of a local publishing deal. Although the wait for the game will last a little longer, the news has at last arrived that The Adventure Company will be publishing the game in North America.

Although several online retailers were the first to leak the story with early product listings, official confirmation of the game's publishing agreement was first reported by Just Adventure.

Keepsake, the first game from Canadian developer Wicked Studios, tells the story of a young woman named Lydia, who arrives at university to study magic, only to find it completely (and mysteriously) deserted. The most important clue is a jester doll keepsake that Lydia gave to a friend many years earlier. Lydia must discover what happened with the help of her sidekick, Zak, a dragon-turned-wolf through a magical spell, who also needs your help to reverse his condition.

The game is currently scheduled for release in North America in early March. Keepsake will be published throughout various European countries by Lighthouse Interactive.



AGON collection CD and new FMV adventure in the works

While waiting for Episode 4 of AGON from Hungarian developer Private Moon Studios, people may have begun wondering if we'd seen the last of Professor Hunt and his quest to track down twelve accursed games. Fortunately, while sliding the projected release date back to March or April for The Lost Sword of Toledo, the next "bigger, longer and more detailed" installment, the company has also announced that they'll be releasing a CD-ROM collection of the first three episodes worldwide. Called the Mysterious Codex, the collection will be released by Viva Media in North America, and by Micro Application in French territories in the first quarter of 2006. Although not yet finalized, negotiations are ongoing for a release elsewhere in Europe for the same time period.

In a surprise announcement, the company also revealed that they have begun working on a new FMV historical adventure game called Yoomurjak's Ring. The new game has an indirect link to AGON, as the game's protagonist is Jonathan Hunt, the great grandson of AGON's professor.

Produced with "more than 35 professional actors and on more than 30 locations", the modern day story sees Jonathan, a young American journalist, arrive in Hungary to hear the disturbed story of an old man. "After the old man's unexpected death, he continues his investigation in a case leading back to the distant past. Some strange messages appear from the past, as well as a character from a novel (Yoomurjak), who may have been a real figure, a gangster, who is after the ring with five diamond stars, a mad scientist, who claims to be more than a hundred and fifty years, and a crowd of other strange characters. The adventure comes in a setting of real historical monuments: a medieval castle, citizen houses from the baroque age, a bath from the Turkish era and parks from the last century, and has more than 500 original panoramas, almost an hour and a half of movies, a detailed encyclopedia and complex riddles."

Although there is no word on an English release, Yoomurjak's Ring is scheduled to be released in Hungary in April or May 2006.



Jack Keane the newest project for Ankh developer

Hot on the heels of the early success of Ankh comes news that developer Deck 13 has entered a publishing agreement with CDV Software for its next adventure title. The working title of the new game is Jack Keane, and is currently on track for a first quarter release in 2007.

A classic point & click adventure in a 3D world, Jack Keane promises a "fast-paced but humorous adventure, complete with many original and challenging obstacles that players must help the hero overcome," according to Deck 13's Creative Director, Jan Klose.

With Ankh being voted the Best German Video Game of 2005 at the recent German Developer Awards, it's no surprise that Deck 13 has quickly secured a partner for its next venture. The bigger surprise is the involvement of CDV, a publisher most recognized for its highly acclaimed strategy titles. However, calling Deck 13 "Germany's best and most renowned adventure game developer," CDV's Chief Technology Officer Teut Weidemann claimed that they can imagine "no better partner for globally delivering a great game within the time-proven adventure genre."

We'll be keeping a close eye on Jack Keane's development in the coming year, so stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, look for the English release of Ankh in early February 2006.



Season's greetings come with plenty of game footage

Pendulo Studios has gotten into the Christmas spirit by releasing a seasonal trailer for its upcoming game, Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle.

The new trailer begins with Runaway mainstay Brian Basco doing an acoustic Christmas performance, but a couple of timely ornamental projectiles ensure a generous display of game footage from the upcoming sequel. This peek at the next adventure of Brian and Gina weighs in at over 50 MB, and can be downloaded at AdventureCorner and WorthPlaying.

Runaway 2 is currently projected for release in the second quarter of 2006. For more information about the game, check our our E3 preview.



Fan-made King's Quest sequel given permission to resume

For those who don't frequent the Adventure Gamers Underground section, you may not have heard the news that has captured the attention of the amateur adventure community.

In late September, Phoenix Online Studios was forced to suspend development of its unofficial fan-made sequel, King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has a Silver Lining, after receiving a cease and desist order by the franchise's copyright holder, Vivendi Universal. By that point, the first of three planned installments was already well along in development, and the ambitious project was looking promising. The decision by Vivendi, though well within their legal right to enforce, was naturally met with a disappointed and disgusted public outcry by adventure fans longing for a return to the familiar world first established by Sierra over twenty years ago.

To the surprise of many, Vivendi has now granted a fan license for continuation of the project, with the stipulation that the King's Quest name be removed from the title. While retaining the same characters and environments, the game will now be called The Silver Lining.

As stated in the press release from Vivendi:

"After extensive evaluation, Vivendi Universal Games is pleased to announce that the fan developed trilogy project 'The Silver Lining' (previously known as King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has A Silver Lining), based on characters from Sierra Entertainment's 'Kings Quest' series, has been given approval to continue development. We look forward to seeing the first of its three upcoming chapters, 'Shadows', completed soon."

For more information about The Silver Lining, be sure to check out the game's website.



PocketPC version now available

It seems only fitting that the inventory-laden Return to Mysterious Island should now fit into your pocket entirely. The first-person point & click adventure developed by Kheops Studio has now been released for PocketPC/PocketPC Phone by TETRAEDGE Games.

Inspired by Jules Verne's Mysterious Island, the game follows a young woman named Mina, who crashes on a deserted tropical island. Here she must use her wits and the island's many objects to keep herself alive and discover a means home. Along the way, Mina uncovers the mystery of the island's previous inhabitants, including Captain Nemo and the other characters from Verne's original tale.

With more than 150 items to collect and combine, 360-degree perspective, and ambient sounds and voices, the PocketPC version captures the best of the original version. Priced at $24.95 (U.S.), the game can be ordered now at the official website, and will soon be available at other popular mobile retailers.

Only the English version of the game has been released so far, but TETRAEDGE, who previously released Atlantis Redux and Egyptian Prophecy, is planning French and German releases soon.



Teaser includes a scene to explore and a Christmas surprise

Fans of all nationalities have been awaiting more news on the stylish Secret Files: Tunguska since it was unveiled in August at the Games Convention in Leipzig. Although only German publishing plans have been announced so far, developer Fusionsphere Systems and publisher Deep Silver have now launched an">interactive website in four languages: German, English, Italian, and French.

According to a scrolling news ticker on the screen, scientist Wladimir Kalenkow, who is renowned for his theories on the Tunguska explosion of 1908, has been reported missing by his daughter, Nina. With this news, the site redirects you to the scene of Kalenkow's apparent abduction. Scrolling the mouse over various hotspots reveals snippets of description from Nina and, if you manage to find the "sweet spot," a little Christmas treat.

Additional information about Secret Files: Tunguska can be found on Deep Silver's website. The game is scheduled to be released in Germany in Q2 2006.



Steve Purcell and Telltale Games release online comic, merchandise

If you're one of the fans eagerly awaiting the return of adventure gaming's favorite dog and rabbity-thing, head over to Telltale Games to check out the first Sam & Max comic to be released since the late 1990s. This opening installment of a new series takes place in a graveyard behind a medieval English church and appears to tie in with the mysterious engraving that appeared several months ago, without fanfare, at the official Sam & Max website.

Neither Sam nor Max makes an appearance in this first strip, but their creator Steve Purcell promises the crime-fighting duo is on the way. "The main thrust of the story, as always, is to give Sam & Max a chance to blather on with each other against a colorful backdrop," says Purcell. "In the second installment, Sam & Max's long-silenced yammering will pick up where it left off years ago."

In addition to hosting Purcell's new comic, Telltale has added Sam & Max merchandise to their online store. Initial offerings include a tee-shirt and signed 18"x24" prints. Telltale and Purcell are currently collaborating on episodic Sam & Max games, the first of which will debut in 2006.



Flash sequel offers free first chapter

Amanita Design, the Czech developers of the online Flash games (and Adventure Gamers cult favourites) Samorost and Quest for the Rest, are back at it with their latest release, Samorost 2.

Unlike the earlier games, Samorost 2 is a commercial endeavour, offering only the first chapter for free. To unlock the second chapter and receive the entire game as a 24 MB download, you can order it from the website for $9.90 (U.S.). The download is available for both PC and Macs.

Samorost 2 sees our familiar hooded protagonist once again roaming imaginative foreign worlds and solving unique puzzles. This time, his mission is to rescue his dog, who has been captured by aliens. Set to enchanting music and using an intuitive point & click interface, the Samorost titles are extremely accessible to even novice gamers, and the games provide a refreshing change of pace from typical adventure fare.



Fan project resumed with a different name

The recently-cancelled King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has a Silver Lining project has been resumed under a new name - The Silver Lining - with official permission from Vivendi Universal Games, the copyright holders.

The press release from VUG is as follows:

"After extensive evaluation, Vivendi Universal Games is pleased to announce that the fan developed trilogy project 'The Silver Lining' (previously known as King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has A Silver Lining), based on characters from Sierra Entertainment's 'Kings Quest' series, has been given approval to continue development. We look forward to seeing the first of its three upcoming chapters, 'Shadows', completed soon."

The Silver Lining team have stated that the first part of the series, Shadows will be released sometime in 2006.

For more information, visit the project's homepage.



Do some late-night sleuthing in U. N. Owen's house

A playable demo is now available for And Then There Were None, the first Agatha Christie game released by AWE Productions and The Adventure Company.

The demo features the game's opening cutscene, introducing the player to ten strangers who have been invited to spend a weekend together by a mysterious host, U. N. Owen. This is followed by a segment of gameplay from partway through the game, with several puzzles to solve. The demo is 173 MB and can be downloaded from">3D Gamers.

Based on Agatha Christie's best-selling mystery, And Then There Were None strays slightly from the source material so that even players familiar with the book will be surprised by the game's outcome. The game is currently available in North America, where it retails for $30 (US). European releases will come in 2006.



Trailer available on new website

Publisher THQ revealed today that the name of the fourth installment in the acclaimed Broken Sword series will be called Broken Sword: The Angel of Death.

In Angel of Death, players will assume the familiar role of George Stobbart as he delves into a new conspiracy. As he "investigates dark secrets from a long-forgotten history," George uncovers a nefarious plot that "reignites an age-old rivalry between the world's most powerful factions, and exposes a secret that they have secretly fought over for millennia. A secret that will ultimately lead George's latest adventure to a painful and bitter conclusion."

Along the way, George will "fall in love with the mysterious and beautiful Anna Maria. Her untimely and mysterious disappearance draws him into a desperate race against time to find an ancient artifact capable of immense destruction. The only lead George has is an antiquated manuscript rumoured to have inexplicable links to mfkzt, a mythical substance that has been forgotten for over two thousand years. Unfortunately for George, it looks like the world needs saving one more time."

THQ also released an exclusive first trailer at the game's website.

Angel of Death is scheduled to release for PC in summer 2006.



Fourth installment planned by German developer

Fans of the wisecracking young wizard Simon the Sorcerer received unexpected good news recently when Silver Style Entertainment announced its plans to develop a new game in the acclaimed series.

Working with the German developer on the game's story will be Mike Woodroffe, the producer and/or director of the previous Simon games, ensuring that the latest installment will stay true to the series.

Simon 4 will be in full 3D, but unlike the heavily criticized previous title, this game will return to its classic gameplay roots. According to Silver Style's Carsten Strehse, there will be no action elements and "no significant change to the gameplay of 2D adventures."

Although there is no official website for the game yet, the game's forum has already been opened.

Simon the Sorcerer 4 is scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2006.