Adventure News

February 2006



Developer behind Sam & Max and CSI 3 raises further cash

Telltale Inc., the developers behind Bone and the highly antipated Sam & Max adventure game, announced today that they have closed a deal with the investment forum Keiretsu Forum. This deal raises Telltale's total seed funding with $825,000, bringing it up to a total of $1.4 million. This is indeed interesting news, as the company, originally formed by former LucasArts veterans, is one of the most prominent adventure game designers today.

According to Dan Connors, CEO of Telltale, the money will be used to further develop the company's business strategy, which is "releasing accessible, innovative, interactive stories for the masses." So far, Telltale has only released one game, namely the first chapter in the Bone series. The game got fairly good reviews from the gaming press, although was critized for being too short. The next chapter, which is reportedly going to be bigger than the first, is scheduled for release this spring.

Another anticipated Telltale release for this spring is CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder. The game will be the first in the series to feature full 3D graphics and more player freedom to investigate and interact. Adventure Gamers will bring more on this upcoming title in the near future.



New game in 3D with other new features promised

With the release of CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder quickly approaching, there hadn't been much officially revealed about the game until today. However, Ubisoft has now released the first few details about the upcoming title from Telltale Games.

After moving the series to Miami in the previous game, 3 Dimensions of Murder returns to Las Vegas and the cast of the top-rated television show. The new game offers five new cases with a similar format to the previous titles, but with several key improvements. The most significant is the move to 3D graphics, allowing for close-ups and more player freedom to investigate and interact. Another new feature is the GMC Mobile Analysis Unit. As in the TV program, the mobile lab allows for quick evidence analysis while still in the field. Ubi is also promising that the analysis itself will be more interactive, and "not like the computer is solving it", which is welcome news to those who stood by while the technician did all the work in the previous games.

3 Dimensions of Murder is scheduled for release late next month. Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of the game at Adventure Gamers in the near future.



Amateur games column changes location

Independent Adventuring, Jozef Purdez's previously-monthly column on all things amateur-adventure-related is back, and with a new host. It has moved from its previous host DIY Games to its own site on BlogSpot.

Aside from the change of location, the layout and structure is much the same as it ever was, and should return to its former monthly updates format.



Ascaron and Focus partner on Runaway 2 and new Sherlock Holmes

While eternally waiting for the release of Runaway, adventure fans in the UK can now begin looking forward to its sequel. Ascaron Entertainment announced today that it has acquired "exclusive UK sales and marketing rights" from French publisher Focus Home Interactive for Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle and the sequel to Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring.

The failure of the original Runaway to be distributed in the UK has made Focus determined to ensure the sequel doesn't suffer the same fate. According to Cedric Lagarrigue, the Chief Operating Officer for FHI, Runaway 2 is "the sequel of an adventure game that has sold over 500000 units all over Europe. Since this game has never been released in the UK, we truly believe that Ascaron will successfully bring to the market this superb adventure game and its fun characters."

Also included in this partnership is the upcoming Sherlock Holmes game from Frogwares, with the working title The Awaken. Frogwares has released two radically different games based on the great detective, and the new game will see further differences, with a move to full 3D the most notable change.

No current release dates have been established for either of these games other than "later in 2006".



New adventure based on dangerous church conspiracy

German publisher dtp/ANACONDA unveiled Belief & Betrayal today, a new adventure scheduled for worldwide release at the end of this year.

Developed by Artematica, the Italian team behind Martin Mystere: Operation Dorian Gray, the new game will be a classic point & click adventure with pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D character models. Belief & Betrayal casts the player in the role of a journalist named Jonathan Danter, who becomes "involved in a dangerous church conspiracy, which has its roots through the centuries in the time when Judas got 30 silver coins for his betrayal of Jesus Christ."

An official website already exists for the game, though currently showing only an intriguing teaser.

Belief & Betrayal is the second worldwide project for dtp/ANACONDA, which is also publishing Tony Tough: A Rake's Progress, due for release this summer. Already a premiere publisher in Germany, the company is looking to expand its international presence, which can only be a good thing for the genre.



GMX to publish horror adventure

Just when you thought flu season was over, now prepare yourself for a horrifiying adventure in a small town contaminated with a deadly plague. GMX Media announced today that it will be publishing Pathologic for PC in the UK this March.

Pathologic is a unique adventure with some role-playing elements that offers three different character experiences. Playing as either a ruthless investigator, an ingenious surgeon, or an eccentric girl with mystical healing powers, you'll enter an isolated settlement that has suffered for generations from a lethal disease. You'll need to not only survive, but fulfill your role in the fate of the town, all the while witnessing "dreadful images of a city in agony, incessant death of the infected and the dramatic tragedies of the doomed people." Making matters worse, working against you are the two characters you didn't choose to play, now acting independently to oppose you.

Featuring a non-linear plot and real-time gameplay, the town reacts to the player's actions to create a very dynamic environment. It's yet to be seen how much action Pathologic will contain, as the game seems to walk the line between adventure, RPG, and Survival Horror, but the wait to find out won't be much longer now.

There's no word at this stage on a North American publisher for the game.



Fixes navigational and graphics bugs

Legacy Interactive has issued a patch for the North American version of its most recent Law & Order game, Criminal Intent. The patch fixes a navigational problem with the playable character, as well as the much maligned crashing and graphics corruption experienced by many players with NVIDIA GeForce video cards.

Criminal Intent, which was released in October, has been universally panned by players and critics for its showstopping technical problems. The fourth game in Legacy's Law & Order series, CI is the first that employs a third-person perspective. The player takes control of Detective Robert Goren, star of the NBC television series, to investigate four murder cases.

You can learn more about Criminal Intent in Adventure Gamers' review, where reviewer Christina Gmiterko admits that she would have scored the game higher if not for the bugs. Hopefully this patch will finally allow players to experience the game as it was meant to be played.



Release date looks secure for early March

This is your last chance to stock up on light bulbs, unless you think you're brave enough to play Scratches in the dark. Got Game Entertainment, the North American publisher of the upcoming horror adventure, announced today that the game has reached gold status, and is ready for duplication. Scratches is due for release on March 1st, 2006, and today's announcement makes that target look solid.

Scratches, the debut title from Nucleosys and the first commercial adventure game out of Argentina, follows the plight of writer Michael Arthate after his arrival at his new home of Blackwood Manor. Intending to settle in to finish authoring his new book, Arthate's plans are soon disrupted as "a terrible secret from the manor's past emerges to haunt the present." Controlling Arthate in this first-person, point & click adventure, you'll find yourself cut off from the outside world, and "as the odd noises echoing throughout the walls of this mysterious mansion grow ever louder, you must set about solving your home's long-held mystery. 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 Scratches, be sure to check out our recent hands-on preview.



Viva Media to publish Mysterious Codex in North America

For those who passed on the AGON adventure series due to its download-only format, good news is expected next month. Viva Media announced today that AGON: The Mysterious Codex will be hitting North American store shelves in March for both PC and Mac. The Codex includes the first three episodes of the series at a retail price of $20 USD.

AGON is an episodic adventure that follows the exploits of Professor Samuel Hunt as he travels the globe in search of twelve accursed games. Developed by Private Moon Studios, the Codex features the introductory episode based in London, and the first two standalone expeditions to the Arctic north and the tropical shores of Madagascar. Along with the larger adventure, PC players will be treated to playable versions of two obscure board games, Tablut and Fanorona, available both for single player and online competition.

For more information about the individual episodes, be sure to check out our previous reviews, or download playable demos for all three episodes from the developer's website. Episode four, Lost Sword of Toledo, is due out later this year.



More announcements to come in "ANACONDA adventure weeks"

The German publisher dtp has signed an agreement with Future Games, the team behind Black Mirror and Nibiru, to distribute their upcoming adventure Reprobates in German speaking countries. Not much has been revealed on the game's story and setting, although we know that Future Games will use an enhanced version of their point & click engine to bring Reprobates to life. The game will be released in German speaking countries in the last quarter of 2006.

Following this announcement, dtp begins their "ANACONDA adventure weeks", where the publisher will announce the signing of one new adventure project in each of the following weeks. The games will all be released in 2006 or 2007, some of them already announced, others totally new. The first game will be announced next week.

This announcement further establishes dtp's role as one of todays most interesting adventure game publishers, and the signing of Reprobates extends their already existing ANACONDA adventure range, which includes Runaway 2, 80 Days, Tony Tough 2, and 2006's hottest upcoming adventure, Dreamfall.

A teaser website for Reprobates can be found here.



Developer provides official server for Until Uru

Almost two years after the cancellation of Uru Live, Cyan Worlds has offered a glimmer of hope for the future of the online multiplayer adventure.

The developer recently announced it will be providing an official server for Until Uru, a project previously kept alive by the community through privately-run servers. In an open letter to the community, Cyan co-founder Rand Miller revealed that they have received "limited funding from a third party that allows us to breathe some refreshing new life and optimism into all things Uru."

The server, called the D'mala shard, is available for no charge to any owner of Uru, though to access it you'll require an invitation from the community.

Although providing no new content, Until Uru has preserved the Uru Live environment as a place for fans to gather and socialize. D'mala will provide Cyan with an avenue for "surveyors" to meet with fans and gather information.

There's no guarantee that this new development will ever lead to new content, and no indication of how long the D'mala server will be available, so any optimism should be cautious at this stage. Still, seeing the developer become involved again is an encouraging sign.

For more information about D'mala, Until Uru, or to request an invitation to join, be sure to check out the Myst Embassy FAQ.



Nobilis shares more details of The Forbidden Manuscript

For a game due to release this April, there's been surprisingly little information about The Secrets of DaVinci: The Forbidden Manuscript, the upcoming adventure by four partner development teams headlined by Kheops Studio. All that changed today, however, as an intriguing synopsis of the new game has now been revealed. According to Nobilis, the game's publisher:

"Valdo, an ambitious young apprentice working for Da Vinci's disciple Francesco Melzi, is extremely disappointed when the scholar suddenly dismisses him. However, shortly afterwards, he receives a letter from a mysterious patron, asking him to locate one of the great master's missing codices. To access Da Vinci's last residence, the Manoir du Cloux near Ambroise, Valdo tells its new occupant, a courtesan by the name of Babou de la Bourdaisiere, that he is Francesco Melzi's apprentice and that he wishes to examine the inventions that still remain on the estate. Under this cover, he starts to scour the estate: Babou's bedroom, Leonardo's workshop, the grounds, and dovecot, leaving no stone unturned. In the course of his investigations, he encounters a wide array of intriguing characters: Babou herself, Saturnin, a suspicious looking guardian, and the King of France himself. To accomplish his mission, he has to solve a series of enigmas devised by the great master himself if Da Vinci's inventions are to function again. On the trail of the genius, Valdo is no more aware of the secrets he is about to unveil as of the danger lurking in the dark."

The Secrets of Da Vinci promises a non-linear plot based on extensive research of the times, complemented by meticulous, historically accurate renderings of the game's locations, works, decor, and clothing. The puzzles themselves will be based on Da Vinci's own work. The game also features a "good and evil" gauge system designed to track the player's approach through the game. Based on positive or negative stances taken, there are four different endings possible.

With this new information, hopefully any remaining confusion between The Secrets of Da Vinci and the action-adventure based on Dan Brown's popular The Da Vinci Code can finally be put to rest.



Third volume finds horror in an amusement park

Independent developer Big Time Games has recently announced production of the third volume in the Delaware St. John series, entitled The Seacliff Tragedy.

Having explored a haunted hotel and a deserted town in his first two adventures, Delaware St. John is set to take his paranormal abilities to an amusement park, close for several years after a fatal accident causing many deaths. Once again he's accompanied by his trusty assistant, Kelly Bradford, though this time Kelly isn't simply along for the ride. For the first time in the series, Kelly will be a playable character in The Seacliff Tragedy.

Of course, no Delaware St. John game would be complete without new developments in the mysterious "Protector and Destroyer" saga. And this time, "someone else is in the park, on her own mission, and she holds a secret that could explain everything."

Volume three also promises to have subtitles, and Big Time Games plans to make subtitles available for the first two volumes, as well.

Look for The Seacliff Tragedy this summer, as the developer is targeting a July release date.



UK release is upcoming; North American release pushed to April

An English language demo has been released for Wicked Studios' debut game, Keepsake. The download is about 220MB and can be found at Gamer's Hell.

Keepsake is a third-person adventure game that takes place at Dragonvale Academy, a school for students of magic. The player controls Lydia, a new student who arrives to find the school empty, except for a dragon-turned-wolf named Zak. Together, Lydia and Zak must explore the deserted grounds to discover where the school's inhabitants have gone and how their disappearance relates to a mysterious jester doll--a keepsake that Lydia gave to her best friend years ago.

The demo includes a portion of the European version of the game, which is being published by Lighthouse Interactive. Unlike its German counterpart, which was released in December, the English demo does not contain copy protection. Lighthouse's version of the game went gold yesterday and is scheduled to be released in the UK later this month.

In other news, Toronto-based The Adventure Company announced today that Keepsake's North American release has been pushed to April 18. According to TAC, the delay will give them time to record new voiceovers and include "other goodies" that will be exclusive to the North American version.

Read more about Keepsake in our recent hands-on preview.

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