Adventure News

May 2007



Partnership includes Overclocked, Undercover, and Belief & Betrayal

The English-speaking adventure market got a huge boost today as dtp entertainment and Lighthouse Interactive have announced a partnership that will bring three new adventures to North America during the coming year.

The partnership includes Sproing Interactive's WWII-themed spy thriller Undercover: Operation Wintersun and Artematica's conspiracy adventure Belief & Betrayal, which will be released this summer, and House of Tales' highly-anticipated Overclocked, a psychological exploration of violence now due early in 2008.

English localization and international distribution have become an increasing problem for European publishers. With Undercover and Belief & Betrayal having launched several months ago in German, doubt was beginning to emerge that these games would reach its English audience, so the new partnership comes as welcome news to adventure fans. There's no word yet on whether the partnership will extend in future to other key dtp titles in production, including the likes of Gray Matter, So Blonde, and Mata Hari, but today's announcement marks a significant step for the German publisher in bringing its games to wider audiences.

For previews and more information about each game involved in this partnership, be sure to click through the game links provided above.



Experience the horror in an open-source environment

Frictional Games announced today the release of a Linux version of Episode One of their horror adventure Penumbra: Overture.

The Windows version was released in March, and was described as "a decent catch for horror fans" by our reviewer. Now, users of the operating system Linux can experience the horror, as an open source-friendly version of the game has been made available for purchase through digital download on the Penumbra website. If you need to try before you buy, a demo version is also available.

Also, a Mac version of the demo has been listed as "coming soon".



Horror adventure finds a worldwide publisher

Philosophy says there's no light without darkness, no darkness without light, and never has that been more true than with Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder, the horror adventure that will be published worldwide by Lighthouse Interactive.

Originally known as the tongue-twisting Loath Nolder: Labores Solis, the adventure debut from Zoetrope Interactive is a first-person, node-based thriller that finds its inspiration in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The story itself is an original tale that casts players as detective Howard Loreid, who is called in to investigate the murder of a wealthy man heavily involved in occult activity. The prime suspect is a private investigator named Loath Nolder, whose unexplained behaviour previously caused him to quit his practice and disappear for five years before returning just as suddenly. Now Nolder is gone again, and this time it's the player's job to hunt him down.

Darkness Within is no ordinary murder mystery, however, as lucid dreams and paranormal events plague your investigation, and the chase "takes players to an eerie and disturbing corner of the human psyche exploring nightmares, the occult, and a frightening psychological world". The game introduces several interesting features, including a built-in hint system with three difficulty levels, an inventory-style system for collecting and analyzing thoughts and clues, plus several special effects to reflect the changing psychological state of the the player character.

Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder is currently scheduled for release some time this fall. In the meantime, be sure to check out our early preview of the game.



Original cockroach adventure arrives in the UK

Adventure fans in the UK have something to smile about as Bad Mojo Redux is finally getting a release. The redux version of the game means that not only do you get Bad Mojo included in the package (which has had many of its technical issues eliminated and its FMV sequences enhanced), but also a bonus DVD that includes a making of documentary, concept art and storyboards.

Bad Mojo Redux sees mad entomologist Roger Samms transformed into a cockroach by a magic medallion. The game has you exploring the world as one of these creepy critters whilst trying to find a way to get back into your original human form. You can read the Adventure Gamers' review which praises the game for its original premise, inventive puzzles and great design.

Xider Games will be publishing the game originally re-released in 2004 at a bargain price tag of £9.99, ready to hit the shelves on June 8th 2007.



Escape from the doomed Space Station

A new AGS adventure, Trevor Daison in Outer Space, Chapter 1, seems to have popped out of nowhere with a reasonable set of graphics and animation and is available in slightly-dodgy-English and German.

Our hero, Trevor, seems to have had a bit of a lie in while the space station he was on was evacuated after a collision and he now finds himself stranded with no apparent means of escape. The aim of the game is obvious: get our Trev to safety before the space station plummets into the planet, or "ceases to glow" as the game poetically but cryptically puts it.

You can">download Trevor Daison in Outer Space here



Motion picture in the works for popular adventure franchise

Break out the popcorn, it's Broken Sword time.

While those notions seem contradictory on the surface (as anyone who's played a game with greasy fingers will attest), that's about to change with the upcoming motion picture based on Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars.

As first revealed on the movie website, the live-action film adaptation of the first Broken Sword game (known as Circle of Blood in North America) will be handled by CastleBright Studios, and with three other games in the popular series, additional movies may follow beyond that.

Broken Sword creator Charles Cecil has confirmed to Adventure Gamers that Revolution is working with CastleBright on the film project, though few details have been revealed at this point, as even the extent of Cecil's involvement has yet to be determined. According to ComingSoon, however, the producers are committed to maintaining the spirit of the Broken Sword game franchise as they bring the first adventure of George and Nico to the silver screen.

While game franchise-to-movie adaptations are becoming more and more popular in Hollywood, from Tomb Raider to Doom to Aliens vs. Predator, most have come from heavily action-oriented games, and the results have been fairly shallow experiences and poor movies. With the recent conversion of Silent Hill and now Broken Sword on the horizon, however, here's hoping that Hollywood has begun looking into the industry's better storytelling prospects.

We'll be sure to keep a close eye on the development of the Broken Sword movie, with more details provided as they become available.



Enhanced version has shipped in North America

It's been a year since the retail debut of Scratches, the debut horror adventure by Argentinian developer Nucleosys, but it hasn't been a quiet year. In fact, those terrifying scratches are not only back, but louder than ever in the recent release of Scratches: Director's Cut in North America.

While essentially the same game as the original Scratches, the Director's Cut adds several key features to enhance the experience. Included in the extended version are an optional new control scheme, a diary of the main character, an alternate ending, plus one original new chapter entitled "The Last Visit".

The story of Scratches remains the same, with horror writer Michael Arthate arriving at the abandoned Blackwood Manor to begin his new book. What he finds, however, are real terrors that begin to haunt him as he begins to explore the creepy old mansion and its surrounding grounds. Players must guide Michael in an attempt to discover the manor's dark and dangerous secrets without becoming its latest victim.

Published by Got Game Entertainment, Scratches: Director's Cut should already be on store shelves for a retail cost of $19.99 USD. For more information about the game, check out our original review and head on over to Got Game's Scratches website.



First Wii adventure gets a final title

We've known it as Project Treasure Island Z thus far, but the first adventure for the Nintendo Wii will now sail under the title flag of Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure.

Developed by Capcom, the company behind the popular Phoenix Wright adventure series for the DS, Zack & Wiki is described as "an innovative, full-length puzzle adventure game that utilizes the unique control mechanics of the Wii Remote." In the game, a young pirate apprentice named Zack discovers a talking skull that proves to be Barbaros, a notorious pirate who once hid an immense treasure on a mysterious island. Barbaros promises to share the secret that leads to the treasure if Zack will help lift his curse, and so the adventure begins.

According to Capcom, the Wii controls will allow for such actions as rotating handles, turning keys to open doors, and playing a piccolo, to name just a few, in a game that serves up "progressively difficult puzzle stages" as the player moves through a variety of environments, including "a jungle, ice temple, volcanic caves and more, each with multiple sub-areas."

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure is scheduled for release this fall.



New Age, new ongoing update structure begins May 19th

In an effort to better coordinate new content in Myst Online: Uru Live, GameTap has announced that the online multiplayer adventure will be implementing a new episodic model beginning this month.

Instead of updates occurring randomly, the new plan is for all content and story events to be introduced in "episodes" that are released within a single week each month. Updates will include such things as "new Ages, pages, clothing, character interaction, story revelations, artifacts and intrigue". The more structured format will allow players to plan their schedules around the updates.

The first of the new episodes is called "Scars", and will launch on May 19th. The episode includes the brand new Age of Minkata, but players will find that "calamity arrives when someone close to them dies. The effects of this tragedy will change the course of the restoration forever."

To celebrate the debut of the new episode, Myst Online creator Rand Miller and others from Cyan Worlds will host an in-game event, interacting with other players and answering questions. The meet-and-greet will take place on May 24th at 9:00pm EST at "A Beginner's Bevin".



Season finale released today, plus first DVD details revealed

A mere six months ago, Sam & Max: Season 1 was just getting underway, and today the six-part comic adventure series comes to a close with Telltale's release of Episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon for download and purchase.

In the finale, the mind control scheme building throughout the season's episodes finally reaches global proportions, and the Freelance Police are off to the moon to save the planet from a hypnotic fate. Like the previous episodes, Bright Side of the Moon is priced at $8.95 USD as a standalone episode, or as part of the full season package, both of which are available at Telltale's website.

By maintaining its promised schedule while still delivering high quality games, Telltale has established episodic gaming as a viable format in the right hands. For anyone still scared off by bite-sized episodes, however, and for those who like to hold their games physically in hand, Telltale has released the first details of its full-season DVD release, available for only the additional cost of shipping to anyone who purchased the full season. The packaged version will contain plenty of extras and come in a slipcase with original cover art by Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell. According to the website, shipping will begin in June.



TAC to publish the latest Atlantis adventure this month

Nobody keeps a secret quite like Atlantis. Despite repeated attempts, the fabled sunken city still hasn't surrendered all its mysteries, but gamers in North America will get another shot at discovering them, as The Adventure Company will be releasing The Secrets of Atlantis later this month.

Already released in limited European markets, the fifth game in the (extremely) loosely-connected Atlantis series features a unique film-noir art style, and deposits players aboard the Hindenburg in 1937 to begin the new adventure. An aeronautical engineer named Howard Brooks finds himself trapped on the famed zeppelin when an occult sect target him as the link to an incredible secret of a forgotten civilization. Playing as Howard, gamers will need to escape the trap laid for him before embarking on a globetrotting adventure that takes him to such places as Macao, an Indian Palace, a temple in Mesopotamia and the Empire State Building in New York.

The Secrets of Atlantis is scheduled for release on PC this May 22nd for $29.99 USD.



Malinche announces new fantasy text adventures

Warm up those typing fingers, Interactive Fiction fans, because they'll soon be getting a workout, as Malinche Entertainment has announced the imminent release of Pentari: The Apprentice, with Pentari: Second Dawn to follow some time later.

There aren't many commercial text adventures anymore, but Malinche just keeps rolling along. The Apprentice represents the company's tenth IF title in five years, and returns gamers to a setting first visited in Pentari: First Light. The two new Pentari games are described by Malinche as "parallel works" telling the same story from two entirely different perspectives.

In The Apprentice, players assume the role of a young wizard training to become a full-fledged sorcerer. But when his master is abducted, a much deeper plot is exposed that threatens the city of Lindon and the Kingdom of Pentari itself. With only a tentative grasp of magic at his command, the apprentice "goes on a quest to save his city and his master as he meets up with pirates, exploited ants, a smart-alec dragon and a retired wizard who's seen it all. All of the young wizard's encounters prepare him for a showdown with the Dark Queen of Umbra where the fate of two nations lies in the balance."

Pentari: The Apprentice will be available in various formats directly from Malinche on May 24th. Pre-orders are being accepted now, and prices range from $9.95-$34.95 USD, depending on the version chosen.



Renowned designer contributing to Penny Arcade's episodic series

A team of Hothead Games and the Grumpy Gamer may seem like a volatile combination, but the recently announced development collaboration with Ron Gilbert is good news for Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.

Based on the popular web comic by Jerry "Tycho" Holkins and Mike "Gabe" Krahulik, On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness is a planned episodic, downloadable game series featuring the characters from Penny Arcade. Gilbert should need no introduction in the adventure community. The renowned former LucasArts pioneer is best known for the creation of such classics as the Monkey Island series and Maniac Mansion, plus a variety of highly acclaimed childrens' adventures with Humongous Entertainment.

Although absent from the genre for many years now, Gilbert welcomed the opportunity to work on the Penny Arcade project, claiming "when I first heard they were making a game and that they had chosen to weave adventure game elements into it, I knew immediately I wanted to be involved." Although Gilbert's role has not clearly been defined, the relationship between Penny Arcade, Hothead, and Gilbert is described as "an intense collaborative development process".

For hopeful adventure game purists, however, this news does not mean that the series is moving towards a more traditional adventure format. Very little has been revealed about the gameplay so far, but early indications, including the first trailer, suggest that the game can more accurately be described as an action/adventure hybrid. But with Gilbert's involvement, the adventuring aspect should be in good hands, and we'll be keeping a close eye on this game's development.

For additional information about Penny Arcade, including a recent news update commenting on Gilbert's involvement, head on over to the PA website.



Got Game to publish Italian indie adventure in July

Hot on the heels of a publishing announcement for Anacapri: The Dream in all territories except North America, today Got Game Entertainment revealed its plans to bring the Italian indie adventure to the New World in July.

A "spiritual successor" to A Quiet Weekend in Capri, which Got Game also published in North America three years ago, Anacapri returns players to the scenic island for another point-and-click "travel-adventure game". This time out, players must search for a legendary Obsidian Disk, a powerful but dangerous historical artifact. As the storyline weaves between reality and myth, past and present, players will explore more than 8000 individual screens set mainly in the island's northern regions of Anacapri.

For more information about Anacapri: The Dream, be sure to check out our recent preview and head over to Got Game's Anacapri website.

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