Adventure News

June 2007



New mystery from Frogwares due out late this year

That Sherlock Holmes sure does get around, not only in his worldly travels, but also in literary circles. After recently facing off against the worshippers of Lovecraft's Cthulhu in The Awakened, next the great detective will find himself up against a renowned gentleman thief in Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin.

While word of a new Holmes adventure from Frogwares has been available for a while now, including on the developer's own website under the name "Sherlock Holmes versus the king of thieves", Focus Home Interactive has now officially announced its partnership with Frogwares in publishing the game.

Once again presented in full 3D, the new game will see Holmes matching wits against Arsène Lupin, the fictional French burglar made famous in the early 20th century by writer Maurice Leblanc. In the game, Lupin challenges Holmes by announcing his plans to rob five valuable objects in London over the course five days. To foil Lupin's plans, players will guide Holmes through some of London's most prestigious landmarks, including the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin is currently scheduled for release late this year.



Tavra City Quest a friendly entry for those new to MMOs

After the debut of a limited beta preview on June 17th, has now launched the first full quest of its browser-based adventure MMO, The Half Broken Crown: The Broken Kingdoms.

The first point-and-click adventure, entitled "The Tavra City Quest", features a ruined city containing lost histories for players to discover and steal for the local despot, Lord Graceland. For those new to multiplayer online games, the puzzle-based game is combat-free and designed with casual players in mind. An online tutorial will ease players into the experience, and there will be extensive in-game support from the game's staff to offer advice in the first quest.

Originally scheduled for June 24th, the full launch was pushed back to June 27th to allow for additional playtesting. Chat features within the game are now functional across different platforms (PC, Mac and consoles) with the Nintendo DS being the lone exception due to current technical restrictions (support will be added at a later date). A community area with in-game forums for character creation, profiles and role playing will be unveiled sometime during the next week.

Two new adventure quests have a tentative release date of July 25th, and more will be available for purchase in the months to come, ranging in price from $2.50 to $5.00 USD. For information on the current quest, updates on future releases, complete game information and to play the game, visit The Half Broken Crown website.



Game creator on board for feature film project

According to a recent Variety report, the 1996 claymation cult favourite The Neverhood will be the next adventure game franchise on its way to the big screen.

Soon after the news that a movie version of Broken Sword is in the works, now The Neverhood has been named as one of three launch titles from Frederator Films, an independent film company that plans to focus on 2D animated movies with budgets below $20 million. The company is founded by Fred Siebert, the former president of Hanna-Barbera, and fellow industry veterans Kevin Kolde and Eric Gardner, who will work together as producers.

Even better for The Neverhood fans is the fact that Doug TenNapel, who created the original characters and co-wrote the game, is joining the film project as writer and director. TenNapel has confirmed his involvement, further revealing that he's not interested in recreating the same look as the original game, choosing instead to redesign the characters and draft several possible scenarios to best suit the needs of budget and film length. According to TenNapel, "I'm putting everything on the table story-wise and saying, 'What is the Neverhood about and who is Klaymen?'"

We're anxious to find out the answers to TenNapel's questions, so we'll be following the production of the new movie closely. At the moment, however, there is currently no scheduled release date for The Neverhood, and with production in its earliest stages, the wait will be a while yet.



Video shows prologue of Crackpot's action-adventure

June has been a good month for adventurous insects. First Bad Mojo Redux was released in the UK, and now Crackpot Entertainment has unveiled a trailer for its upcoming "action-adventure", Insecticide.

Available for streaming or download from GameTrailers, the game's prologue offers a teasing glimpse of its futuristic, humanoid bug-dominated world. The video introduces the game's main characters, detectives Chrys Liszt and partner Roachy Caruthers, members of the Insecticide Squad called in to investigate a murder at the Nectarola soft drink company.

While the developers (several of whom are key LucasArts adventure veterans) have made it clear that this game is not a traditional adventure, the gameplay in Insecticide will serve the story rather than the other way around, so any action in the game will be a natural extension of its hard-boiled detective investigation. Playing as Chrys, players will use her "unique insect abilities, a range of creative bug weaponry, and old-fashioned street smarts to solve the case and uncover a shocking secret, ultimately bringing the mighty boot of justice down hard on the city's infestation of crime."

Insecticide is being developed for both PC and handhelds, targeted for release by the end of this year. For more information about the game, be sure to check out our interview with Mike Levine.



MC2 to publish new vampire installment in North America

The Dracula franchise has lain dormant for several years, probably in a creepy old coffin, but it's due to revive later this year with the release of Dracula 3 from Kheops Studios.

Following in the footsteps of Resurrection and The Last Sanctuary, the new game is considered a continuation of the Dracula series, though at first glance the new title seems to share only a loose connection with its predecessors. In the previous games, players were cast in the role of Jonathan Harker and pitted against the schemes of Count Dracula, who had an unhealthy obsession with Harker's wife, Mina.

In Dracula 3, players assume the role of Monsignor Arno Moriano, the devil's advocate in a canonization process who travels to Transylvania in the first half of the 20th century to examine the stigmata found on a beatification candidate. He quickly discovers that the marks on the dead woman are not divine, and the local townspeople believe them to be Count Dracula's "seal", so the bishop decides to conduct his own investigation to finally settle the question of the vampire's existence.

The new game marks the first time Kheops has been involved in the series, but the studio's extensive experience with first-person, point-and-click titles should allow for a smooth transition.

A release of Christmas 2007 is currently being targeted, and MC2 will be publishing the game in North America.



"A New Light" is the latest chapter of GameTap's Uru Live

Following the debut of the first official episode for Myst Online: Uru Live in May, the second installment is now in the process of launching on GameTap.

Maintaining GameTap's commitment to updating its exclusive multiplayer adventure on a more consistent, formalized basis, "A New Light" builds on the new content offered last month in "Scars". This time around, the new episode will introduce players to the another brand new Age, Er'Cana, and players will be "asked to help feed the darkening lake." The storyline also develops further, with emerging new leaders creating a shift of power, and more beginning to fear a possible war.

Along with the more structured content, players will still be able to explore the original worlds of Uru Live and be a part of the community of explorers. For further details and to catch up on the storyline, visit the Myst Online website.



Mother of murdered toddler upset at use of iconic photo

When there are reports of a video game being banned or pulled from store shelves, the adventure genre is not the first one that comes to mind. This time, however, an adventure game is involved, as Law & Order: Double or Nothing has been pulled from store shelves in Great Britain.

The game, which was originally released in 2003, contains a background photo depiction from the 1993 James Bulger murder. The image, taken from video footage recorded on a mall security camera, shows one of the two 10-year-old boys, later convicted of murder, leading the toddler out of the shopping mall and to his eventual torture and death. The use of this image had courted no controversy until the mother of the murdered toddler, Denise Fergus, noticed the image while playing the game recently.

Responding quickly and decisively after learning of Ms. Fergus' objection to the image, the game's UK distributor, Global Software Publishing, voluntarily removed the game from store shelves. In an official statement made by Ariella Lehrer, President and CEO of the game's developers, Legacy Interactive, an apology has been offered to the Bulger family, noting that the photo was inadvertently used by American artists not aware of its significance in the UK. Legacy has also offered a patch to remove the picture and said it would not use the picture in future copies of the game.



Latest episode now available for purchase and download

The third volume of the Delaware St. John paranormal mystery series has been a while in coming, but the game is due to hit store shelves soon in both the UK and North America. For gamers who don't care about packaging, however, or just can't wait any longer to dig into the new adventure, The Seacliff Tragedy has now been released for purchase as a digital download at GamersGate.

In the latest adventure of the psychic investigator and his science-minded partner Kelly Bradford, the pair strike out for an abandoned amusement park, closed four years earlier after a tragic accident that killed over a hundred people. Playing as both Delaware and Kelly for the first time in the series, gamers must not only uncover the increasingly disturbing mystery of the park, but survive the night in a place where "demons known as Shadow People are the evil gatekeepers, guarding the desolate park from trespassers."

Retailing for $19.99 USD, the download is just over 1.1GB, so it's highly recommended for broadband users only.



Newest update offers support for additional classic game engines

While a new version of ScummVM is always welcome news, the many features sported by the latest update will be even more encouraging to fans of classic adventure gaming.

ScummVM 0.X.0 not only has a snappy name, Tic Tac Toe edition, it also features support for more classic game engines. This includes Sierra's AGI engine, which covers some of the early Space Quest and King’s Quest games, plus the engine used to make the second and third Goblins games, among several others. In addition to some 'small fixes and tweaks', the ability to add multiple games at once has also been included in a 'Mass Add' feature.

The full details of this update and a download link for the new version can be found at the ScummVM site.



Publishing deal includes Overclocked, Undercover, Belief and Betrayal

Not forgetting adventure game fans across the pond, Lighthouse Interactive has extended its North American publishing deal with dtp entertainment to bring Belief and Betrayal, Undercover: Operation Wintersun and Overclocked to several new European markets.

With the signing of this latest agreement, Lighthouse will now distribute the games in the United Kingdom, Benelux and the Scandinavian territories during the coming year. Following the same release schedule as North America, Belief and Betrayal and Undercover: Operation Wintersun are due to be released this summer, with Overclocked to follow early next year.

Lighthouse is no stranger to the genre, having released such titles as Keepsake and Barrow Hill in the UK previously. However, this international deal with dtp further establishes the company's rapidly increasing prominence in adventure game publishing, which can only be good news for English market adventure gamers.



Infamous Adventures to give cameo to successful applicant

Underground developer Infamous Adventures recently launched a contest to promote its upcoming VGA remake of the Sierra classic Space Quest II.

The winner of the summer-long contest will be given a cameo appearance in the game. Applicants must send the team an e-mail detailing why they deserve the honor. The most creative entry will be chosen.

More information can be found on the Infamous Adventures site.



Art theft provides backdrop for new conspiracy thriller

Life may imitate art, but sometimes art reminds us of death. Such is the backdrop of Memento Mori, a new adventure announced by dtp/ANACONDA.

The title comes from the Latin phrase that roughly translates as "remember you are mortal". In the game, its relevance stems from a centuries-old belief that the Angel of Death becomes visible in some paintings when seen on the verge of death. A relatively unknown order from Finland has vowed to keep these paintings out of the public eye by any means necessary, and when three paintings are stolen from the St. Petersburg Hermitage, the circumstances suggest that this order is behind the heist.

Colonel Ostankovic, commander in the St. Petersburg police department, calls in 32-year old Larisa Svetlova to investigate the case, and Larisa further recruits 31-year old Maxim Durand, an informant once arrested for art forgery. Players will control both Larisa and Maxim in investigating the St. Petersburg robbery and dig deeper into the secrets of the mysterious order behind the theft.

Memento Mori is being developed by Czech studio Centauri Production, and dtp is currently targeting a release date in early 2008.



Daedalic Entertainment to debut with environment-themed adventure

Global warming is one of the hottest topics in the world today, both literally and figuratively, and soon it will provide the basis for an ambitious new adventure. A new German studio named Daedalic Entertainment has recently revealed the first details about its debut game, an "eco-thriller" currently known by the temporary working title of Climate Change Project.

The game takes place mainly (though not exclusively) in realistic, present day settings, and casts players in the dual roles of a male and female protagonist. The man is an aging bio-engineer named Bent, whose pursuit of a revolutionary form of bio-energy has resulted in nothing but frustration. Having recently retired, he is visited by a young woman who claims to be from the future, a world devastated by uncontrolled climate change. She seems to be telling the truth, and needs Bent's help to fight an unscrupulous energy tycoon destined to facilitate a preventable global cataclysm. According to Daedalic, the game "revolves around the conflict between egotism and altruism, between idealism and betrayal -- and the whole world hangs in the balance..."

The Climate Change Project is a classic point-and-click, third-person adventure that promises 130 hand-painted screens, plenty of cinematics, and 30 characters to interact with throughout the game. Players will encounter a variety of puzzles, of course, but the developers say that the puzzles will serve the game's contemporary storyline, rather than simply serving as obstacles blocking progress.

While the name Daedalic may be new to gamers and Climate Change Project the studio's debut title, the developers are no stranger to the genre. The company was founded by Carsten Fichtelmann, who played a vital role during his many years at dtp entertainment in considerably raising the genre's profile and popularity in Germany. Daedalic will finance and develop its own games, and publish directly in German-speaking territories, looking to local partnering publishers for international distribution.

The game is still in its early stages of development, so no firm release date has been set, but Daedalic is ambitiously targeting mid-2008 for its German release, with English and other localized versions to follow shortly after.

Stay tuned to Adventure Gamers for a more detailed look at Daedalic's Climate Change Project in the near future.



Solve the mystery with your trusty Wiimote or Stylus

Koch Media has announced that their point-and-clicker Secret Files: Tunguska is now in development for Nintendo's popular handheld, the DS, and for their innovative new Wii console. The conversions are being developed by 10TACLE STUDIOS MOBILE and Keen Games respectively.

According to the developers, Secret Files: Tunguska is a game that's "a perfect-match for Wii", and is currently being optimized for use with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The DS version will take advantage of the system's dual screens, one of them touch sensitive.

The DS has already proven to be a successful platform for adventure games, with the critically acclaimed Phoenix Wright series, Another Code and Hotel Dusk already released. Secret Files: Tunguska is one of the first traditional adventures announced for the Wii, but the console could very well be an important system for adventure games in the near future.

The Nintendo DS version of Secret Files: Tunguska will hit stores in the 4th quarter of 2007, while the Wii implementation won't be out until the 1st quarter of 2008.

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