Adventure News

February 2008



Pendulo offers up first peek into third adventure

It's been no secret that a third game in the Runaway series is in the works, particularly after the cliffhanger ending of The Dream of the Turtle, but no concrete information had been revealed until recently. At this week's Game Developers Conference, however, Pendulo Studios offered up the first glimpse of the new game, and a brief preview on French website jeuxvideo fills in a few more details on the next adventure of Brian and... well, Brian, anyway.

The new game will be called Runaway: A Twist of Fate, and is being developed for simultaneous release on PC, Nintendo Wii and DS. Early reports have indicated a release in the first quarter of 2009, but the Spanish studio couldn't confirm that timeline, telling Adventure Gamers that the publishers will set an appropriate '09 release target. While official announcements will follow later, Pendulo revealed that the game has already secured several international publishers, with other territories still in negotiation.

Specific details about the game are still sketchy, though jeuxvideo reports that while it will tie up the loose ends of the previous game, A Twist of Fate is not intended to be a direct continuation of that story, but rather an all-new Runaway adventure that's accessible even to series newcomers. And while it will still feature the striking art style of its predecessors, as evidenced in the first images released, the new game will apparently have a darker, more serious atmosphere.

Love them or hate them (and you know who you are), the Runaway games are always big news for the adventure community, so we'll be sure to keep a close eye on this game in the coming months.



Video shows first in-game footage of upcoming ghost hunt

With its long-anticipated release now closing fast, The Lost Crown is starting to make some noise, beyond the things that go bump in the night. The latest revelation is a new trailer showing the first in-game footage of Jonathan Boakes' ghost hunting adventure.

In The Lost Crown, players join inexperienced ghost hunters/treasure seekers Nigel Danvers and Lucy Reubans in their search for a legendary Saxon crown along the foggy coast of England. Using real ghost-hunting technology and techniques in a variety of haunted locations to detect the hidden secrets of dead, you'll also need to contend with the fact that not everyone you meet, whether alive or beyond the grave, wants to help you in your quest.

The trailer offers several cinematic glimpses into the mostly-black and white adventure, setting a creepy, atmospheric tone for the arrival of the game this March. The 18 MB video can be downloaded directly or streamed from the game's official website.



Port of Agatha Christie whodunit available soon

It's hard to picture Agatha Christie penning her best-selling novel And Then There Were None and thinking, "Some day this will be on a Wii!" Nevertheless, almost 70 years after the book's release, the Queen of Crime is indeed coming to Nintendo's popular console, as The Adventure Company announced today that the Wii version of the acclaimed murder mystery is now shipping to retailers.

A port of the 2005 PC release of the same name, And Then There Were None tells the story of ten seemingly random strangers stranded on a small island, only to find that their anonymous host has murderous intentions. But with no one else on the island, the murderer must surely be among them. Everyone has something to fear, and everyone something to hide, and soon the victims begin to fall, one by one. As the boatman who brought the guests to the island, players must try to uncover who is behind the plot and why before no one is left alive.

The Wii port will reportedly be very similar to PC version, although now using the Wii remote to move players through the investigation. For more information about the game itself, be sure to check out the official website.



Close encounter awaits Bosco in Chariots of the Dogs

They say that even paranoids have enemies, and if the new cinematic trailer for Sam & Max: Episode 204 is any indication, we'll soon find out if that's true for Bosco and the ever-elusive T-H-E-M. (Eeeek!!)

In Chariots of the Dogs, the fourth of five episodes in Season Two, everyone's favourite heavily-fortified Inconvenience Store owner has disappeared, and it's up to Sam & Max to find out what's become of him. A few weeks remain before their discoveries are revealed, but for now the game's first screenshots and streaming trailer offer a few not-so-subtle clues. The Air Force, of course, is reporting weather balloon sightings in the area.

Chariots of the Dogs is due out March 13th exclusively on GameTap, followed the day after by its worldwide release from Telltale.



New site includes "making of" video for monasterial mystery

If you've been praying for more information about The Abbey, your faith has been rewarded with the recent launch of the English website for the monasterial mystery.

The medieval adventure from Alcachofa Soft follows a monk named Leonardo and his 13-year old assistant Bruno as they arrive in a remote monastery beset by a series of mysterious crimes. The two companions themselves are almost killed on the journey, and once they begin to investigate the secrets of the monastery, Leonardo and Bruno "uncover a plot that could shake not only the foundations of the monastery, but also those of the Church itself..."

The game's website includes the standard overview of its story and characters, along with a developer's blog and both a cinematic and "making of" trailer in the Downloads section, taking players behind the scenes for glimpses into the artistic and musical production of the game.

For more information about The Abbey, be sure to check out our first look preview of the game.



Long awaited fourth episode now shipping to retailers in UK

With well over two years since the release of Pirates of Madagascar, the AGON series certainly strains the notion of episodic gaming. At long last, however, the fourth installment in the series, The Lost Sword of Toledo, has now been released and is shipping to retailers in the UK.

In the latest adventure of Professor Samuel Hunt, players will travel to the picturesque Spanish town of Toledo in the ongoing pursuit of a series of ancient games. All is not well in the town, however, as a young man is caught stealing treasures, which opens old wounds between local families and stirs up troubling secrets once taken to the grave.

Unlike the previous three episodes, which were originally released only as downloads before being bundled in the Mysterious Codex, The Lost Sword of Toledo promises to be a much longer game and is the first to be released as a standalone boxed product.

For more information about the new AGON game, be sure to check out the official website.



New Dave Gilbert adventure game coming to casual portal

Playfirst, primarily known as a publisher of casual games such as Diner Dash, announced at GDC this week that they have entered into an agreement with developer Wadjet Eye Games to bring a new adventure game to their portal. The game will be designed by Dave Gilbert, whose previous work includes The Shivah and The Blackwell Legacy, and developed by a team Gilbert is currently assembling.

Gilbert pitched the new game to Playfirst after meeting their Vice President and Creative Director Kenny Dinkin at a party at last year's GDC. Playfirst had already had success with its Dream Chronicle games, which blend casual and adventure game elements, and were looking for a new title to continue serving this audience. According to Director of Publishing Craig Bocks, the publisher's interest in Wadjet Eye Games was due to the quality of the adventure games Gilbert had made in the past. "We're excited to find innovative game developers, and are always looking for new, passionate people," Bocks told Adventure Gamers. "We recognized that in Dave."

Bocks and Gilbert both say that the new game will be an adventure in the style of Gilbert's previous work, but with streamlining such as a simplified interface to appeal to Playfirst's primarily casual audience. The game will be developed using Playfirst's proprietary toolset and will be released on PC and Macintosh first, and potentially on console platforms later on. No details have been released about the plot or gameplay, other than the fact that this is not another game in Gilbert's ongoing Blackwell series. Playfirst expects to release more information about the game this summer, with a launch following in late 2008 or early 2009.

Gilbert told Adventure Gamers that he will continue working on the next game in the Blackwell series, The Blackwell Convergence, in addition to developing the new game with Playfirst, but it probably won't be completed as quickly as it would have been otherwise. While this may come as a disappointment to Blackwell fans, Gilbert is extremely optimistic about the Playfirst deal. "It's the first time I've had the opportunity to make a game with a high budget and high production values," says Gilbert, who got his start in game development with free AGS titles. "I never envisioned this happening. It's really exciting."



First DS exclusive Ace Attorney game now available

If you've been worried that your Nintendo DS hasn't been getting enough adventure games lately, this week has brought some good news. Following the recent release of Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Capcom has just announced that Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is now shipping to retailers.

The latest game in the Ace Attorney series is the debut title for the newest attorney, Apollo Justice, and the first to be developed exclusively for the DS. Along with the familiar gameplay elements found in the Phoenix Wright series, there is the "Crime Recreation Mode" to investigate the crime scene and collect evidence.

For more information about the game, check out the official Ace Attorney website.



Mike Stemmle headlines new hires as studio targets multiple platforms

At an early GDC gathering on Monday evening, Telltale Games revealed that prominent industry veterans Mike Stemmle, Justin Chin, and Brett Tosti have now joined the rapidly-expanding company. In fact, the latest round of hirings has virtually doubled the size of the California-based studio in the past year. The extra staffing is needed, too, as Telltale also revealed that it is gearing up for "two unannounced series" already in development.

Perhaps the most recognizable name among the new recruits is Mike Stemmle, who co-designed Sam & Max Hit the Road and was lead designer on the ill-fated Sam & Max Freelance Police at LucasArts. Not surprisingly, Stemmle will work as designer on Telltale's own Sam & Max series, along with other upcoming projects.

Justin Chin and Brett Tosti may be less known to adventure fans, but each has extensive industry experience. Chin is an award-winning artist and designer, whose latest project was as lead designer of The Simpsons Game. Tosti has worked as producer on several high-profile games over the years, including the Rogue Squadron games for Nintendo and Lair for the PlayStation 3. Chin and Tosti will serve as executive producers, overseeing the as-yet-undisclosed new projects.

While Telltale is currently keeping its upcoming games under wraps, CEO Dan Connors indicated that announcements of "several new episodic series on multiple platforms" will be coming soon.

Stay tuned for more news about Telltale's new projects as it becomes available. As an added bonus, look for an interview with Mike Stemmle here at Adventure Gamers in the near future.



Horror adventure based on Welsh mythology targets summer release

Although its release is still several months off, independent developer Arberth Studios is gearing up for its first-person horror adventure Rhiannon - Beyond the Mabinogion with the launch of a teaser trailer.

Based on the "Four Branches" tales of the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh historical myths about the ancient kings and warriors of the British Isles, the game is a modern day adventure that sends players to a rural farmstead known as 'Ty Pryderi'. Named after a legendary Welsh prince, the house was recently home to 15-year old Rhiannon Sullivan. Often left alone, with few friends and busy parents, Rhiannon began to see and hear unexplained things that a historian believed to be the result of a "terrible connection to an age-old battle of man and magic." Rhiannon was moved from the house, but players must seek to stop an "ancient inevitability" as the lines between legend and fact, past and present, become increasingly blurred.

The 20 MB trailer offers a brief teaser of the game, and can be found in the "Downloads" section of the game's official website. Note that while the trailer comes with a disclaimer saying that it's "not to be viewed by minors or those of a nervous disposition", the video is very mild, containing nothing of particular concern for even the most sensitive of viewers.



Nelly Cootalot tops all winners with five awards

The annual Adventure Game Studio Awards results have been announced, with Nelly Cootalot doing the best, gaining five awards including Best Game. A Tale of Two Kingdoms also did well, receiving four awards, and Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw also pulled in four awards with two apiece for his games The Art of Theft and 6 Days a Sacrifice.

The Awards ceremony can be experienced as an AGS game or you can go for the more traditional text version on the AGS Wiki.



New DS game will feature weekly downloadable puzzles

With the Professor Layton games already a hit in Japan, North American gamers are now getting a chance to see what the series is all about with the recent release of Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the Nintendo DS.

This new puzzle adventure game involves the small village of St. Mystere, where a wealthy baron has recently died and left instructions to find his fortune in the form of a complex puzzle. Archaeologist and puzzle master Professor Layton, along with his sidekick Luke, are called upon to try and solve this puzzle for the baron's family and encounter another mystery along the way.

As an added bonus, for a limited time there will be weekly downloadable puzzles for Professor Layton and the Curious Village that will be available over the Nintendo's Wi-Fi connection.

For more information about the game and to play an online demo, be sure to visit the official website.



The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society expected this summer

Nancy Drew made her debut on the Nintendo DS in late 2007 with the release of The Deadly Secret of Olde World Park. Unlike the PC series from Her Interactive, that debut title featured Nancy in a third-person view for the first time, with a heavy emphasis on minigames over detective work. While recognizing the need for some changes, Majesco has decided that Nancy has a future on the DS with their announcement of the next game in the series, Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society.

The new game has Nancy trying to gain membership into an elite group of detectives, The Clue Bender Society. As one of three candidates looking to enter the society, Nancy must face a series of challenges set before her. As she is solving these tests, a real mystery emerges involving the disappearance of a secret tome. Nancy is called upon by The Clue Bender Society to find this book.

This time around, the developers will take advantage of the unique features of the Nintendo DS for puzzle solving that is more oriented towards Nancy's detective skills. The game will have nine chapters and the puzzles will involve tasks such as fingerprint retrieval, interrogations, trailing suspects and finding clues using the microphone, which will get increasing difficult as the game progresses.

The game is expected to release in the summer of 2008.



First four levels of Deck13's upcoming adventure now available

It's been a productive week for Jack Keane. First came the announcement that the swashbuckling new adventure from Deck13 had found a North American publisher, and now today 10tacle Studios has launched a playable demo of the game.

The demo includes the first four levels of the comic adventure, introducing the main characters and setting up the premise for the full game. After a bit of creative escape artistry in London, which sees Jack fleeing the clutches of thugs looking for payback (one way or the other), Jack accepts a seemingly simple mission to escort a secret agent to the mysterious Tooth Island in the Indian Ocean. After a brief stopover in Capetown, however, Jack eventually finds himself "facing off against carnivorous plants, battling an army of crazed apes, encountering a beautiful and morally ambiguous bounty hunter named Amanda, and ultimately taking on the evil mad scientist Dr. T to decide the fate of the British Empire."

The 640 MB demo is available directly from the Jack Keane website.

If you like what you see, the wait for the full game isn't much longer, as the game is due to release in various parts of Europe in early March, and a month later in North America.

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