Adventure News

February 2011



New Sierra-styled fantasy adventure to include light RPG elements

Given the popularity of Quest for Glory back in the day, it's surprising that we haven't seen more classic quest adventures with light RPG elements over the years. That's all about to change (abeit not until late next year), as Himalaya Studios has announced production of Mage's Initiation: Reign of the Elements.

Mage's Initiation tells the story of 16 year old D'Arc, a student of elemental arts in the medieval land of Igninor who has finished his decade-long training and is now ready for the trial to become a full-fledged Mage. His dangerous quest will take him through forests, over desert wastelands, across large bodies of water, and up high mountains in a challenge that will "test his magical and mental strength to full capacity. He must return to the Mage's Hall bearing a symbol of proof that he has conquered each task: a lock of hair from banished priestess, the unspoiled shell of griffon's egg, and the horn of a trihorn."

Unlike most adventures, D'Arc has more than just his wits to rely on, as Mage's Initiation includes some roleplaying and character building features. Players will control one of four Mage classes specializing in air, water, fire, and earth elements, each of which has "a range of different spells at his disposal and a unique personality to aid in negotiating puzzles and overcoming adversities." In an unsual twist, however, it's not the player who chooses the class, as "your element will choose you, in-game, depending on your decisions and behaviour."

It'll be a while before we see the game, as Himalaya is targeting completion late in 2012, but keep an eye on the official website for more details in the coming months.



Jane Jensen's long awaited new adventure now available in English-language markets

After seven long years of anticipation since first being teased of a new Jane Jensen adventure, now fans across the globe can find out for themselves if the wait was worth it, as Gray Matter is now shipping in both the UK and North America.

Even the most casual of adventure game fans know Gray Matter's story by now, as young street magician Samantha Everett joins reclusive neurobiologist Dr. David Styles as an assistant for a series of experiments designed to test psychic abilities in the human mind. Styles is convinced his dead wife is trying to contact him from beyond the grave, but his visualization experiments soon result in terrifying real-world consequences. The question for Sam is whether there is a dangerous spectral force at work, or if someone is merely tampering with Styles' research for purely personal reasons.

Though an English version of Gray Matter was included in a multi-language German release, this week marks the first time the game will appear in English-language markets. The game is now available for PC in both the UK and North America, while an Xbox 360 version of the game is now shipping in the UK as well.

For full details about the game, be sure to check out our Gray Matter review.



Playable sampler heralds release of futuristic sci-fi thriller from Wadjet Eye Games

The future is now for sci-fi fans, as Wadjet Eye Games today released a demo for Gemini Rue, just a day before the game begins shipping.

The 2010 Independent Game Festival Student Showcase winner from Joshua Nuernberger casts players in the dual roles of Azriel Odin, an ex-assassin for the Boryokudan crime syndicate now seeking someone who's gone missing, and Delta-Six, a rehabilitation patient who's had his mind wiped at the oppressive Center 7 facility but is determined to escape. Their stories seemingly unrelated and set a galaxy apart, eventually they converge in dark and dramatic fashion in this increasingly bleak and sinister neo-noir thriller.

The demo begins right at the start of the game, with a brief introduction to Delta-Six before giving players control of Azriel on the rain-drenched planet of Barracus. The 140 MB sampler can be downloaded exclusively from FileFront. The full game is scheduled to release tomorrow at the Wadjet Eye website. If you like what you see, there's still a final chance to order the Limited Edition CD version of the game, though once the special offer expires on February 27th, the game will only be available as a download.

Our review of Gemini Rue is coming soon, but in the meantime, for more information be sure to check out our hands-on preview for some early first impressions.



Protagonists Dan Murray and Liz Allaire featured in comedic videos

Pendulo Studio's The Next BIG Thing may be notable for its many monsters living in 1940s Hollywood, but it's the game's human stars Liz Allaire and Dan Murray who are featured prominently in a pair of recent trailers.

Set in a world where monsters are real and starring in show business, The Next BIG Thing maintains the distinctive hand-drawn art style and comedic sensibilities of developers previous Runaway series, but with a new pair of protagonists this time. The two journalists are reluctantly thrust together at a party for the rich and famous, where Liz spots someone breaking into the office of the blue-leathery-skinned movie mogul William A. FitzRandolph

The 23 year old Liz Allaire is an up-and-coming rookie at The Quill, assigned to cover the society section. Still learning the ropes of her craft, the eccentric Liz believes she's caught her big break when she sees the FitzRandolph break-in by "Big Albert, the world's most intelligent man and most famous monster movie star."

Dan Murray is a 27 year old former sports journalist who is now covering the society section as well due to discipline problems. Refusing to take his demotion with any grace at all, he lets Liz do all the work at the annual Horror Movie Awards Ceremony", but when Liz is reported missing the next day, Dan knows he "will never go back to the sports section if he doesn't find her and her report."

For more details about the bizarre cast of The Next BIG Thing, head on over to the official website.



Trailer heralds Russian-made puzzle-adventure coming to UK in April

Never mind the Big Bang theory. It's The Tiny Bang Story adventurers really care about, as the Russian-made puzzle-adventure was announced today for release this spring.

Developed by Colibri Games, The Tiny Bang Story is a hand-drawn point-and-click adventure about a Tiny Planet destroyed by an asteroid. With the world now scattered in pieces, players must "solve numerous puzzles and fix imaginative machines" over the course of five chapters in order to "recover its lost beauty and help the population of the Tiny Planet".

Citing the success of the acclaimed Machinarium as an inspiration for publishing The Tiny Bang Story, Lace Mamba Global will be distributing the game throughout Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in a special retail "Collector's Edition".

The Tiny Bang Story is scheduled for release in April for both PC and Mac.



Series premiere coming in April, preorders start today

Hot on the heels of their new series announcements, Telltale has revealed a frightening first look at their upcoming Jurassic Park.

The game will explore what’s happening in other areas of the ill-fated dinosaur park during the timeline of the first Jurassic Park movie. According to Telltale, the storyline "picks up on the stormy night as Jurassic Park began to fall apart—when Dennis Nedry stole a Barbasol can full of invaluable dinosaur embryos. He died trying to deliver it. He never knew it contained a tracking device. That same night, a desperate smuggler infiltrates Isla Nublar, hunting the canister and its precious cargo. She collides—literally—with park staff trying to evacuate. They are trapped together as the park collapses, left behind with the newly-freed dinosaurs.”

The five-episode series will launch in April, and starting today can be preordered for $29.99. This represents a $5 discount from the regular price of $34.99.

Adventure Gamers will post hands-on impressions of Jurassic Park soon. In the meantime, check out the trailer and steel yourself for a gaming experience of massive proportions.



Hector: Badge of Carnage, The Walking Dead, and FABLES included in new episodic lineup

At a press event last night in San Francisco, Telltale announced plans for five upcoming games—some that will be new to the adventure scene, and others that should feel right at home.

Telltale has entered into an agreement with Activision, current owner of the rights to the classic Sierra On-Line adventure franchises, to create new episodic games based on these series. The first will be King’s Quest. Few details were available at the event, but Adventure Gamers will be following up with Telltale to learn more about their plans for these old favorites.

Hector: Badge of Carnage developer Straandlooper Animation will team up with Telltale to bring their acclaimed, currently iPhone-exclusive adventure to PC, Mac, and iPad. The partnership will also allow for the continuation of the Hector series, with two new episodes planned for release on all four platforms.

A partnership with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman will yield games based on the apocalyptic comic book series. An Eisner-winning series that has come to television on the AMC Network, The Walking Dead “is an epic drama where personal trials are magnified against a backdrop of moment-to-moment survival.” Though no specific platforms were announced, Telltale says the agreement covers PC, Mac, console, handheld, mobile and social gaming media. More details will be announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July, with the games planned for a fourth quarter 2011 debut.

Bill Willingham’s FABLES, one of DC Comics’ longest-running series, will also get the Telltale treatment. In these award-winning comics, beloved storybook characters such as Snow White and Little Boy Blue have relocated to a “magically camouflaged New York City neighborhood known as Fabletown” where they live among us. More information will be revealed at Comic-Con.

Last but not least (and the only one with video), is a sequel to Puzzle Agent, which was released as a standalone game in Telltale’s experimental pilot program. In Puzzle Agent 2, “ace puzzle investigators will return to the snowy mid-west to help Agent Tethers solve the mystery haunting the realm.” The game is scheduled for a summer release on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and PlayStation Network. Unlike Telltale’s other episodic series, Puzzle Agent 2 will be a standalone game that provides closure to the mystery of Scoggins. The company also announced that the first Puzzle Agent game will be coming to PSN this spring.



Norse-themed first-person puzzler now available for purchase

Solitary first-person puzzler fans could feel like they're in Utopia today – quite literally, as Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok has been released today in the UK.

The Utopia in question is a massive city inside a building, the brainchild of Baron Wittard, an eccentric architect. Designed to feature thousands of apartments and all the standard amenities, Wittard's vision was never realized, as a series of unexplained mysteries began plaguing the construction. Abandoned before it was finished, the Utopia now stands empty, and it's your job to enter the city and take photographs for your magazine. However, you aren't entirely alone, as it seems that there's a malevolent, electrical entity in there with you that may just tie in to Norse mythology about the end of the world.

Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok retails for €19.99, and is available today at UK retailers. For more details about the game, check out our recent hands-on preview and pop over to the official website.



Narrated video offers insights from series author Anne von Vaszary

With the release of Black Mirror III: The Final Chapter closing in on its spring launch, Lace Mamba Global today released a lengthy new trailer offering behind-the-scenes insight about the game from writer Anne von Vaszary.

Narrated in German but with English subtitles, von Vaszary shares a brief review of the key events from Black Mirror and its sequel (note: this includes serious spoilers for those who haven't yet completed those games), along with a preview of what to expect in the upcoming third installment. Filmed at Cranberry Production's studio in Germany, the seven-minute video also provides some background information about the game's development process.

Black Mirror III picks up immediately after the cliffhanger events of its predecessor. The Black Mirror Castle is now ablaze, and protagonist Darren Michaels is the chief suspect not only of arson, but some nearby murders as well. Imprisoned and forced to undergo psychological testing, Darren even questions his own sanity when he begins having dark visions of committing gruesome acts.

Black Mirror III: The Final Chater (subtitled Final Fear in North America) is due out this April.



Episode 2 now available to download on PC and Mac

My my, where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday we were playing the first episode of Back to the Future, but here it is February and time for the next installment, Get Tannen!

The second episode picks right up where the last game left off, with Doc Brown still in 1930s Hill Valley along with Marty, who's beginning to feel a little immaterial as a result of their recent time-altering actions. This time around, Marty's grandfather is in trouble, and naturally a Tannen is the source of the problem. But can Marty save his ancestor in time without running into his own earlier incarnation first?

Get Tannen! is available now for download on PC and Mac directly from Telltale, only as part of a full-season order. For more details about the five-part series, be sure to visit the official website, where a trailer for Episode 2 is now on display.

Those waiting to play the game on PlayStation 3 will need to wait a while longer yet, though the first episode, It's About Time, recently released on the PlayStation Network in North America.



New puzzle-adventure from Konami coming to Nintendo 3DS

Watch out, Professor Layton! There's a new puzzle-solver coming to town, and he's arriving in 3D.

With the Nintendo 3DS nearly upon us, we're going to need games to play on it, and the adventure genre looks to be well represented. Among the first arrivals will be Konami's Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, a puzzle-based adventure starring the eponymous archeologist Jean-Pierre Lautrec. Lautrec is a treasure hunter in 19th century Paris, and "upon stumbling on an old and mysterious map, Dr. Lautrec and his assistant, Sophie, traverse the peaks and valleys of old world Paris in search of hidden treasures and jewels that are believed to be those of Louis XIV, one of the most storied dynasties ever to rule."

Along with a "hours of puzzles and exploration with a rich cast of supporting characters on hand to both assist and hinder Lautrec's quest", this game aims to make full use of the unique 3DS capabilities, as Konami is promising to "add 3D solutions to key puzzles, including the ability to scrutinize located objects from all directions, or zoom in to highlight a piece of scenery that matches something on the map."

There is no firm release date planned just yet, but Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights is expected to launch some time this summer. In the meantime, be sure to drop by the official website for more information.



House of Tales' political thriller to get long-awaited boxed version soon

The expected arrival of a boxed version of 15 Days ended up taking many long months, but at long last the wait appears to be over, as Lace Mamba Global announced that the game will be released in the UK on March 4th.

The political thriller from German developer House of Tales follows the exploits of three young art thieves. Like modern day Robin Hoods, the London trio steals valuable paintings from museums and then donates the sales proceeds to charitable African causes. Things go terribly wrong, however, when their latest heist becomes connected to the death of a prominent politician and puts a US special agent on their trail. What's worse, their newest assignment for an anonymous benefactor proves to be a dangerous one that ends up "entangling all four into affairs of international politics."

Originally launched as a download-only title last June, this release marks the first available boxed version of the game. True to its name, there are only 15 more days between now and the game's release in UK stores.



3D glasses included in supernatural mystery coming this spring

The term "3D graphics" is about to take on a whole new meaning this spring, as bitComposer Games has just unveiled the first details about The Rockin' Dead, the first point-and-click adventure to make use of optical 3D technology.

The Rockin' Dead is a B movie-style supernatural mystery that casts players in the role of Alyssa, leader of a struggling heavy metal girl band. After receiving an anonymous invitation to a new gig and setting out in the tour bus, the trio "have a road accident in the boondocks. Alyssa regains consciousness only to find that all of the band’s equipment and the other two girls have vanished into thin air! The adventure begins here and, in her search to solve the mystery, it leads Alyssa ever deeper into a world of undead beings, rocking skeletons and a host of other bizarre creatures!"

Developed by German studio Grasland Production, The Rockin' Dead will come in both 2D and 3D versions, with glasses included to make full use of the game's Anaglyph 3D technology. The game also promises 93 locations to explore and over 20 unusual characters to interact with along the way.

No firm release date has been set yet, but The Rockin' Dead is currently scheduled for completion some time in the second quarter of 2011.



Daedalic's "old school" comic adventure now shipping in both UK and North America

Edna & Harvey have been striving for release a long time, and now they finally have, as the appropriately-titled Edna & Harvey: The Breakout is now available in both the UK and North America.

Originally released to widespread acclaim in Germany in 2008, the self-professed "old-school" comic adventure now gives the rest of us a glimpse into the troubled world of young Edna and her talking stuffed rabbit Harvey. Edna is locked away in an asylum with no memory of her past, and it seems like the maniacal head doctor and hospital staff are determined to prevent her from learning the truth. In order to discover the secrets they're hiding (and just because she's perfectly sane – Harvey says so), Edna must escape her padded cell and make her way past the asylum's bizarre cast of residents to reach the free world outside.

Viva Media is publishing the game in North America, and the game should already be available at major retailers. In the UK, Lace Mamba Global is releasing the game as a "Collector's Edition", complete with the soundtrack on a separate music CD and an A2 artwork poster.

For more information about Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, head on over to the game's official website.

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