Adventure News
 


October 2013

30

Oct

When Adventure Mob decided to bring aboard some industry veterans to assist with creating their new point-and-click adventure, the indie Israel-based studio went straight to two of the genre's most successful designers, enlisting Lori and Corey Cole, the husband-and-wife team behind Sierra’s adventure/RPG hybrid series Quest for Glory. The game resulting from their partnership: the reggae-flavored Bolt Riley, now seeking funding through Kickstarter.

Bolt Riley takes an irreverent approach to the adventure game formula. The titular hero is a struggling musician in his hometown of Trenchtown, Jamaica. He’s not out to save the world or right a heinous wrong; Bolt dreams of making it big with his band one day. In his mind, he’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to reggae music, and with the help of his band he just may overcome a local gang of Rude Boys, find inspiration, and write some jammin’ songs along the way.



Featuring a completely hand-drawn art style, Bolt Riley’s gameplay will be largely familiar to adventure aficionados, sticking to traditional genre staples like inventory management, dialog puzzles, and plenty of exploration. At the same time, the developers are toying with ideas for some new features, like a special inventory for Bolt’s abilities and cloud-based saving for cross-platform play. Not surprisingly, designer Oded Sharon has promised that music will play an important role in the game, more so because it is deeply rooted in island and reggae culture.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Sharon has his sights set on a release date of April 20 of next year (no further comment). The game will be divided into three chapters, with the second chapter being designed by the Coles themselves. The team is hoping to reach their funding goal of $120,000 by November 25 to ensure Bolt's rise to fame isn’t cut short before it ever has a chance to take off. A digital copy of the game (including all three chapters) is available for $15.

To learn more about Bolt Riley and pledge to the campaign, head over to the project’s Kickstarter page.



27

Oct

Ever wanted to go back and revisit key moments in your past? Is there never a time-travelling DeLorean or a mad scientist around when you need one? Thomas Pancake – Mr Pancake, to you – feels your pain.

In Mr Pancake: How I learned to stop worrying and go back in time, from new Polish developer Robot Gentleman Studios, you're pulled into Thomas's life. All of it. You see, he's had a long life but not a happy one, and now, in his dotage, his regrets drive him into the world of his memories. More fantasy than sci-fi, there are hints that "not everything will make sense, not everything will be real." But whether real or imagined, your decisions will have consequences and the story will adapt accordingly. As well as discovering what made Thomas the man he is today, you'll have to talk to people from his past, intervene at decisive moments in his life and make both trivial and life-changing choices.

If all this sounds singularly serious and melancholic, there will also be a healthy dose of humour in the game, the "funny kind. A gorilla, a plumber and a princess walk into a bar..." kind. Not surprisingly, Mr Pancake will have a definite retro sensibility and you can expect a classic point-and-click game with hand-drawn 2D art and an original score, featuring "more than one real instrument."  

Mr Pancake: How I learned to stop worrying and go back in time is to be released for PC in two parts, with Episode I tentatively scheduled for late 2013 and Episode II to follow in 2014. You can find out more at the official website or the developer's Facebook page.



24

Oct

Published in 2002, Syberia is renowned among adventure fans for its memorable characters, intriguing atmosphere, and unique art style. Over a decade later, ex-Microïds (and later White Birds) developers Olivier Fontenay and Michel Bams have teamed up once again to form Mando Productions, and their upcoming point-and-click adventure The Dead Flowers Case promises gamers more of the imaginative art and puzzling gameplay that they've come to know and love.

The unique steampunk style of The Dead Flowers Case is being designed in collaboration with sculptor Stephane Hallieux, and features hand-crafted 3D character models and environments in a world where “chaotic” plant life has been eradicated, leaving only machine-based life-forms. The game’s characters live and work in large, “autonomous buildings,” and instead of food, three times a day they take a pill known as a “Neurovitamin.”

One morning, alarm bells go off throughout one of the buildings, and it is discovered that the company’s MecaBrain, its “computer chief accountant,” is dead. Strangely, his body is surrounded by the dead remains of flowers, which were thought to be extinct. It will be the player’s job, as an as-yet-unnamed police inspector, to investigate this crime and uncover why and by whom the MecaBrain was killed.

In order to solve this murdery mystery, players will be given a few unique investigative tools: the MecaLens, which can detect “plant life, prints” and other clues; the Small Machine, a “steampunk laptop;” and something known as the Big Machine, which is described as being “as big as a wall.” In addition to solving puzzles, you will interrogate witnesses and analyze clues to uncover the perpetrator.

Mando Productions is planning to launch a Kickstarter funding campaign on November 8th (or thereabouts) that will feature options for both digital and boxed copies of the game. If crowdfunding is successful, release is planned for roughly the third quarter of 2014 on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android tablet platforms.

More information about The Dead Flowers Case can be found at the official website.



23

Oct

Fans of games with real-life settings and storylines should keep an eye on Mudlarks, an upcoming indie adventure inspired by Gabriel Knight and other Sierra and LucasArts classics.

Winston, the protagonist of this point-and-click game, and his friend James are “mudlarkers”—hobbyists who comb the shore of the River Thames looking for historical artifacts that have resurfaced from underwater. After discovering a valuable golden locket, James disappears and Winston must figure out what happened to him in what the developers describe as an atmospheric, dialogue- and puzzle-driven adventure with paranormal and sci-fi elements.

Set in London, the game features “embellished real world locations” reminiscent of the photorealistic backgrounds in mid-1990s Sierra games such as Police Quest: Open Season and Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, and will include a “host of animated and voiced characters.” The first project from a three-person amateur team, Mudlarks is being created with the free Adventure Game Studio engine.

Although no firm release date has been announced, the developers expect to release the game by the first quarter of 2014 as a DRM-free download. You can learn more about Mudlarks at the official website.



22

Oct

The fear of the unknown is one of man’s true primal fears – nothing is quite as frightening as finding yourself trapped in unfamiliar surroundings and having no power to change your situation. Which is exactly what indie developer Amr Mohsen is counting on. Tapping into this disorientation, upcoming point-and-click mystery adventure Vague explores the question of how far we’re willing to go when stripped of all the trappings of a safe, everyday life.

In this episodic adventure series, a man named McCoy one day finds himself unceremoniously locked away in a strange room with an even stranger cellmate, much to his dismay. Not knowing who imprisoned him or why he’s been locked up here – or even where here is – McCoy attempts an escape. And that’s when things take a real turn for the bizarre...

True to form, many details about Vague are, at this time, exactly as the name implies. The game will be divided into three playable chapters, starting with a flashback leading to McCoy’s imprisonment. A one-man production, Mohsen predicts the game will release on PC before the end of the year, though a playable demo has already been made available for download.

The first chapter of Vague will be released for free, with pricing (if any) for chapters 2 and 3 still undecided, according to the developer.



20

Oct

Time to dryclean those tights and dust off that cape because the three-part Supreme League of Patriots is coming to save the day, beginning early next year.

The first effort by developer No Bull Intentions, Supreme League of Patriots tells the tale of Kyle, an out-of-work actor looking for his big break on a superhero-themed reality show called "America's Got Superpowers." In order to win the contest, though, he'll need to complete a series of grueling challenges and win the adulation of America. Which is when the real trouble begins.

Over the course of three episodes, players will follow Kyle from wannabe actor to delusional vigilante and, finally, to honest-to-goodness superhero. Sporting a bright palette and an art style reminiscent of Pendulo's Runaway series, Supreme League of Patriots should excite any fans of comedy (or superhero) adventures.

We'll see if the game is the stuff of legend when the first episode, A Patriot is Born, hits PC, Mac, and Linux early next year. Until then, you can keep up with the game on the official website.



16

Oct

If you love cyberpunk but sometimes wonder what would happen if the technology was dialed back somewhat, then you’re in for a real treat later this year as Blendo Games is putting the finishing touches on what designer Brenon Chung calls a “twentieth century cyberpunk” adventure: Quadrilateral Cowboy.

In Quadrilateral Cowboy, players are thrust into a first-person mission of secrecy, stealth, and portable computers. Armed only with a suitcase deck and a dial-up 56k modem, you must hack your way into various digital systems, disable door locks and cameras, bypass security, and generally perform any number of sneaky maneuvers.

Fans of indie games may know Blendo Games by some of its earlier, well-received efforts, such as 2008’s Gravity Bone and its 2012 sequel, Thirty Flights of Loving. Quadrilateral Cowboy looks set to continue the tradition of telling narratives in a unique, creative way, typically with a minimum of dialog. Visually, Quadrilateral Cowboy looks strikingly similar to some of Blendo’s previous titles as well.

For those who prefer their cyberpunk with just a bit less dystopia than usual, Quadrilateral Cowboy’s release date is just around the corner, still slated for 2013. In the meantime, head over to the developer's website for more information.



15

Oct

Fresh off the success of its recent Kickstarter campaign, Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths is being localised into English and will soon be coming to the PC and numerous other platforms.

Secret Paths is based on the sequel to a highly successful joint French-Japanese 39-episode cartoon that was shown in a number of countries worldwide during the 1980s. Also known as Esteban, Child of the Sun, or simply Golden Dreams, the original show followed the adventures of the Spanish orphan Estaban, joined by Zia the Incan girl and Tao, a descendant of the Mu. Esteban's search for his father lead him to the New World and a search for the Seven Cities of Gold, and the three children were joined or hindered throughout their journey by a host of friends and antagonists.

The sequel began airing in France at the beginning of the year, this time as a solely French-produced cel-shaded 3D production, and an English version of the series in currently in the works. This TV sequel is what the game is based upon. Secret Paths retells the same story, which follows the same primary cast of characters as the 1980s original – Estaban, Zia, and Tao. However, their adventures now take them to China.

The game is played from an isometric perspective, utilising the same style of 3D cel-shading as the new television series. It is an environmental-based puzzle and stealth game, in which the player controls all three characters. Switching between them, you must utilise each character's individual skills to work together and solve the puzzles in each area while collecting additional items. It is definitely aimed at younger children, so do not expect any mind-bending environmental puzzles here.

Developed by Ynnis Interactive and Neko Entertainment, the game was originally to release only in French on Wii U and 3DS. However, the developer recently ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to secure additional money to port the game to PC and fully localise the game into English. The optimistic estimated release date is now November 2013 for PC, iOS, Wii U, and 3DS. More information can be found on the game’s Kickstarter page, and pre-order ‘slacker backing’ is still available via Paypal.



13

Oct

Most wartime settings tend to be found in strategy games or first-person shooters, but in 2014 the adventure genre will be getting one of its own in Valiant Hearts: The Great War, from French developer Ubisoft Montpellier.

Many scenes in the game draw inspiration from real letters, and your mission is to follow the lives of five very different characters and their experiences during World War I. From the "green forests of the French countryside, to dank trenches and snowy fields... friendship, love, sacrifice and tragedy befall each one as they help each other to retain their humanity against the horrors of war.” Most of all, this is a story of survival.

The cast includes Emile, a French infantry POW relegated to peeling potatoes for the Germans; Lucky Freddy, an American volunteer with a penchant for danger; Anna, a combat medic; and George, a British pilot with suspect credentials. These four characters all find themselves in some way eventually helping Carl, a young German, lost and alone, who simply wants to return home to his love. It is perhaps the sixth character that will steal this show, however: the faithful canine companion that will lead and assist each of the protagonists on their journey.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a very stylistic game. No 3D, no hyper-realism. The game is displayed in a side-scrolling perspective accompanied by beautiful hand-painted artwork, strongly reminiscent of titles like Machinarium. This game could be described as cute if it wasn’t for the violence being portrayed, as the game does not shy away from showing the horrors of war. Matching the stylised world is the choice of dialog, or lack thereof. The majority of the game utilises visual and audio cues to convey meaning, rather than a reliance on scripted dialog.

The game plays largely as a traditional adventure. Expect to see obstacles overcome with scavenged items, in addition to puzzles solved with the unique skillsets of each character. In an interesting twist, the canine is a secondary character who can be ordered by the current protagonist to perform tasks that would be otherwise impossible – with the option of giving him a nice pat afterwards.

Currently Valiant Hearts: The Great War is set to release sometime during 2014 as a download only on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4.



12

Oct

Oslo-based Colonthree Enterprises hopes to bring some feline-flavored adventure gaming to your PC, Mac, and mobile devices early next year with the debut episode of Catmouth Island, currently seeking funding on Indiegogo.

Catmouth Island takes its name from the largest island in the game's fictional setting, Catface Islands, a chain of three islands that look like their name suggests. These islands have modern day technology, but they're completely cut off from the outside world for reasons unknown, though "every once in a while, a foreign cruise ship does come into port..." The game is described by the developer as a “3D exploration game” in which players take on the role of Mya, a short-shorts-wearing local with a hidden past.

As seen in the game's crowdfunding trailer, the artwork is reminiscent of the illustrative style used in titles such as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, while the bird's-eye view lends itself to the game's focus on exploration. The big mystery centers on the past, which will be revealed by interacting with the island denizens, exploring its locations, and clearing any puzzles in your path. With over 60 NPCs to interact with, players should have plenty of tidbits and trivia to piece together. The gameplay itself is described as traditional fare, calling out the "simple fetch quest” and “item combination” as lynchpins, but some puzzles will reportedly depend on the time of day in order to be completed.

With just two weeks to go, fundraising for Catmouth Island is well short of its goal of raising $10,000 by October 24, though Colonthree is using Indiegogo's “flexible funding” option, which means they'll get any money that's pledged whether they reach their goal or not. A $5 minimum pledge is required to receive a free downloadable copy of the game, but multiple backing tiers are available, including copies of the soundtrack, naming an NPC in the game, and even complete access to design docs, concept art, and top billing in the credits at the highest backing level.

To learn more about Catmouth Island, chart a course to the Indiegogo page for full details.



11

Oct

With his upcoming ghost-hunting adventure The Last Crown not expected to meet its previously-announced Halloween release date, Jonathan Boakes has announced a side project to tide over his fans. The Halloween Haunting is a Last Crown prequel story that will be released as a DRM-free download later this month.

Starring the same ghost-hunting team as The Last Crown and its predecessor, The Lost Crown, The Halloween Haunting is a brand new adventure set on Blackenrock island, a “rocky, desolate place, inhabited only by the ghosts of the past and a few, hardy sheep.” After Nigel and Lucy arrive on the island to look for clues to the century-old mystery of a family found dead, the weather requires that they spend the night in the victims’ abandoned Victorian house.

The Halloween Haunting will cost $5 directly from the developer as well as selected publishing partners. According to Boakes, “all sales will help get Last Crown properly finished and also fund The First Crown, the end of the Crown trilogy.” An exact release date has not been revealed, so fans should keep an eye on the developer’s blog for updates.



8

Oct

Twenty years after Gabriel Knight’s adventure game debut, the Shadow Hunter is making a comeback thanks to a deal between Activision, who holds the license to the Gabriel Knight IP, and Jane Jensen, the series’ creator. After months of fan speculation, Jensen announced today that her indie studio Pinkerton Road is working on a 20th Anniversary remake of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers – a project that up until now has been referred to only cryptically as “Mystery Game X.”

First released back in 1993 by Sierra On-Line, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is an origin story for the struggling titular novelist, who discovers his true nature as a Schattenjager while investigating a string of ritual murders around New Orleans. The paranormal adventure received critical acclaim and spawned two sequels: The Beast Within in 1995, and Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned in 1999.

While the remake’s story and gameplay will remain faithful to the original, Jensen has confirmed that the artwork and voices are being completely redone. “For the art we definitely tried to stay true to the spirit of the original but, since we have such better resolution, to work in a lot more New Orleans flavor and voodoo flavor where we could,” Jensen says of the new art. Loss of the original audio files required that voices be rerecorded, a task for which Jensen enlisted the help of Bay Area Sound, the studio responsible for voiceovers in all of Telltale’s games.

Although the 20th Anniversary Edition is not being funded through Kickstarter, Jensen credits her 2012 Moebius campaign for making this remake a reality: “Over the years, I went and tried to pitch a Gabriel Knight game at least three times to the various license-holders and didn’t have much luck with that. So the fact that we’re [Pinkerton Road and Activision] collaborating and we’re making a project together is a big step forward.”

Adventure Gamers will have an in-depth interview with Jane Jensen in the very near future. Until then, you can learn more about the 20th Anniversary Edition on the official website. The game will release for PC, Mac, iPad, and Android devices in mid-2014.



7

Oct

A rogue crewman, a sabotaged spaceship, a mission gone wrong. And here you are: stuck on the iciest moon of Jupiter, forced to unravel an ominous mystery whilst desperately trying to survive... This is Europa 2022, an indie 3D adventure currently seeking funds on Kickstarter.

The story takes place in the near future. You and your crew of four have been sent on a mission to Europa, Jupiter's icy moon, in the hope of finding extraterrestrial life in our solar system. Things soon take a turn for the worse, however, as a traitor among your crew has sabotaged all communication lines, causing you to land your ship, The Andromeda, in silence on the moon's surface. For the rest of the game you will need to “solve your way through puzzles, point-and-click style” to reveal the nature of this mystery.

Dayv Hackenberger, the man behind Europa 2022, has designed the game to be a blend between classic adventures and more modern action-adventures such as Uncharted or The Last of Us. The game won't include any shooting, however, instead opting for a more traditional adventure-esque mode of gameplay. As Hackenberger puts it: “Consider it a faster-paced, 3D adventure game, with the heart and soul of a point and click!”

Alongside the actual game, an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) is being developed. It will consist of “websites, social media, cryptography, and in-game rewards for your exploration/sleuthing work”. But for those who just wish to play the game, it is not necessary to play the ARG as well.

In order to finish the game in time for December 2014, Hackenberger is appealing to adventure game fans for help in raising $10,000 on Kickstarter. Backers who pay $10 or more will receive a digital download of the game for Windows, Mac, or Linux once it is released, and those who are willing to fork out the extra money for the higher tiers can choose anything from a comic book to an in-game character of themselves.

You can support the game and find out more information at Europa 2022's Kickstarter and Facebook pages. There is also a Steam Greenlight page for the game where you can vote to have the game included in Steam's catalogue.



2

Oct

Adventure fans who prefer their games to have a heavy dose of artistic flair will be pleased to hear that the indie adventure Beyond eyes has been sighted on Indiegogo.

Currently in production by team-of-one developer tiger & squid, Beyond eyes tells the story of Rae, a timid blind girl whose only friend, a feline named Nani, goes missing. To find him, Rae must venture out beyond the comfort and safety of her family’s garden where she has spent most of her life and into an unfamiliar world.

Rendered in 3D and played from a third-person perspective, Beyond eyes promises players some unique challenges due to the protagonist’s blindness. As players guide Rae through the initially-stark-white game world, she will need to use all of her senses other than sight to “paint” a pastel-hued picture of the world around her as she searches for her lost cat.

In addition, a “trust” mechanic allows for a dynamic relationship between Rae and the gamer. Cautious, trustworthy players who gain the protagonist’s confidence will find Rae more willing to take risks and explore more of the world. In contrast, if you press Rae into uncomfortable situations, you may find her unwilling to trust your commands and even disobey your wishes. No matter what style of play you prefer, however, Rae cannot die. Playthroughs are expected to last under six hours, with the exact length determined by how exploration-oriented the player is.

Tiger & squid has set up a fundraiser on Indiegogo to secure the necessary cash by October 23 to finish development by July 2014. Although the goal is set at 10,000 euro (approx. $13,500), the “flexible” nature of the campaign means that the developer will keep whatever funds are raised, even if the full goal is not met. One hundred downloadable PC copies of Beyond eyes are available for early pledges of 10 euro each; the regular price is 15 euro.

More information about Beyond eyes can be found at the game's official website and Facebook page.