Adventure News
 


January 2015

28

Jan

Most adventure game designs begin on paper, but rarely is paper the primary component of the finished product. That's what sets Papetura apart, as the new point-and-click adventure from indie Polish developer Petums is made entirely of paper. It's also seeking a little special paper of its own through an Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

The title is a blend of the two protagonists' names, as players assist Pape in looking after his little friend Tura. Their world of paper is brought to life when touched by light, but there are many "hidden mysteries waiting to reveal themselves, covered with paper-darkness." Among the many challenges will be "monsters in the darkness waiting for you with different intentions. During the journey, a bird covered with flames awoken by the light will cross your path. You’ll soon find out that the purpose of your journey is not only to survive, but also to save the world from the devastating power coming from the fire of a merciless creature."


Inspired by adventure classics like The Neverhood and Machinarium, as well as the animated films of Studio Ghibli, Papetura is a wordless journey through a magical world filled with "a considerable amount" of environmental puzzles to solve, as well as minigames fashioned in the same style. Every element along the way is made of paper, including the water! The game's trailer offers a glimpse behind the scenes into the transformation process, but there's no need to stop there, as you can play a short demo already. In this brief introductory sampler, Pape and Tura have been swallowed by a monster, and must outwit a lurking tapeworm to escape.

In order to make Papetura a reality, Petums have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $13,000 by February 28th. A minimum $9 pledge is all that's required for a DRM-free download of the game on PC or Mac (iPad, Android and Linux versions are also possible if stretch goals are met). If all goes well, we should be seeing the finished game in the third quarter of 2016.

To learn more about Papetura, including a more in-depth making-of trailer, visit the game's Indiegogo page for complete details. As well as backing the game financially, you can also vote for it through Steam Greenlight.



25

Jan

The afterlife has always been kind to adventure games, so here's hoping it is once again in the upcoming Goetia, a supernatural point-and-click mystery currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

Goetia casts players in the ethereal shoes of Abigail, a young girl who died nearly 40 years earlier at the start of the 20th century. It's now the middle of World World II, and Abigail suddenly finds herself back at Blackwood Manor, familial home of "a perverted and mad lineage, a clan whose final members devoted their life to mysticism and fanatical experiments." Abigail knows nothing of events that have taken place since her death, and is now forced to answer the question of what led to her family's downfall.

To call Goetia a "third-person" adventure doesn't quite tell the whole story. Though the game will be traditional in many respects, tasking players with "seeking out clues, finding objects, and figuring out how to use or combine them in order to progress through the different areas, puzzles and encounters", you must also make good use of your ghostly powers. As the spectral Abigail you can "walk through walls and fly through ceilings", but a ghost can't carry an inventory, so in order to have any effect on tangible objects, you must "possess them, just like a real poltergeist would." You can "combine what you possess with another item, or simply use it, throw it, or move it around", though of course you cannot pass through walls during physical possession.


A French collaboration of designer/artist Moeity with development studio Sushee, one of the key goals for Goetia is open-world exploration, free from the contraints of the living. Players are encouraged to roam about the manor at will, along with the surrounding areas that include an abandoned village, a dark pine forest, a strange labyrinth and a cave network. Thorough adventurers will discover some special optional powers, one of which allows you "to see an object owner’s last thoughts and actions when you possess it. Sometimes this will only be some insight into the story or the protagonists. Other times, it will give you a clue, allowing you to discover an alternate (and easier) way to solve a particular enigma."  

While much of the work is already done, in order to bring this supernatural mystery fully to... err... life, the developers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 by February 20th. A minimum $15 pledge is required to secure a download of the game for PC or Mac upon its completion, which is on target for this October. To learn more about Goetia and contribute to its fundraising campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for complete details, as well as the game's official website.



24

Jan

Peter Moorhead, the force behind 2014’s sci-fi mystery Stranded, is preparing an all-new treat for fans of cyber-noir storytelling. The upcoming Murder is a retro science fiction story, this time dealing with themes of morality in the face of technological evolution.


Set in a futuristic Japan, players follow Lieutenant Motomeru Minori, an officer with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, assigned to investigate the murder of a human at the hands of a machine. The case quickly turns into a dangerous one, in what the developer himself describes as a mostly interactive story. While eschewing traditional puzzles in favor of narrative, Moorhead is aiming to make use of environmental exposition, letting the player piece together the majority of the story through exploration of the surroundings, and perhaps even a meta-narrative for replay value for dedicated players.

Without a firm release date announced as of yet, Moorhead has his eyes on completing the game sometime “before the end of the year.” Murder is slated for release on Windows, Mac, and Linux.



23

Jan

Out of the heart of Romania, from deepest Transylvania, comes the announcement of a 2D point-and-click comic adventure about… Cthulhu? Yes, there’s not a vampire in sight in Stuck in Attic’s Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure, a game that “lovingly spoofs” the works of one H. P. Lovecraft. Gibbous will seek to take the writer’s dark subject matter, creatures, and locations, and give them a light-hearted, contemporary twist in the style of classic LucasArts adventure favorites.

Taking place in an alternate present day, Gibbous is the story of not one but three playable characters: Buzz, a mild-mannered librarian who accidentally stumbles across the notorious Necronomicon; his cat Kitteh who has been somehow transformed by the book; and Don R. Ketype, a hard-boiled private detective tasked with finding the book for mysterious benefactors. Death cults are all the rage, springing up all over the place, each one trying to outbid the others in a race to reclaim the Necronomicon and bring the god of chaos back into our world. On the lam, Buzz and Kitteh must stay one step ahead of their pursuers on their quest to set things back to rights.

Boasting technical features like frame-by-frame animations and hand-painted backgrounds, the developers are taking pains to include unique responses and lines of dialog for every possible combination of inventory items and environment hotspots – whether they produce a viable result or not – thus eliminating bog-standard negative responses when a player action fails to produce results. Besides Lovecraft, the three-person team is citing such disparate influences as Tim Schafer, Alfred Hitchcock, and Karl Pilkington, among others, so the result may be quite an interesting amalgamation.

The game will be available for  Windows, Mac, and Linux, and possibly mobile platforms further down the road. There is currently no firm release date, as a crowdfunding campaign is expected to be launched at some point in the future, but mid-2016 is the earliest likely target at this point. Fortunately, we’ll get a teaser in the meantime, as a demo could be available as soon as this spring.

To learn more about the Gibbous, you can follow its developments on the developer’s blog. The team is also seeking English-speaking voice talent, and interested applicants can reach them at [email protected].



22

Jan

As many of us shiver through the cold, dark winter months, we can start looking ahead to Missing from indie Italian developer LetsPlay, a new horror-adventure set in the cold, dark winter of 1973.

Missing casts players in the first-person role of a Private Detective named John Moore. When you receive a request for help from someone in "a little town in the middle of nowhere", you hop aboard the next train out. When you arrive at your destination, however, you soon realize that something is very wrong, as "there isn't a living soul out there...everyone has disappeared." Everyone... but not necessarily everything. Relying only on "instinct and reason [to] resolve some complicated situations and lead you to the truth," you must also contend with something continually stalking you – something that wants you dead.

A free-roaming 3D adventure, Missing promises to tell its "disturbing story" through a variety of diary entries left behind, so thorough exploration will be required to fully flesh out the town's background. Puzzles will be directly linked to the plot and complex enough to provide a challenge without involving abstact item combinations to proceed. Though the danger is very real, as you will be able to die at times, encounters with a deadly creature will be reserved for specific circumstances throughout the game, leaving you largely free to explore at your leisure without constantly looking over your shoulder.

There is no firm timetable yet for the release of Missing, but LetsPlay are hoping to complete the game for PC sometime this year.



21

Jan

Independent developer Svarun Games has announced a project in the pipeline that will appeal to fans of classic 2D  point-and-click adventure games. Taking a break from their other endeavor – the continuing work on their premier title, Vsevolod – Svarun is shifting focus to K’nossos, a game with “strong emphasis on unique atmosphere, immersing puzzles and gripping storyline.”

Not much has been revealed about the actual plot of K’nossos, but the game’s Facebook page hints that it will be a reimagined version of the classic Minotaur tale from Greek mythology, albeit with a sci-fi bent (Knossos being the city under which the Minotaur’s labyrinth was supposedly built). One key feature of the game will be an Orb that accompanies the protagonist, offering four unique abilities that will be crucial to the gameplay: Heat, Melt, Weld and Cut.

The team takes its inspiration from a multitude of well-known sources, from the abstract visuals based on Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, to the lonely and unsettling atmosphere of games such as Kentucky Route Zero, to the settings and sci-fi overtones of books like Frank Herbert’s Dune, all while staying true to traditional adventure game mechanics of exploration, dialog, and inventory manipulation.

Though much of the story is still shrouded in mystery, the game – which should be getting a crowdfunding campaign at some point down the line – will be released on Windows, Mac, and Linux, with iOS and Android versions to be considered as well. A firm release date has not yet been decided upon, though it seems the game likely won’t be available before 2016 at the earliest.



18

Jan

Although they both rose to prominence in the 1990s, TV dramas Twin Peaks and The X-Files are still inspiring storytellers more than twenty years on with their blend of the seemingly ordinary with the mysterious. Following in their footsteps, British developer Variable State is hard at work on a new first-person adventure game, Virginia.

Described as an "interactive drama", Virginia tells the story of a rookie FBI agent and her partner in the early 1990s as they investigate the disappearance of a young boy in the titular US state. The game seeks to put players in situations that are "relatable" and "mundane" to serve as a purposeful contrast to the strange goings-on and cast of "loners, has-beens, creeps, and beatniks" you will encounter during your time on the job. Although detailed plot elements are being kept under wraps for the moment, the developers say they hope to keep players on their toes with surreal sequences that force you to question "what is real" and make the protagonist an "unreliable observer" – familiar territory for fans of the game's sources of inspiration.

The game’s graphics will forego the photorealistic environments prevalent in other first-person games in favor of a blocky, almost plastic appearance that, appropriately enough, feels surreal when gazing upon the initial screenshots. Players will be able to move freely throughout each location using the mouse and keyboard or gamepad, but the story itself will be "unabashedly linear." Variable State hopes that a more controlled experience will enable every player to experience "the same key moments and hopefully to have a similar emotional reaction to what they're experiencing." Puzzles are being downplayed in Virginia's design in order to further strengthen the narrative and dramatic elements.

PC gamers can prime themselves to explore the mysteries of Virginia sometime in 2016. Until then, those interested in learning more can keep up to date at Variable State's official webpage.



17

Jan

Zoetrope Interactive is no stranger to H.P. Lovecraft, having previous created the Darkness Within horror series. With their earlier games recently re-released as Director's Cuts, now the indie Turkish developers are setting their sights on a new Lovecraft-influenced adventure with the upcoming Mountains of Madness.

While no firm story details have yet been revealed, the new game will not be a direct adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, but rather an original story set in the aftermath of Lovecraft's novella. Refusing to pay heed to geologist William Dyer's dire warnings, another expedition sets off to confirm his findings, once again venturing towards the Antarctic. There the new team tries to "uncover the clandestine history of mankind and find odious hints which will change the shape of our understanding of the universal laws of nature, geography, botany and evolution of species."

Like Darkness Within 2, Mountains of Madness will be presented in free-roaming 3D with an emphasis on atmospheric immersion, but this time around there will be more focus on "exploration and survival elements" than abstract puzzle-solving.

With the game so early in development and likely in need of crowdfunding to complete, Zoetrope currently has no firm timeline for Mountains of Madness, but the earliest the game can reasonably be expected is sometime in 2016. There's only a teaser page available so far, but keep an eye on the game's official website for more information in the coming months.



16

Jan


The arrival of The Inquisitor was once dreaded news, but now it's welcome news for adventure gamers, as Microïds has announced the surprise launch of Nicolas Eymerich, The Inquisitor: Book II - The Village.

Picking up after the events of its 2013 predecessor, the second installment in the medieval series once again garbs players in the robes of the titular Head Inquisitor. It's the year 1345, and "Satan's shadow lingers over Calcares, in the South of France." Ever since the summer soltice, an "evil shape" has begun appearing in the sky, and a deadly plague now ravages the city. The Inquisitor fervently believes that "to hold back the contagion, the evil must be eradicated at the very source." But questions abound: "Is Nicolas Eymerich really struggling with evil entities? Or is his fanaticism forcing him to see evil where [there are] only unfortunate but sadly natural events?"


Players will generally guide Eymerich through the game's graphically improved real-time 3D environments, but at times there will be a second playable character in the form of a Dominican priest named Father Jacinto Corona. Gameplay promises to be fairly traditional, requiring "observation and deduction skills" as you collect inventory, solve puzzles, and converse with local characters (unleashing Eymerich's trademark scathing wit in the process) to "find out more about the dark events that have brought him there." An integrated hint system and optional Latin subtitles are among the other features incorporated into the game.

Nicolas Eymerich, The Inquisitor: Book II - The Village is available now as a universal app for iPad and iPhone, with PC, Mac, and Android versions of the game to follow within the next few days.



14

Jan

One of the key things that makes humans different from computers is our ability to love, but with that ability comes the danger of being hurt. This is one of the themes explored in the upcoming else Heart.Break(), a "game about friendship, love and technology in a place where bits have replaced atoms."

The point-and-click adventure centers around a young man named Sebastian, who moves far from home to the city of Dorisburg for his first job, ready to "start his adult life and figure out who he really wants to be." There among a "strange collection of people, hackers and activists he finds some true friends – perhaps even love. But can they stop the terrible deeds of the people ruling the city? And who will get their heart broken in the end?"


else Heart.Break() promises an "expansive 3D world" to explore, as revealed in the early screenshots and trailer. The "meticulously simulated" city of Dorisburg is populated by dynamic characters and many objects that you can interact with, but rather than provide a linear story full of puzzles, the game will be "primarily about exploration and talking to people", with puzzles based more on "information and knowledge, rather than combinations of items". Players will find a "laid-back experience where you can just go to the café and have a coffee whenever things get too hectic", but you must be careful what you do and say, as "your actions matter and nothing can ever be unsaid or undone." As you progress, you will gain the ability to "alter the code of the game" that will enable you to "dig deeper in the mysteries of the game world."

There is currently no firm release date for else Heart.Break(), but the developers are hoping to complete the game sometime in the first half of this year for PC, Mac, and "probably" Linux platforms. In the meantime, keep your eye on the game's official website for more details.



12

Jan

Like Bill Murray's character in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, when video game protagonists die or fail to complete certain objectives, they are forced to relive those moments over and over again. Usually, however, game characters aren’t aware of the time-loops in which they become stuck. But what if they did know? What effect would it have on both the character in question and on the gameplay of which they are a part?

These are the questions behind the upcoming point-and-click adventure Twelve Minutes, currently in development by former Rockstar Games artist Luis Antonio. The plot is a murder mystery which plays out over twelve (or fewer) real-world minutes, and it will be the player's job to figure out what happened between the protagonist's wife and her father, whom she is arrested for killing, before time loops back on itself. You will accomplish this task by using information gleaned in each playthrough in order to move forward, reacting appropriately to foreknowledge of upcoming events.


The entire game will take place in three rooms of the couple's home, namely the kitchen / living room, bedroom, and bathroom, and will be played from an unusual top-down perspective, a choice that Antonio believes will improve accessibility for people who don't normally play games. Because you are not given specific goals to complete aside from the overarching mystery, Antonio plans for the repetitive nature of the premise to be offset by the player's incremental knowledge of the situation, hopefully making subsequent playthroughs quicker and less repetitive, bolstered by the limited number of locations to explore. This approach also allows for more sandbox-style gameplay, where players could, in fact, completely ignore the main mystery and simply experiment with what the environment has to offer.

Twelve Minutes is tentatively set for release by December 2015, though this date is subject to change as Antonio is developing the game in his spare time while he collaborates with Jonathan Blow on his upcoming project, The Witness. For more information in the meantime, visit the game's official website.



11

Jan

The Last Door proved that retro graphics can still be effective in creating moody psychological atmosphere, and now indie Italian developer Bad Tale Studios are following suit with Under that Rain, which is now raising funds through Indiegogo.

Under that Rain stars Parisian social worker Andrè Lacroix, who is reviewing his last case of the day just as the rain begins to fall outside. The file is about an orphan named Alexander Lucien Lazarius, a suspected child abuse victim now in the custody of his aunt in a manor just outside town. Andrè becomes obsessed with Alexander's case, and despite the dreary weather he decides to drive to the child's new home in search of answers. Upon his arrvival, he quickly comes to understand that "he was right to be worried. The child was missing and the people at the manor house were acting as if they had something to hide." As Andrè begins to investigate the "horrible facts" about the house, he is "overwhelmed by a strange kind of nostalgia mixed with a horrible form of oppression", and soon realizes that "nothing is as it seems and that sometimes the worst atrocities [can] be made even worse."


Exploring themes like "love, hate, fear and vengeance", Under that Rain aims to probe the darkest corners of the human soul, confronting players with crucial questions about who we are, whether we're cowards or heroes, and what we are willing to do to survive. The game promises to "bring to life unimaginable and repulsive horrors" using a combination of old-school point-and-click adventure fare with more modern features like Quick Time Events that will challenge "not only your best deductive skills but also your speed." All this will be presented in a distinctive pixel art style seen in the early screenshots and trailer.

In order to make this game a reality, Bad Tale is currently seeking €15,000 through a fixed funding Indiegogo campaign by March 9th. A minimum €10 pledge will earn backers a free download of the game for Windows, Mac, or Linux upon completion, which is tentatively scheduled as early as October. To learn more and/or donate to the campaign, visit the Indiegogo page for complete details, as well as the Greenlight page if you'd like to see the finished game released on Steam.



10

Jan

The world did not end in 2012, but does that mean the Mayan prediction was untrue, or was disaster averted by one eccentric willing to make the necessary sacrifice to the gods? A new adventure by indie Spanish developer Luis Ruiz explores just such a premise in his upcoming debut title, along with the more pertinent question: where in today's world can you round up enough Damn Virgins?

The Mayans believed that life is "governed in cycles of 5200 years. When each cycle ends, the seven gods who created mankind allow the cycle to repeat in return for an offering." Unfortunately for the Mayans, "during the sacrifice, something went wrong. Enraged, the gods punished the Mayan people, who then disappeared. This disappearance wasn't immediate, though. Earthquakes, droughts, and volcanic eruptions came one after the other, ultimately leading to the fall of the empire."


Now 5200 years later, it's our turn, but only one man understands what needs to be done. As December 21, 2012 approaches, Alex, the dean of a small university, convinces himself that recent natural disasters are signs of impending doom from demanding gods. He therefore "decides to do the sacrifices himself. The problem is that today, virgins are really hard to find." Thanks to his position in the university, Alex founds a fraternity and "tricks the dumbest virgin boys that he finds into joining. Alex promises them that if they finish their studies, he'll take them to Riviera Maya as an end-of-term trip. Using an outing as a ruse, he plans to sacrifice them at the top of Chichen Itza." But first they must pass their final course, and "this professor won't make it easy, [so] Alex will have to take desperate measures. After all, his ticket to Mexico is only one way."

Damn Virgins casts players in the role of Xavi, one of the seven virgins "without any outstanding qualities or ambition, [who] spends his days sleeping on the couch and playing videogames." You'll spend much of your time exploring the fraternity house and a ficticious island, solving puzzles in traditional third-person, point-and-click fashion. As you do, you will unlock segments of a live action film that piece together the story and complement the gameplay.

According to Ruiz, both filming and gameplay are largely complete, with a release date targeted between April and August 2015 on PC and Mac, and possibly iOS devices as well. In the meantime, to learn more about Damn Virgins and vote for it to appear on Steam, drop by the game's Greenlight page for additional details.



9

Jan

Halloween 2014 may have passed, but it’s never too early to start looking forward to next year’s spooks, such as those promised in a new psychological horror adventure called The Dark Inside Me, which is seeking funding on Indiegogo.

Currently in development at Turkey-based Blue Arc Studios, not much has been revealed about the game or its plot so far, but players will begin waking up handcuffed to a hospital bed unaware of who they are or what they have done to require such restraint. A conveniently overheard conversation indicates that you are responsible for something terrible, and that it probably would have been better for you to have died. Of course, the first order of business is to escape your ad hoc prison, but beyond this point, the mystery surrounding the story remains intact. Headlining the game's promotional material is the promise of extremely graphic content, including "disturbing gore, sex, and intense violence," and thus the game is being targeted for gamers eighteen-years-old and above.


The Dark Inside Me will be presented in 2.5D perspective with 3D characters, and controlled with a point-and-click interface. Various environments will be available for exploration, both indoor and outdoor, as well as sequences that take place in vehicles of different kinds. Gameplay will involve standard adventure game fare like inventory puzzles, though players can also expect to encounter some unusual scenarios, such as a puzzle whose solution involves performing as lead singer in a "rock bar" band. Choice is also being emphasized, with players able to decide whether to use objects to kill (or torture!) their enemies, or avoid such potential hazards and obstacles altogether. Depending on the choices made, future opportunities can change over the course of the game. For example, if you choose not to kill a character, they could show up later on to assist or hinder you in your quest.

In order to bring this bloody vision of fun to life, Blue Arc Studios has taken to Indiegogo, hoping to raise a minimum of $100,000 by February 10th. Stretch goals would see more chapters added to the initial three, up to a total of six. A $15 pledge will secure gamers a digital copy of the game. Note that, as a flex-funding campaign, whatever money Blue Arc raises during the campaign period is theirs to keep, whether or not the target funding amount is reached.

Assuming a successful fundraiser, The Dark Inside Me is scheduled to release late in 2015, on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms. For more information, check out the game's Indiegogo page and official website (both sites are NSFW).



 

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