Adventure News
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December 2014

27

Dec

Animation Arts has kept their games fairly close to home so far, but now the creator of Lost Horizon and the Secret Files series is turning their sights to outer space for their upcoming sci-fi adventure, Monolith.

Monolith casts players in the role of astronaut Nolan Carter, who awakens from cryosleep to find that his damaged ship has crash landed on a planet in the outer sector. In order to survive, Carter decides to follow a mysterious pulsating signal, hoping to find help at its source. But what he discovers causes him to question not only everything he believes, but his very sanity as well.


As seen in the early screenshots, Monolith featues hand-drawn, cel-shaded graphics inspired by the likes of genre classics such as The Dig and Beneath a Steel Sky, combining 2D backgrounds with 3D characters. Though promising 50 distinct scenes to explore, this will not be a long game, projected to offer between 4-5 hours of traditional adventure gameplay.

There is currently no firm release date for Monolith, but the game is being developed for Windows, iOS and Android devices and is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2015.



24

Dec

There's a high seas adventure coming in 2015, though the upcoming Herald promises not cannonfire, swashbucklers, or undead zombie pirates, but a "choice-based adventure about authority, prejudice and colonialism."

Set in an alternate 1857, the "West stands united as a single empire: the Protectorate. With the onset of modernity, the Protectorate is struggling to maintain order, as tensions arise resulting from great inequality and prejudice." Into this tenuous socio-political climate steps Devan Rensburg, a man of "mixed heritage in search of his roots." Seeking passage to the East, Devan takes a job aboard a merchant ship called the HLV Herald. With "people on board from many different backgrounds, the Herald is a microcosm of society", and Devan's job is to "look after and interact with a diverse cast of opinionated passengers and crew."

Described by indie Dutch developer Wispfire as a "3D interactive drama", Herald promises to let players "experience 19th century colonialism and prejudice by showing, through choice and interactive dialogue, both the strengths and futilities of siding with or rebelling against an authority." Your daily tasks will see you "scrub the decks, raise sails and assist passengers with their trivial issues", continually reminded of the fact that "you have neither the appearance of a pure western imperial nor the upbringing and background of a true native colonial."


Blending hand-painted 2D art and 3D environments, Herald is a mix of visual novel and point-and-click adventure in the final days of the Age of Sail. You can freely explore the ship and interact with the environment, and there will even be some puzzles to solve, though the primary emphasis will be on the story and interactive conversations. Player choice will play a key role in character development, as you establish Devan's identity in this "world divided by race, class and religion."

Herald is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux, and while there's no definitive timetable for its release, we can expect to see it some time in 2015. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game at its official website.



23

Dec

Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis are teetotalers compared to Sir Lancelot, and their hangovers have nothing on the morning after for the "sexiest Knight of the Round Table." Atoning for his massive screw-up during a wild bender the night before provides the completely absurd premise of the upcoming "silly medieval point and click adventure game", Lancelot's Hangover.

It took Lancelot and Gawain ten years to track down the coveted Holy Grail, but at last they succeeded! So what do they do with their cherished cup-like trophy? As any sports team will tell you, you fill it with booze and then drink out of it... and in Lancelot's case, you drink, and drink, and drink some more. What starts with "a few beers" leads to Lancelot waking up the next morning "in his underwear in a gay bar. The keeper tells him that he has lost the Holy Grail playing cards and Gawain has been kidnapped by environmental activists. If he does not want to be killed by Arthur, Lancelot has to get back the Grail and his companion in arms before the king of Britain discovers what happened."


Solely responsible for the game's design and production, indie Belgian developer declerfayt refers to Lancelot's Hangover as "Monkey Island meets Monty Python's Holy Grail", and the half-naked protagonist, crudely drawn 256-color graphics, and utterly irreverent humour certainly support that claim. If you're open to a healthy dose of political incorrectness, you can download the free beta prologue for PC now, which offers an early glimpse into the "humour, the dialogs, the main characters and the graphical style of the game."  A later demo is planned to introduce the "funny puzzles and the point-and-click gameplay."

To learn more about Lancelot's Hangover, visit the official website. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight while you wait for its release on PC and Mac sometime in 2015.



22

Dec

Anchors aweigh, adventure fans! A sleak new indie title named Burly Men at Sea has been sighted on the horizon. Currently in production by husband-and-wife development team Brain&Brain, the 2D point-and-click game is being billed as a "folktale about a trio of large bearded fellows on a fantastical adventure at sea," in which the player's decisions made throughout the game will have an impact on how the story unfolds.

David and Brooke Condolora, who debuted earlier this year with Doggins, aren't calling their creation an "adventure" in the traditional sense, as they indicate that there will be no inventory or dialogue trees to dig through, nor will the puzzles primarily involve finding one's way around obstacles. Rather, the game is being compared to Kentucky Route Zero and The Cave, where exploration and puzzle-solving will involve "discovering the multiple ways out of a situation, then choosing one," and seeing how that shapes the story as the game progresses. Players can expect to have a different experience each time through the game due to a branching narrative mechanic.

Burly Men at Sea also features an eye-catching art style inspired by Scandinavian illustration, with clean lines and bright pastel colors imbuing a distinctly minimalist feel, which should please even the most die-hard landlubber averse to the nitty-gritty sights that can accompany real-world sea life.

Scheduled to set sail next spring, Burly Men at Sea will be available on PC, Mac, iOS and Android platforms. Gamers who want to get their sea-legs before the game releases can follow the official website for more information.



21

Dec

If you ever wondered how adventure games were born, there's a brand new one currently being hatched in an incubator in Spain. The game is Realm of the Turtle King, an episodic series set to debut early next year.

Realm of the Turtle King casts players in the role of Hero Neustadt, a "wannabe adventurer" whose truly adventurous grandfather disappeared 13 years earlier during an expedition in search of the "elusive Turtle King, a mythical land turtle." Legend has it that the "centuries-old animal, or Tu’i Malila in Tongan, carries a map leading to infinite wealth on its shield", and Hero's grandfather became obsessed with finding the treasure before mysteriously vanishing. Now 1930, Hero has graduated as an anthropologist from the university of Zürich, and he "rallies the remaining four members of the expedition, who are of age and communicate with homing pigeons", to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. This pursuit promises to take players "along several islands within the kingdom of Tonga and the Cook Islands, ultimately ending at the Valley of the Giants."


Early work-in-progress teaser trailer


With stylish graphics already on the display in the early screenshots, the game is described as a classic-styled, third-person adventure set in an "immersive, comic book-like world reminiscent of TinTin, with the light-heartedness of Monkey Island and the Indiana Jones games." Player choice will be a factor, as "certain decisions will determine how the story and character develop", and there will be more than one solution to many of the puzzles. The game is being developed using a point-and-click interface with both cursor control and touch in mind, as initial platforms will include PC, Android, and iOS devices.

Indie Dutch studio Mindbreaker Games are currently producing the game in Barcelona after being chosen to participate in an entrepreneurial videogame incubator program called GameBCN. As the only international developers involved in the initiative, the two-person team are able to work on the game full time and aim to complete the first of a planned five episodes by March (though the final number may be subject to change). The first episode will be released free of charge, likely concurrent with the second commercial episode. The game will be a "true serial with interconnected episodes" according to Mindbreaker, so the goal is to limit the wait between subsequent episodes to 3-5 months each.

For some background insight into Realm of the Turtle King and its unique production opportunity, check out the developer's blog to learn more.



20

Dec

For fans of Capcom’s Phoenix Wright courtroom dramas, developer Sketchy Logic hopes to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that their forthcoming legal adventure Aviary Attorney will perfectly fit the bill. The current Kickstarter campaign offers testimony of a game crafted very much in the vein of the well-known litigation series that clearly inspired it, yet taking a unique approach to its setting, characters, and art style.

Featuring an all-animal cast, Aviary Attorney puts players in control of Jayjay Falcon, a legal eagle with a thirst for justice. Jayjay must investigate a total of four cases throughout the game (with the promise of additional cases offered as crowdfunding stretch goals), requiring him to visit relevant locations around the city to gather evidence, then argue his case in court by interrogating witnesses and providing the evidence at appropriate times to back up or refute their testimonies. The aviary attorney, however, is realistically fallible – a time limit is set for the investigative parts of the game, forcing players to think on their feet or risk showing up underprepared for court. Likewise, cases can be either won or lost; the game will continue either way, but with darker repercussions after a loss.


Aviary Attorney is set in 1800s Paris, and the designers have very much kept the game’s presentation in keeping with its setting. Character designs are directly lifted from (or in some cases inspired by) the works of French caricaturist J.J. Grandville from his book The Public and Private Life of Animals, giving them a distinct sepia-toned pencil-sketch flair, though animated. The soundtrack is likewise appropriate for the era, consisting of pieces by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. With these elements in place, Paris’s atmosphere should feel suitably genuine as a result.

The Kickstarter campaign is very close to its initial goal of £7,000, which it must reach before its January 8th deadline. Mac or Windows copies of the game, which could be available as early as June 2015, can be secured with pledges starting at £7. In the meantime, Sketchy Logic has set up a developer blog where you can learn more about Aviary Attorney, and you can also support the game on Steam Greenlight.



18

Dec

What happens when sandbox world-building collides with a storytelling focus? We're about to find out, as Telltale Games and Mojango are joining forces for a new episodic games series called Minecraft: Story Mode.

Telltale needs no introduction around these parts, but the creator of such interactive narrative-driven sensations as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us has now set its sights on an a decidedly unliterary universe. Minecraft, officially released in November 2011, is a game essentially about "breaking and placing blocks" marked by "consistent physics, a bundle of mobs, and a distinctive look, but no real story to speak of." Doesn't sound much like Telltale material on the surface, but if The LEGO Movie has taught us anything, it's that blocks can make for great stories in the right hands. And as Telltale President Kevin Bruner claims, "Minecraft is a world of infinite possibility and imagination."

Minecraft: Story Mode will be a collaborative effort between Telltale, Mojang (series creator) and members of the Minecraft community. The new series promises to be "similar in tone to Minecraft itself" and "introduce new characters and familiar themes, but will be an entirely original Minecraft experience inspired by the game." And for the many Minecraft fans who might be worried about having the world tied to a specific story, fear not, as the developers claim this is just "one way to delve deeper without laying down official lore."

To learn more about Minecraft: Story Mode, click the image below to play "Info Quest II", a playful interactive introduction to the new series (and a bit about Minecraft 2).

Click image to play


Minecraft: Story Mode will be developed for PC and Mac, Xbox and PlayStation consoles, and iOS and Android devices. There is currently no firm release date scheduled, but the game will come out some time in 2015.



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