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October 2014

10

Oct

Over 20 years ago, Myst helped revolutionize videogames in the burgeoning CD-ROM era. Since then, the game has gone on to spawn multiple sequels and spin-offs, while its extensive cultural backstory has been captured in numerous novels. Now the series is taking aim at television, as Cyan Worlds has signed an agreement with Legendary Entertainment to produce a Myst program.

The better news for adventure gamers is that this will be more than simply a passive viewing experience, as it's being designed as a true cross-media interactive event. As reported in VentureBeat, Cyan's VP of Business Development Blake Lewin claims that the goal is "not just to create a compelling TV drama but to develop a true transmedia product that will include a companion video game that extends the story across both media. With 70 percent of tablet owners using their device while watching TV, Cyan sees the potential to push the boundaries of interactive storytelling to a new level.”

While Cyan isn't ready to share any details about the project itself or release timeline just yet, they have confirmed to Adventure Gamers that franchise co-creator Rand Miller will be involved creatively in the project. More information will be available in the coming months, giving us something else to look forward to from Cyan, along with their highly anticipated non-Myst adventure, Obduction.



7

Oct

A new 3D hand-painted adventure named POKU, from indie studios Kalopsia Games and Renopy Games, should provide a breath of fresh air in more ways than one when it's released late next year.

POKU is set on Paloma, a "floating island populated by bizarre people who adore the wind and consider it godlike." Players control a clever girl named Aria, who discovers a mysterious egg in the forest one day in an encounter that will "change her – and the entire floating island – forever."

While POKU make look like a 2D adventure at first glance due to its distinctive painterly style, it is actually in full 3D, as seen in the game's first teaser. In fact, it is "exactly this 2D-3D contrast that some puzzles of the game will be based on, playing with camera position and perspective." A third-person game, the current plan is to make POKU a point-and-click adventure, though as the developers are considering console releases along with PC, they are exploring direct control options as well.

Production on POKU is still in the relatively early stages, but if it's expected we'll see it completed sometime in 2016. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.



5

Oct

If ever you needed proof that Interactive Fiction (IF) is still very much alive and kicking, look no further than the Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. Since its inception in 1995 it has become a centrepiece of the IF community, playing host to many critically-acclaimed and highly influential games, such as Photopia, Slouching Towards Bedlam and, more recently, Coloratura.

This year there are 42 entries – seven more than last year. There is something for everyone, from the more traditional parser-based adventures to hypertext and choice-based games. Some even have a bit of both worlds; for instance, one entry is a partly-graphical hypertext game that pays homage to point-and-click adventures.

You can play the entries through the IFComp website, either online or as a direct download. However, to vote on the entries, there is a requirement that you play at least five games beforehand.

The competition will end on the 15th November, after which time the winners will be announced and the various prizes awarded.



4

Oct

Adventure game fans are no strangers to the English town of Cornwall, but instead of hunting ghosts this time, we'll soon be hunting treasure in Cheeky Sprite Studios' The Secret Cove, which is currently seeking some treasure of its own through Kickstarter.

The Secret Cove casts players in the role of a "down-on-your-luck, out of work deckhand" living in a rundown beach cottage. Seeking solace in the bottom of a bottle at the local pub, your fortunes change one stormy night when you "overhear two old fisherman talking tales of Cornish folklore, smuggling and the legend of 'The Secret Cove'. One of the fishermen arrogantly boasts that he has proof that the legend may just be true, claiming he has the journal of a deceased notorious smuggler that will lead him to lost treasure."

In your quest for the legendary treasure hidden "deep within the lost smugglers' tunnels", you will venture both above and below ground, and even underwater, visiting many real Cornish locations such as St. Ives Wharf, Padstow Harbour, Minack Theatre, St. Michael's Mount, Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, and Tintagel Castle. As you interact with these 3D rendered environments, you can freely explore the "non-linear game world, solve puzzles, find artifacts and create tools to help you on your way."

In order to complete the game by October 2015 for PC, Mac, iOS, Windows 8 and Android devices, the developers are asking for £50,000 through Kickstarter by October 24. Backers who make a minimum £10 pledge will get a downloadable copy of the game. To learn more and contribute to its crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for full details.
 



Update: Since time of writing, this Kickstarter has been canceled.



3

Oct

The month of ghostly tales is upon us, and helping to usher it in is indie developer Dayv Hack's The Haunting of Willow Hill, now available for iOS and Android devices.

In The Haunting of Willow Hill, you are called in when the titular small town "falls victim to a ghastly apparition’s repeated attacks." It only gets worse upon your arrival, however, as the townsfolk begin dying. As you investigate, you'll discover that a 150-year-old unsolved murder is at the root of the town's troubles, and it's up to you to "decipher the mystery, solve whodunit, and catch the killer before it’s too late."

A free-roaming, first-person adventure, The Haunting of Willow Hill is not a horror game, but rather a "story-driven murder mystery/adventure with haunting overtones." Before you can identify the culprit, you'll first need to "solve puzzles (and) talk to the residents of Willow Hill" in order to uncover the relevant clues.

A mobile exclusive, The Haunting of Willow Hill is available now for only $1.99 at both the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android.



1

Oct

Many games have been influenced by H.P. Lovecraft, but only one game bears the official licensed seal of approval – or at least, it will if Senscape's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is able to successfully raise enough funds through Kickstarter.

The latest point-and-click adventure by the creator of Scratches and Asylum is a "faithful and painstakingly researched adaptation" of its literary namesake, thrusting players into the dual roles of "both the inquisitive Charles Dexter Ward and Dr. Marinus Willett in a race against time to save Providence (and possibly humankind) from the evil warlock Joseph Curwen, who has made a pact with powerful forces of ineffable cosmic hideousness to exert his abhorrent influence across centuries."

The entire game is set in Lovecraft's hometown, inviting players to "explore mystery-laden Providence and uncover its enchanting secrets, research ancient history of witchcraft and occultism in shadow-blighted Salem, and sneak into an eerie Pawtuxet farm to meet unspeakable horrors lurking underneath." Stops along the way will range from "dusty libraries where awaits the hideous Necronomicon, through excursions to nightmarish cemeteries where time-worn bones tell of horrible past events, to sojourns in the old Salem-Village of crumbling gables and clustered gambrel roofs where wizards of yore still prowl."

Unlike Senscape's other games, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward will be a third-person adventure, though everything else promises exactly what we've come to expect from the indie Argentine studio. There will be "no weapons, no enemies, no jumping, no running, and no dying" in the game, nor cheap scares (or tentacles!), as the focus will be "strictly on story and mood".

In conjunction with the game, Senscape's Agustín Cordes and Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi will be filming "The Shadow Over Providence", which offers "both a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of Charles Dexter Ward and a documentary on Lovecraft’s life in Providence." Viewers can follow along as Cordes and Joshi "travel to Providence and scout the remaining locations that were key in Lovecraft’s lifetime, including the John Hay Library, Moses Brown School, the 'actual' home of the Ward family, and the queer building that inspired Curwen’s old house in Olney Court."

In order to make all this possible, the developers are seeking $250,000 through Kickstarter by the rather fitting deadline of October 31st. A minimum early bird pledge of $15 will earn backers a DRM-free download of the game for Windows, Mac, or Linux. If all goes well, we could see the game completed as early as the end of 2015, as the artists who have completed their work on the still-in-production Asylum can get started on the new game right away.

To learn more about H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for full details.




September 2014

23

Sep

Claustrophobics have an intense fear of being stuck on elevators, but indie developer Fezziwig Games has made that prospect even more (enjoyably) disturbing for everyone with its debut mobile release, Escape the Hellevator!.

Players control a dying man named Clarence Ridgeway, who's being rushed to the Emergency Room in a hospital elevator. This is no ordinary trip, however, and you'll take your time getting to your destination, as a "mysterious priest forces Clarence to relive his sins on each floor as he plummets to his final judgment. Can you survive the drop and escape damnation?"

Each of the six rooms Clarence visits represents one of his past sins, and he'll need to escape them all in order to complete the journey. This involves solving a series of "fiendish" puzzles and interacting with the real-time 3D environments that let you "swipe the screen to investigate in an intuitive manner", while "each item you pick up can be examined and/or interacted with in a similar fashion."

A mobile exclusive, Escape the Hellevator is available for only $1.99 for both iPad and iPhone at the App Store, and for Android devices at Google Play.



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