Adventure News
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November 2014

27

Nov

Adventure-loving fans of Ken Follett can rejoice twice today with the news that not only is Follett writing a new novel in his popular Kingsbridge series, but an adventure game based on his first, The Pillars of the Earth, will be developed by Daedalic Entertainment to coincide with the new book's release.

Ken Follett

While no specific details about the game have yet been revealed, Follett's original novel (published in 1989) is set in the 12th century in the fictitious town of Kingsbridge, South England. It is a "time of brutal conflicts between nobility, clergy and the simple people, suffering from exploitation and famine. Philip, the young prior of Kingsbridge, dreams of building a cathedral. He, Tom, the master builder, his stepson Jack and the smart Aliena, daughter of the earl, will have to fight for life and death against their enemies before their dream can become true and the pillars of the earth will start to grow towards heaven…"

The as-yet-unnamed adventure will mark the first officially licensed Ken Follett videogame, and Daedalic's founder and CEO Carsten Fichtelmann believes that, "Together with Bastei Lübbe and Ken Follett we determined that the genre of adventure games is the best and most suitable way to adapt and express the substantial depth of such a historical novel. Adventure games are interactive literature, and we at Daedalic dedicated ourselves to the perfection of this genre’s playing experience."

The only downside to today's news is that there's a long time to wait. With Follett's novel not slated to be released until fall 2017, we'll have to wait until then for the game as well. When it does arrive, it will be launched across multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and iOS devices.



26

Nov

There are plenty of swines in politics, but that notion will take on a whole new meaning in the upcoming comic steampunk adventure Viktor, which is currently raising funds through Kickstarter.

The titular hero is an "impulsive, but a good-hearted boar" who does what any self-respecting tusked pig would do when he loses his job: set out to become the "ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire!" Along the way, he will "engage in all sorts of adventures like an airship fight, meeting the love of his life in an anarchist basement, helping Tesla test a brand new incredible machine and lots of other crazy stuff that may or may not involve sex, drugs and classical music."


The road won't be a normal one, but then nothing about Viktor is normal, including the hand-drawn cartoon world in which it's set. Although very similar to our own geographically, "each country is either a semi-historical representation of a real country, or a flat-out parody that may or may not have people laughing with anger." Populating these skewered lands are a number of wacky characters who will "often be bizarre, and sometimes based on real people such as the genius inventor antilope Tesla or the dog Emperor Franz Joseph."

In order to complete this point-and-click adventure (with a few minigames "just to keep you screaming") by December 2015, indie developer Studio Spektar has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 by December 19th. A DRM-free download of the game for PC and Mac is available to backers for as little as $10. To learn more about the game and support its production, visit the Kickstarter page for complete information. You can also download the playable PC demo to check the game out for yourself.



23

Nov

Independent developers Innervision Games are asking for support on Kickstarter not just to develop a new adventure game, but to help push the medium into the next dimension of Virtual Reality. Although it can be played conventionally on PC, Ethereon is an exploration game designed specifically with the Oculus Rift in mind.

Ethereon transports players to a colonized water planet somewhere in space. There you will need to solve a series of puzzles rooted in logic to uncover information about the mysterious civilization of this world and find the necessary element needed to escape. Further plot details are being left intentionally vague, as the main aim of the game is one of immersive, first-hand discovery, but the developers have promised interactions with the planet’s underwater creatures as the player’s path takes them beneath the waves to their journey’s end.


Far from your average first-person point-and-click adventure, Ethereon is presented with added “hand-presence” through NimbleVR technology, meaning players can actually use their hands to grasp and interact with objects in the virtual space as they would in real life. Although the game’s VR capabilities have been designed for the Oculus Rift, a non-VR version for PC will be released alongside it, with some possible home console opportunities in store for the future.

Headed up by Tony Davidson, the development team consists of several veterans of both the video game and motion picture industries. Davidson himself contributed to the development of Riven, so it should come as no surprise that Ethereon flows from a similar vein.

Slated for a November 2015 release, Ethereon must first meet its $35,800 crowdfunding goal by December 21st. To learn more or contribute, head to the game’s Kickstarter page, where digital copies start at $20. If you’re still undecided, demos for both the VR and non-VR versions are already available for download.



22

Nov

In 2009, indie developer Remigiusz Michalski shocked and horrified adventure gamers with the surreal, gore-filled Downfall – at least, the relative few who actually played what proved to be a fairly niche title even within the genre. Now, following the much broader success of his follow-up The Cat Lady, Michalski is revisiting his debut title with an eye to drastically overhauling it for re-release in 2015.

The story will remain essentially the same, casting players in the role of Joe Davis, who stops at Quiet Haven Hotel with his wife Ivy for what he believes will be a peaceful one-night stay. Nothing could be farther from the truth, however, as "things soon start to go wrong. Ivy's panic attacks get worse and soon she disappears. Strange goings on begin around the hotel. Nothing is what it seems anymore. Joe is left alone, trying to understand what is happening, trapped between reality and the nightmare."

But while the overall premise and ending remain the same, much will be different this time around. Michalski claims that "most paths leading up to main events" will be altered. In addition, all of the dialogue has been re-written to make them "more interactive in the vein of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us."


Along with the script changes, the game's interface and production values are being revamped as well. Gone is the point-and-click control scheme and presentation of the original, replaced with improved Cat Lady-style side-scrolling and keyboard-controlled mechanics. The new version also promises high res graphics and all-new animations, a brand new musical score, and will now feature full voice acting. Another similarity to The Cat Lady will be Jesse Gunn reprising his role as Joe Davis, as the new game will "answer some of the questions [fans] have been asking about Joe." Michalski also aims to be more judicious with the gore and obscenities, though make no mistake – the remake will be every bit the "mature" experience as its predecessor.

There is currently no firm release date scheduled for the new Downfall, but Michalski and publisher Screen 7 are currently targeting the second quarter of 2015. In the meantime, you can still play the original version of the game, which is now available to download as legal freeware.



19

Nov

Fans of procedurals or the popular Phoenix Wright series of interactive courtroom adventures will have no objection to the newly announced Bohemian Killing, a first-person murder case with a steampunk twist that’s currently raising funds through Indiegogo.

Created by Polish developer The Moonwalls, Bohemian Killing places you in the role of Alfred Ethon, an inventor of some renown in post-Revolution Paris who is placed on trial for the brutal murder of a young woman. With the deck already stacked against you due to your ethnicity and the public’s lingering racism (Alfred is of Gypsy descent), you will have to endure razor-sharp questioning and witness statements in the courtroom. Your only option: Defend yourself by providing your own testimony.


This is where Bohemian Killing switches to its secondary game mode: first-person flashbacks to the night of the murder allowing you to freely explore and interact with environments via non-linear gameplay. Actions performed during the flashback segments all play a part in how well or how poorly your defense comes across to the Court, and the developers are promising complete freedom for your imagination to run wild. Who you talk to, how you behave, where you go… it all becomes a part of the storyline. Even the most trivial of actions like jumping up and down may have unforeseen consequences in your testimony. You can disguise yourself, get drunk, even attack others. Lie, tell the truth, plead insanity – it’s all up to you.

Set in a fictional 19th century steampunk Paris, the developers are calling Bohemian Killing equal parts Phoenix Wright and Gone Home, with options to choose between a mode where your legal counsel steers you in the right direction and one where you’re simply cut loose to see how far you can get on your own. Thirteen different endings promise replay value, with none of them being the proverbial “bad” ending.

Interested parties can head to the game’s Indiegogo campaign, where the developers are seeking to raise $13,000 by January 5th (though as a flexible funding campaign, all pledges are collected regardless of the final tally). A downloadable version of the game begins at $10, and could be delivered as early as May of next year to PC, Mac, and Linux users.



17

Nov

Horror fans will want to dare a peek through hand-covered eyes at a new Kickstarter campaign for Scorn: Episode One, an open-ended survival horror being developed exclusively for PC.

Serbian development studio Ebb Software describe Scorn as a first-person horror adventure in a “nightmarish universe of odd forms and somber tapestry” that emphasizes “exploration and interaction with the game world”. The non-linear, maze-like setting is heavy on isolation and atmosphere, with lots of strange architecture and unknown artifacts to investigate and examine. Traditional narrative takes a back seat, as players are encouraged to “give their own interpretation of the events, themes and their role in this universe.”


Scorn’s grim, dark sci-fi setting immediately invites comparisons to action-heavy shooters, but the developers are quick to dispel such notions, claiming: “Scorn is a mixture of exploration, puzzle solving and gunplay. Gunplay is very defined and most of the time players will use their weapons as a last resort.” Though the Kickstarter campaign does mention Resident Evil-style buzz words like “ammo management” and “cover”, Scorn also promises to be comparable to other unique gaming experiences like Journey and Ico.

The development cycle will be a lengthy one of two years, with the first of two planned episodes expected to launch in December 2016 if the developers are able to raise an ambitious €200,000 through Kickstarter by December 23rd. Interested players can secure a digital copy of the game starting at €15. For a full breakdown of the various pledge tiers, as well as additional information about the game (including possible Oculus Rift support), visit Scorn’s Kickstarter campaign.



15

Nov

Adventure games are often filled with vivid cartoon colours, but what would the world look like if the protagonist himself couldn't see colour? And what would it take to bring colour into that world? That is the premise of indie developer Sylvain Seccia's Désiré, a "poetic" adventure now seeking funding through Indiegogo.

The titular character has been colour blind since birth and living in a world of black-and-white. This handicap is not without its consequences: the boy is a "taciturn loner, ill at ease" as he tries to mark his place in a world that has "never brought him much joy." Now, however, he is about to meet several characters from his childhood who will "elicit in Désiré intense emotions and alter his vision in surprising ways. Is colour at the end of the road?"


Although an "old style" point-and-click adventure inspired by the genre's classics, the game is also atypical in that "unlike today's clichés of immediacy and speed, Désiré drags you into a subtly poetic and contemplative ambience." Inspired by the works of French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline and based on the personal experiences of the game's own designer, Désiré promises a tale that is "both ragged and delicate...repugnant and alluring... wistful and light-hearted... but most of all, it is distinctly human and profoundly singular." Music will be crucial to the story as it "carries meaning and emotions", and the protagonist's changing emotions will be conveyed through more than 80 minutes of original piano music.

While a fair bit of work has already gone into the game, in order to finish it Seccia and his team are seeking an additional €15,000 by December 16th on Indiegogo. Although no firm release date has yet been announced, successful funding should see the game released sometime in 2015. Désiré will be distributed free for Windows, but backers will have the opportunity to download the game for Mac and Linux with a minimum €10 pledge. For complete details, visit the Indiegogo page to learn more.



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