Although criticized by some on its original release for having "far too much talking" (PC Zone Magazine, UK, 1996), it's interesting to note that Broken Sword is one of the few adventure game franchises that has survived the supposed "death" and subsequent "rebirth" of the genre.
It's done this, at least in part, by moving with the times, jumping around from platform to platform rather than remaining restricted to PC. Over the years, we've seen Broken Sword games on everything from the original PlayStation to the Game Boy Advance and the original Xbox. The style of play, too, has shifted around, from point-and-click adventure to titles in which you take direct control of the protagonists. One thing has remained constant, though: a strong sense of being driven by the well-written narrative, supported by a cast of likeable, memorable characters.
It's been a while since we last saw a new Broken Sword game, with the last new game in the series being 2006's The Angel of Death, subsequently followed by remastered versions of the first two games in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Last year, however, the team at Revolution launched a Kickstarter to help fund a brand new installment in the long-running series. The campaign concluded having raised over $770,000; this was well above its $400,000 target and enough to include several stretch goals, including restoring the "director's cuttings"; adding new locations in North Africa and the Middle East; and incorporating a backer's name and likeness into the game. It wasn't quite enough to greenlight a second Beneath a Steel Sky game, but doubtless Revolution will revisit this idea if The Serpent's Curse proves to be successful.
The new game features traditional 2D animated visuals rather than the polygonal graphics of its immediate predecessors, and is being worked on by artists and animators who have previously contributed work to Disney, Aardman and Universal motion pictures. The story once again revolves around George Stobbart and his spunky French sidekick Nico Collard as they investigate "a murderous conspiracy forged in the cauldron of war-torn Europe… a conspiracy whose roots lie in mysteries older than the written word." Expect a narrative that blends wry humor, influences from real-world mythology and a supernatural twist.
Since the Kickstarter concluded almost a year ago, Revolution has been quietly continuing to work on the game, keeping backers updated via regular Kickstarter updates. Today, the team announced that the game would not only be coming to PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, but also PlayStation Vita, marking the series' first appearance on a Sony handheld. Those who are lucky enough to be at Gamescom in Germany will get the opportunity to try out the game for themselves -- though to be honest, it's not really the kind of game you can get a good feel for on a crowded, noisy show floor carpeted with discarded flyers.
"We are very proud of the reception that our Kickstarter appeal received," said Charles Cecil, founder and managing director of Revolution Software. "As well as funding a core part of development, it has brought together a wonderful community of Broken Sword fans. We are thrilled to be bringing the game to PlayStation Vita."
The new game is expected to arrive in "late 2013" on all of the above-mentioned platforms. You can stay up to date with the latest news via Revolution's site.