Friday, January 30, 2015

Upcoming Adventure Games in 2015!

                The year 2015 is an episodic one when it comes to adventure games with the first episode of many titles being launched at the end of 2014 and continuing throughout this year.
This is a list of pure adventure games new releases or episodic continuations from last year.

Life is Strange
Release Date: January 30 Episode 1
                Life is Strange is an episodic adventure game developed by Dontnod Entertainment using Unreal Engine 3 and published by Square Enix.
                The story will be split in five episodes and focuses on Maxine Caulfiled a senior photography student who saves her friend’s life when she discovers that she can rewind time. As she starts investigating the disappearance of a fellow student she comes understand the implications of her powers and the devastating effect that changing time can have.
                The main gameplay mechanic is controlling time. The choices the players make will modify the story and will carry on to future episodes leading up to multiple endings.
                With beautiful graphics, interesting game mechanics and a story based on the player’s decisions, Life is Strange seems like the best title to open up the year for adventure games.

Game of Thrones: Season One
Release Date: Episode 2 February 3

                Game of Thrones is another episode based point and click adventure now set in R.R. Martin’s Westeros and based on the TV adaptation by HBO with the first episode released in December 2014.
                Season one of the game is split in six episodes and follows the story of House Forrester, rulers of the Ironwood, a northern noble family loyal to the house of Stark.
The action is set after the War of the Five Kings, with the Forrester family being on the losing side, the five playable characters attempt to save themselves and their family from the terrible situation they are put into.
                The game allows the players to visit familiar locations like the Wall or King’s Landing and meet with characters from both the novels and the TV show. Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) and Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Snow) are performing voice acting for their characters in the TV show.
The gameplay is based on the same mechanics that made Telltale’s adventure games so popular, with decision that change the course of the action and carry on throughout the series.
                Game of Thrones seems like the perfect video game for the show fans (I’m not so sure if it will be liked by the novels readers) and requires a basic knowledge of the action presented on the 3rd season of the TV series.

Broken Age – Act II
Release Date: Q2
                Broken Age in a point and click adventure game developed by Double Fine Adventure with Tim Schafer as Director. The game was crowdfunded through Kickstarter raising over 3.45 million $ and being the first video game to have such a success that it established crowdfunding as an alternative to the standard video games funding.
                The story follows the adventures two teenagers, Vella Tartine and Shay Volta, from two different worlds with no visible connections to each other. They both struggle to break free from their current lives.
The game’s plot is split in two acts with the first one being released in January 2014 and the second one scheduled for release this year. The second part of the game should come as a free update for everyone who purchased the game.
                Broken Age is Tim Schafer’s return to this genre after 16 years and the first act of the game was well received by both the critics and consumers.  The second act was initially scheduled for a 2014 release but was pushed to 2015 as the studio needed additional time to polish the game and raise it up to the standards required by the consumers. The fans are tirelessly waiting for the grand finale of the game.

Anna’s Quest
Release Date: Q2

                Anna’s Quest is an upcoming classic point and click adventure game from the German studio Daedalic Entertainment.
The story takes place in a land far away where a young girl named Anna embarks in an adventure to find a cure for her grandfather’s illness. The girl is kidnapped by a witch who does experiments on her giving Anna telekinetic powers. This leads to her escape together with a boy named Ted who transformed into a teddy bear.
The two of them venture together in this fairytale world full of mystery and dangerous creatures following up on Anna’s quest to save her grandfather.
                The bizarre world in Anna’s Quest is inspired by the Grimm brother’s tales and European folklore and it is filled with creatures and characters that have their own stories.
Not many details are currently available about this game, but knowing the talented team behind Daedalic Entertainment and their passion for story driven adventure games, this game looks like something worth keeping an eye on.

King’s Quest
Release Date: Q2

                The legendary adventure series that started in 1984 with King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown by Sierra, is making a comeback in a reboot developed by The Odd Gentlemen.
                The main hero of the series, King Graham, now old and tired shares his stories to his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, and takes the players back into adventures of his past. This starts a new story that ties up with old ones but it is independent from them.
                There are few known details about this King’s Quest, but Activision revived the Sierra label for this title and for Geometry Wars and it seems to have an episodic release planned.

Dreamfall Chapters
Release Date: Book 2 TBA

                Dreamfall Chapters is an ongoing episodic adventure game and the sequel to Dreamfall and The Longest Journey and is now developed by Red Thread Games in partnership with Blink Studios using the Unity 4 engine.
The license of the franchise belonged to Funcom, but after the company changed its focus to online games, the director of the original games Ragnar Tørnquist and his newly founded studio acquired the rights and started working on the project in 2012.
                The story is split in five books with the first one, Reborn, being already released. The action takes place in parallel worlds: Stark a dystopian cyberpunk image of Earth and a fantasy realm called Arcadia which is its counterpart.
The game has three playable characters, two from the previous games and one new protagonist a girl named Saga.
Zoë Castillo is the primary protagonist of the game. She was left for dead at the end of Dreamfall after disrupting a criminal conspiracy that was threatening both worlds and now has to find a new meaning for her life.
Kian Alvane is the secondary protagonist, a skilled soldier arrested for treason who escapes and joins the Resistance.
                Dreamfall Chapters tries to deliver an emotional and compelling story riddled with player’s choices that will shape the course of the action up to a disastrous effect despite its linear plot.
Dreamfall has been on the waiting list of the fans for years and finally the game is here and everyone is anxiously waiting for the next Book to be released.

Tales from the Borderlands
Release Date: Episode 2 TBA

                Not even Borderlands escaped the storytelling claws of Telltale Games and the universe is now a setting for one of their point and click episodic adventure games.
                The story follows two characters, Rhys, a Hyperion employee who dreams to become someone big someday, and Fiona, a Pandoran con artist. The two of them are thrown together by the events happening around them and start an adventure of recovering briefcase full of money.
The game does an excellent job at recreating the Borderlands feeling through similar cell shaded graphics and similar style of humor that was used throughout the FPS series. The players will adventure through some known places from the Gearbox games and meet familiar characters like Zer0.
                The gameplay is narrative focused and is based on the same known features used in previous titles from Telltale having no puzzles, tones of dialogues and choices that matter (more or less) and some QTEs.
                For the fans of the Borderlands series (which got kinda repetitive) this game is a welcomed change, switching from the heavy action oriented gameplay to something more story driven but still as amusing and entertaining.

Syberia III
Release Date: TBA

                Syberia III is the upcoming sequel to the legendary series developed by the Belgian comic artist Benoît Sokal, who worked on the previous titles for Microids, and Anuman Interactive under the Microids brand.
                The game continues the story of Kate Walker an ex-lawyer who abandoned her life style and career to embark in a journey in the search of living woolly mammoths.
The previous titles in the series presented a mysterious story and captivating locations filled with challenging puzzles. The players watched how Kate Walker’s personality changed as her personal fell apart and slowly gave in to the obsession of completing one man’s life dream.
                Syberia III is in production since 2013 with the first in-game screenshots shown in august 2014. There aren’t many details known about the game, but it is expected to be released this year on PC and current gen consoles.

                Adventure games move to a new age with fewer games focusing on puzzles, which used to be the main game mechanic of this genre, and more attention given to the story, characters and choices. The genre also moves to a more cinematic approach with many titles being episodic and having QTEs and lots of cutscenes. The change might be for the best, as it revitalized adventure games and awakened people’s interest in them attracting both old and new gamers.

There are still titles focusing on the intellectual challenge aspect of these games and the year 2015 has adventures for everybody’s taste.


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