Veteran British developer Charles Cecil is gearing up to announceRevolution Software’s first wholly original game for eight years – tipped to be Broken Sword 5.
If the new title is the fifth instalment in the Broken Sword saga, it will be Revolution’s first fresh iteration of the point-and-click adventure series since 2006.
“We’ve risked the frustration of the fans,” says Cecil. “They know that we’re writing a new game. We’re going to be announcing it with a fanfare.”
How - and exactly when in July – Revolution’s new adventure will be unveiled remains a secret.
The game will be a retail and digital release for PC, Mac, iOs and Android, but Cecil - a “huge fan” of Xbox Live marketplace and PlayStation Store - has not ruled out console versions.
Pending official confirmation it would be a shock if the new game isn’t Broken Sword 5, which Revolution has unofficially acknowledged as being on the cards via social media for some time, but whether the game features George Stobbart or not it will mark a return to the company's 2D roots.
The first two games in the series - Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars and Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror were classic 2D adventures. Later versions embraced 3D game mechanics, with mixed results.
Cecil claims the decision to move back into 2D for the new game is not down to criticism of the third and fourth entires in the series, but he did acknowledge that games can “lose something” with the switch to 3D. Cecil said: “When you move to 3D it changes the essence. With 2D the game feels like a classic adventure. But in our next game we will use 3D where appropriate.
“Visually in 2D we can go for a ‘2D look’. Layout artists bend perspective to suit a mood, whereas the 3D camera is literal,” added Cecil.
There are other aesthetic considerations behind the return to 2D, with colours staying true to the vibrant designs of artists rather than being muddied by lighting issues, for instance.
Recently, the York-based studio has found a new lease of life as a developer-come-publisher in the era of digital distribution, releasing successful reboots of seminal point-and-click adventures such asLure of The Temptress, Beneath A Steel Sky and Broken Sword on Android and iOs.
“We have done reboots and they have been very successful and very well received, which we’re very pleased about,” Cecil says. “We’re also very pleased in terms of generating revenue which allows us to work on new projects.”
Cecil - who is hosting the Game Horizon development conference at The Sage, Gateshead on June 27 and 28 - is optimistic about the future of the UK game industry and Revolution ahead of his big announcement.
“These are extraordinarily exciting times for Revolution," he says. "Things have changed radically with the digital distribution model, especially when you have brands people recognise.
“After quite some wait we are thrilled we are writing original games.”