Hello, I'm Richard! I write games and words that people seem to like, including 'tatterdemalion' and 'fandango'. Maybe I can write some for you? My inbox is always open.

Richard Cobbett
Freelance Writer / Narrative Designer
Out Now: Silent Streets - Case 1

The telegram arrived last week. You almost threw it into the fire. Whatever right Thomas Horgan had to contact you, he lost it long ago. But then you saw the three words that would change your life. Three words the Great Detective would never say. “Help me. Please.”

Silent Streets is an iPhone and Android mystery game where the gimmick involves physically walking between locations, hunting evidence in augmented reality, and solving mysteries in the Victorian city of Snowport, on the edge of the Empire. I was brought in to design the world, which involves a slight alternate history where the Royal Society is at war with its spiritualist rivals, and to design and write the actual cases, characters, and grand series plan. The result is a world that’s a little further advanced than the actual history, with cases dipping into both scientific and more fantastical wells - a world where, for instance, Faraday has trumped Tesla in creating lightning coils, but a pack of tarot cards could still point the way to a guilty soul.

Explore. Make friends and enemies. Find the truth.

The first of them is out now, called The Boy With The Flower Skin (a reference to Lichtenberg figures, though I won’t spoil exactly how). It’s a freebie intended to introduce the setting, where you’re a Marlowe type detective filling in for a disgraced Holmes type, arriving just in time to find him dead in mysterious circumstances and the police immediately collaring you for the crime. While the evidence against you is slight, that doesn’t mean much in Snowport. Luckily, the disappearance of a teenage girl gives you the perfect opportunity to prove your worth as Snowport’s new Detective and at least buy yourself some time to search for the truth.

The second case, The Mockingbird’s Last Dive, is due out in August, with the cheerily named third, The Short Cold Life Of Jenny Thricewise, sometime after that.

For more information, check here or the official site. You can download the first case for iPhone here, and for Android here. Future cases are planned to be a couple of quid, as IAPs.

June 29, 2017 - Filed In: Silent Streets

Out Now: The Long Journey Home

Humanity’s first jump-capable ship is about to go horribly wrong, plunging a misfit team of four astronauts into the ultimate space adventure. Can you get your crew back alive?

I was writer on this space adventure, writing a script of over 170,000 words, coming up with much of the universe and co-designing lots of the quests. It’s a bit Star Control, a bit Farscape, a bit Red Dwarf… a little bit of just about every SF series and universe the team loves.

More info right here. It’s available on Steam and GOG right now, with a fancy boxed version that’s unfortunately only available in the German market. Here’s our awesome launch trailer. I can say that because while I wrote the script, I wasn’t involved with that wonderful music and staging that gives it those majestic Homeworld vibes. So pretty. The actual game features ten crew, from Kirsten, the astronaut seen here, to researchers, pilots and bloggers, all with their own personalities and relationships that evolve over the course of the journey. One of my favourite parts of the game is the crew chatter that shows up throughout the game, giving you a glimpse of the action aboard the Daedalus-7 ship - the fights, the pranks, relationships, the awkwardness of sharing facilities, and the frustrations of being trapped in space that can’t be solved with, ahem, a few minutes alone-time down in Supply Closet B. A particular personal goal was conveying all three sides of being in such a situation - the wonder, the terror, and the frustrating irony of being trapped in a tin can with the whole universe at your feet.

So far, people seem to be appreciating it! Hurrah! (Now we just need a TV Tropes page.)

May 30, 2017 - Filed In: The Long Journey Home

The Geekiest Things I Own

Funko Pops are so boring. If you’re going to gather ludicrous geek-tat, go large. That’s what I say, if admittedly mostly because I have the space and nobody to stop me from purchasing, say, a fluffy Sam from Sam and Max, a Borg teddy-bear (Teddy Borg?) from the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, maps of fictional worlds, and plushie versions of the patron spirits of criticism, Statler and Waldorf, to sit on my mantlepiece like modern day lares and penates.

But what are the most ridiculous that I own? Glad you asked.

May 8, 2017 - Filed In: General Nonsense

Out Now: Sunless Sea: The Pirate Poet

“Blood and ink, my Captain, blood and ink! Great art has always demanded great suffering. We simply recognised that its obligation does not necessarily have to weigh upon the artiste.”

Just a quickie to say that the Pirate-Poet and second half of the Merciless Modiste’s story is now available to all Sunless Sea players, and not just those super-generous DLC backers. I’m really pleased with this, as the Pirate-Poet is some of my favourite writing that I did for Sunless Sea. The Poet herself was my attempt to give the player a ‘worthy rival’ at zee, whose relationship is built up through combat rather than the usual gifts and romancing… though romancing is absolutely on the table, later on. Likewise, the Merciless Modiste was a chance for a little more humour in the game a la the Delightful Adventuress, albeit several shades darker in tone.

Don’t let her anywhere near your Comatose Ferret…

The two stories and characters intertwine, telling what I think is a fun story of honour and dressmaking, with a lot of variation involved depending on the current state of the player’s relationship with the Poet. Mechanically, there’s a lot going on here that most players will never see, but I hope the more surface level stuff is as enjoyable to play as it was to write. I’m particularly fond of the three-part conversation between the Modiste and the Poet on their respective views of Art, the Modiste’s seemingly genuine inability to understand why just because you’re sending someone to their doom doesn’t mean you can’t be friends, and a rare chance for the Captain’s poor crew to make a stand on behalf of something that they believe in.

Thanks to the original Kickstarter backers who gave us the okay to release this one for free. Hope everyone felt they got their money’s worth out of the content while it was still exclusive.

January 31, 2017 - Filed In: Sunless Sea

AdventureX 2016

Over the last weekend, the yearly AdventureX convention in London grew up. It’s been running for the last few years, and I’ve always meant to but never actually managed to get down to it. This year though saw it raise money via Kickstarter to properly support itself, fill the halls at Goldsmiths College in London, and make itself an essential note on the calendar for anyone interested in adventure games, interactive fiction or other narrative driven stuff. What stood out for me wasn’t the talks though, but the general atmosphere. I’ve never been to a friendlier conference, or one with less ego on display. Everyone was there for the exact same reason - to celebrate this wonderful, crazy, goofy little genre we love so much.

November 21, 2016 - Filed In: General Nonsense

“The excellent writing involved helps lend it a storytelling strength seldom found in roguelikes. Often even the bad encounters left me smirking.”

- IGN, The Long Journey Home

“The writing is exquisite, original, and refreshingly witty. I laughed out loud many times over while meeting new races, getting to know their quirks and wants. The Long Journey Home does a superb job of making you feel like a stranger in a strange place.”

- PCGamesN, The Long Journey Home

The way it moves between moments of wonder, humour and tragedy makes The Long Journey Home a rare pleasure among science fiction games. It was the four crew members, every time, that made each return memorable. With this kind of company, I never wanted The Long Journey Home to end."

- Kotaku, The Long Journey Home