New (Re)Release: Sunless Sea: The Pirate Poet

Finally, she’s no longer just a rumour to the pirates of Gaider’s Mourn

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.

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 an exclusive.

Onwards, now, to Sunless Skies… (I hope!)

New Release: Torn Tales

A most unlikely party forms…

New game alert! This one’s called Torn Tales. I wasn’t involved on the design side of this one, but I wrote the cut-scene script – a fun interworld romp of Snow White, Robin Hood, Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde rampaging around worlds merged together by an evil Bookbinder. It’d have been fun to have more scope to play with those relationships in the form of in-game barks and additional cut-scenes, but watching early playthroughs on Twitch, it looks like the story side went over pretty well. In particular, the words are hugely helped by having Stefan Cornicard on hand, playing the two narrators in their feud over heroism and hypocrisy.

AdventureX 2016 / Writing Humour In Games

We really need some Little Buddies versions of the art. Just saying.

We really need some Little Buddies versions of the art. Just saying.

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.

Read the rest of this entry…

Sunless Sea And Me: Zubmariner

What’s that bubbling from the deep? Yes, finally the Sunless Sea expansion Zubmariner is out, and if you don’t mind me saying so, I think it’s pretty darn good. I wrote two of the ports for this one, an elephants graveyard called the Gant Pole where the beasts of the zee go to die, and the port of Nook, a silent society living in and harvesting the flesh of a giant eel in the name of Freedom. And that’s just some of what’s to be found on the Zee floor, including the crystal city of Anthe, the dreamlike Dahut, and vast numbers of wrecks, new monsters, and other reasons that sensible people stay on the surface.

This probably calls for a ‘mwah-ha-ha’. Ahem. Mwah-ha-ha…

The Long Journey Home

What is there to be found on this strange planet?

What is there to be found on this strange planet?

Meet The Long Journey Home, which I’m writing for Daedalic Studio West. It’s an RPG! It’s a roguelike! It’s a procedurally generated universe that you won’t find boring after seeing a few systems of it! And I’m super, super excited about it. Creative lead Andreas Suika has put together nothing short of a team of wizards to make this thing happen, and I’m thrilled to tag along behind them, cack-handedly throwing words at a screen in the hope that they all sound good. Seriously though, this game is doing a lot of stuff that I’ve wanted to see these things do for literally decades, including treating the crew as a vital part of the mission (complete with personalities, skills, arguments etc) instead of just stats, combining ‘proper’ RPG questing with an unpredictable universe, and offering basically all the freedom that you’d actually get if you were trapped at the wrong side of the universe on a slowly collapsing ship.

It’s Farscape. It’s Voyager. It’s Star Control II. It’s a lot of more obscure franchises and European SF worlds wrapped up into one, designed to play differently every time you play. Can’t wait to show you more of it, but check out the website for at least a few more details.

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