As a development studio, though, Wadjet Eye has their own series of point-and-click adventures that follow a young New York-based writer called Rosa Blackwell and her ghostly friend Joey Mallone. They’ve already been in four adventures together, and so it’s about time you caught up on those. The Blackwell Epiphany is to be the fifth in this series, and it’s honestly looking like the best one yet!
“A dead man’s soul cries out against the force of a ferocious blizzard. He cries for help. He cries for answers. Then he screams as he is torn apart like damp tissue paper.”
Of course, what you really want is to here some details from the horse’s mouth, and not my dribbling-in-anticipation one yammering on at you right now. So let’s fix that this instant! You’ll be glad to hear that I spoke to Dave Glibert – the main designer and head of Wadjet Eye – and he threw some sentences this direction:
“To be honest, it’s not REALLY that far along. I spent most of last year designing it, but wasn’t able to actually work on it much because of all the publishing I was doing (Da New Guys, Resonance, and Primordia). After Primordia wrapped up, it was full speed ahead. There is a prologue and three chapters to the game. Right now, the prologue and the first chapter are completely written and programmed. All of the art for the prologue is finished, and Ben is about halfway through the chapter one assets.”
Intrigued? Excited? You should be if you’re a fan of adventure games in any way, especially if you like those with engaging characters, a good narrative and consistently excellent voice acting too – often a rare thing for an indie release. And don’t worry; I pandered Dave a little bit more about the details of the game, and so there’s a little more to come!
So Dark, So Blackwell
As you should be able to tell from the screenshots slapped above for your pleasure, The Blackwell Epiphany is a lot darker-looking than the other games. The dominant colors are black and green in this first batch of screenshots, and that’s indicative of the game’s various locations and its plot as well. The new artist bringing the series’ most beautiful pixel art to life is none other than Ben Chandler!
Ben, I’m obliged to say, is actually one of my favorite adventure game developers out there, and I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to hear that it was him working on this. His own games tend to be odd and quirky, with some of the most adorably strange characters you’ll come across. But in this it is Dave calling the shots while he just makes everything dance and look pretty. Ben’s games tend to be quite dark too, so it seems a good fit to have him on board. But why is Epiphany so much darker than the other four games; why the sudden change up? Dave explains further:
“Each Blackwell game gets longer and more complex with each instalment, and this one is no exception. It’s also a LOT darker in many respects, and I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone more than I have before. It’s been noted that a lot of the previous Blackwell games tend to be very “middle class” (offices, cafes, apartments, etc – pretty much mirroring my own life), and I’m making an attempt to move away from that.”
A valiant effort from Dave then, at least – isn’t there some saying about not being stagnant and always pushing yourself? Well, apply it to here, I guess. In any case, the new and beautifully dark look of Blackwell is certainly welcome here. And I can only imagine that the game’s trademark jazzy soundtrack is going to fit really well with this new palette and darker themes. As to further details on the actual story of the game, well, there isn’t much yet, understandably. Of course, there’s an evil force that’s tearing people apart and the police are hopeless to stop it, presumably because it’s some kind of spirit. And that’s where Joey and Rosa step in as the experts, so it seems you’ll be taking them around various locations to find evidence and talk to witnesses, ghosts and otherwise, to track whatever this thing is.
I asked Dave to provide any more details he was willing to and received the answer I was expecting, as in nothing much yet:
“I’m also going to be pushing the story forward, answering some of the questions that I feel I’ve dragged out for long enough! It’s been REALLY fun working on it. As much as I love the games we published last year, it’s nice to be back in developer mode again.”
Well, at least he’s enthusiastic about the whole thing. I’d imagine that a 2014 release is on the cards for this one, considering how much art that Ben has to produce for it yet, and every time there’s another update, you can be sure that we’ll be the ones telling you about it. Watch this space!