Wakeup for adventure games?
Don’t you have a sense that Adventure games are crawling back up to the gaming surface again? For a number of years, the industry has deemed Adventure games (in the classical sense) stone-dead. Sure, there are tons of games with adventuring/puzzle elements, like “Beyond Good and Evil” and our own “Riddick”, but the traditional adventure game gets little or no publisher money since many years back…
But now games like Fahrenheit (“Indigo Prophecy” in North America) is appearing. Telltale games seems to do quite well with “Out from Boneville”. A sequel is coming up and a new “Sam & Max” game is planned from the same company. Other upcoming games are “Dreamfall”, “Broken Sword 4” and “Ankh”. Other really cool stuff is also happening on the adventure scene, like the free (!) Rise of the Hidden Sun that’s been in development for some time now. I really hope the developers have the strength to ride the game until it gets finished. Cudos to the guys on Chapter 11!!!
This Joystiq article mentions a BBC report about gaming that states that 63% of the asked gamers love “puzzles and quizzes”. That’s kind of interesting and might be good news for adventure game developers. However, the report did not separate between hardcore PC gamers and people who is only on to casual gaming. So puzzles might be more of “Sudoku”, “Jewels” or “Tetris” than “Grim Fandango”. Either way, a bit of mental challenge seem to attract lots of people and that in itself is interesting. We see tons of games that incorporates puzzles, character interaction and exploration in other genres, like survival horrors, platformers and shooters – and one must wonder why there is so little interest in games that solely focuses on the puzzles, exploration and character interaction? Perhaps the traditional adventure require too much attention and effort for most gamers. Firing up “Ratcher & Clank”, shooting through a level and solving its puzzles is easily done. But firing up “Riven” to just get through a few puzzles requires a lot more effort.
Perhaps what’s needed is some casual gaming thinking applied to Adventures? I guess that’s partly what Telltale is doing with “Sam & Max” – they seem to plan releasing the game as episodic content or by some other interesting release model. (This is what they write on their hopepage: “You will certainly see a series of episodic PC games. Sam & Max will likely appear in other places as well. Perhaps in entertainment formats not yet imagined by our fragile little brains. Perhaps, … Circle-vision!… Or not.”)
We’ll see how things are going with “Sam & Max” and all the other upcoming adventure games, but I have high hopes. So, let us all keep our fingers crossed and wish that the future has only good things at hand for us adventure lovers.