Broken Sword 3 – interview

Revolutinary changes, full 3D environment, quality of previous games of the Broken Sword series and much more – that will be the upcoming adventure game Broken Sword 3. We have prepared an interview with Steve Ince, the game´s producer. Don´t hesitate and read our interview consisting of more than twenty questions – you can learn more about the game´s characters, interface, puzzles and so forth.
Broken Sword 3 – interview

Doupe: First of all, could you please introduce yourself and your upcoming game Broken Sword 3? Where and when came into existence the idea of making the third game of the Broken Sword series, how many people is working on this game, etc.
Steve Ince: Hi, I`m Steve Ince. I`m the producer on the BS3 project (as I was on BS1 and 2) as well as working extensively on the story and design with Charles. 

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon follows on from the previous games and wraps up the trilogy in a very neat way. Though it moves from the 2D look of the previous games into a full 3D environment, the flavour is still the same. 

There are currently about twenty people working on the project with more to boost the numbers very shortly.

Doupe: What are the gameplay differences between Broken Sword 3 and the first two games of the Broken Sword series? What will Broken Sword 3 retain from the last two games of the series?
S.I.: The main difference is the interface. The success of converting BS1 to the GameBoy Advance has convinced us that a direct control interface is a much better way to go as it gives the player a better connectivity with the player character. The conversations and puzzles will generally be of the same nature, but with refinements that can only come from the change in interface.

 

Doupe: The lead role in the story of your game will play Nico and George. Could you introduce these characters to our readers? How did they change compared with Broken Sword 2?
S.I.: If ever there was a good man in a bad world it`s George Stobbart. Now in his mid-twenties, he`s lost none of his youthful Boy Scout sense of justice and fair play. Easy-going, warm-hearted, witty - it`s what George doesn`t know about himself that makes him so interesting… For a start, he doesn`t realise how deceptive his casual American tourist look is. He certainly doesn`t see himself as courageous but in fact he`s as brave as any hero you could want to meet. George is boundlessly enthusiastic and has an intense curiosity that gets him into trouble on a frequent basis. It was his strong urge to "do the right thing" that got him involved in the mysteries of the Broken Sword conspiracy in the first place and that has propelled him along ever since.

Street-wise, sharp-tongued, shrewd - and let`s face it, tres sexy - Nico`s grown up on the opposite side of the tracks from George. No silver spoon for her - just memories of a dingy one-bedroom apartment, the roughest quartiers of Paris, tough schools and a career in photo-journalism that she`s chiselled out for herself against the odds.

The main change from BS2 is that the characters are 3 years older and a little wiser.

Doupe: What other old characters can we expect to see?
S.I.: The only character I can tell you about is André Lobineau. He will make a re-appearance in his usual manner.

Doupe: The story of your game will begin with George flying to Congo to visit professor. What other places will players visit?
S.I.: Paris again, but other locations we`d like to keep a lid on for the moment.

 

Doupe: The interface in Broken Sword 3 is designed to make characters control easy. Could you tell us more about this direct control method?
S.I.: We felt that the point-and-click interface was a little passive and we wanted the player to feel much more connected to the main character and more in control of what is happening. We`ve also designed the interface so that there won`t be any ambiguity about what is happening or what the character is interacting with.

Doupe: Very important part of your game will be puzzles, tasks and other obstacles. How did they change? 
S.I.: The principle of the puzzles are very similar to how we`ve designed them in the past, the main difference being that we`re now able to use the environment as part of the puzzles in a way that would have been extremely difficult in the past.

Doupe: Can you explain how important is for you and all members of your development team the term "realism"?
S.I.: Much less important than the term "believability". We have gone for a stylised look and feel and so the way the characters move and react need to fit with this stylised "reality".

Doupe: Could you tell us something more about the secret society called "Templars" and theirs role in Broken Sword 3?
S.I.: The real Templars were basically a group of mercenary knights around the time of the crusades who became so wealthy that Kings came to them for loans. They upset the church of the time and were forced to disband - many of them were tortured and hanged by the Inquisition.

 

P>The role of the Templars in BS3 is something to be discovered by the player.

Doupe: Considering the first information about your game, will Broken Sword 3 really aspire to be a "revolutionary adventure"? Is this your objective?
S.I.: Yes, we intend it to be so. We are convinced that by designing BS3 to embrace a cross-platform approach it will herald the moving forward of the adventure genre.

Doupe: Broken Sword 3 will be different from other adventure games. Why do you think that you game will be able to grip old players as well as "newbies"?
S.I.: Everything will be in the game that was a strength in the previous games: George and Nico, exotic locations, a large cast of characters, tremendous story, intrigue, ancient mysteries, logical puzzles and quality dialogue.

Doupe: Will Broken Sword 3 be really accessible to people who haven`t played any of the first two games?
S.I.: Definitely! Any relevant backstory will be explained in tightly scripted exposition scenes that will not only fill in for the new player, but also refresh the memory for the players of BS1 and 2.

Doupe: What about music in Broken Sword 3? How does it relate to the atmosphere of the game?
S.I.: Our Audio Manager and composer, Ben McCullough, has analysed the music from the previous two games and worked out what works best and applied this to the principles he`s setting out for a more interactive audio experience.  There will be all the quality and variety of the previous games, but implemented in a way that responds more fully to what the player is doing at any particular time.

 

Doupe: What part of your game are you most excited about? And what do you think players will like the most about Broken Sword 3?
S.I.: For me, personally, I`m most excited about the story and the opportunity to work with an environment that gives more opportunities for variety within the environments.

I think that players with enjoy being able to explore much more and the feeling that the game world is much bigger than in the previous games.

Doupe: Broken Sword 3 will be around 15-20 hours long. Experienced players will finish the game in three or four afternoons. In my opinion, this isn´t a very large number… What do you think about it?
S.I.: This is purely an estimate at this point, but it`s probably pretty close. No matter how large we made the game, there would probably be someone who wants more. If we put in any more gameplay than we`ve currently designed, then it would feel forced and not fit within the context of the story.

Doupe: Full production of the game began only about six months ago. Still better, do you have any idea about the release date? Everybody talks about the end of 2003… Is it possible?
S.I.: This is what we`re aiming for and have built a very detailed schedule with the full intention of meeting that date.

Doupe: Right now, do you have any idea of system requirements of Broken Sword 3?
S.I.: Ideally we would hope to be able to spread across a wide range of PCs, but until we have all aspects of the engine hooked up and code optimised we can`t really say.

 

Doupe: Broken Sword 3 will be released for PC, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2 and GBA. Do you plan to release all version at the same time?
S.I.: The exact schedule of releases will be down to the publisher we eventually sign with.

Doupe: Will it be possible to make localizations to other world languages?
S.I.: Definitely! We always plan for localisations from an early stage. Which languages we do is down to the publisher.

Doupe: Will the Sleeping Dragon be the end of Broken Sword series?
S.I.: At this stage we are concentrating on the current project. Thinking beyond that would cause us a distraction we don`t want at the moment.

Doupe: Does your development team have any plans for further games besides the upcoming Broken Sword3?
S.I.: There are other projects at the proposal stage, but I`m not at liberty to divulge what they are.

Doupe: What`s your opinion on the evolution of the adventure genre?
S.I.: The genre has to change and evolve in order to meet the needs of the market. More games are played on the consoles than on PC these days and we have to respond to that because Revolution is a business.

When I joined Revolution we created Beneath a Steel Sky with eight full-time staff members. BS3 will use the equivalent of 30 full-timers and also use some freelance workers, too. As a result, games are much more expensive to produce which in turn means that we have to ensure sales are high enough to enable us to stay in business to make more games in the future. Making games multi-platform is the best way to increase potential sales.

 

This, of course, means that our approach to creating games is coloured by this and why, for us, the point-and-click interface is something we need to move forward from. This has meant that we have developed a whole new philosophy towards design and implementation. We hope that in the future we will be able to design and create games in a much more efficient manner and make them much more exciting and interesting for the players of our games.

Doupe: Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like to tell to our readers?
S.I.: There have been a lot of concerns, particularly about the change of visual style and the change of interface.  We have not gone into these changes lightly and have agonised over them in order to make sure that not only is it the right thing to do, but also that the way we do it is in the best interests of the player. At the end of the day, we would be foolish if we didn`t think that what we are doing will mean that players will get a better experience from those changes. We have every confidence that Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon will be every bit a landmark as the first Broken Sword game was.

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