Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse Launches Kickstarter

By John Walker on August 23rd, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

George looks serious!

You know what hasn’t been Kickstartered? Broken Sword! A classic and well-loved adventure series – how can it not… oh look! Uncle Charles Cecil and many of the original Revolution team have reunited to create a fifth Broken Sword game – in fact they’ve been working on it for six months – and now they’re seeking crowd funding to avoid the need for a publisher. A defiantly 2D adventure, The Serpent’s Curse is aiming to be completed by April next year, with copies of the final game secured with a $15 pledge.

The fifth game begins when a painting is stolen from a Parisian gallery, and a man is murdered right in front of regular heroes George and Nico, but what ancient mysteries will provide the themes this time are as yet unknown. But we’re teased with the information that their story “reveals a conspiracy as old as the written word”.

Take a look at the project video:

That’s pretty sweet – George and Charles getting to meet! And it’s good to hear Rolf Saxon is back voicing George once again. Cecil tells us they’ve already invested a good deal of their own money into the project, but need more cash to progress. Their Kickstarter page states that despite their success with the series, previous publishing deals have always meant they’ve not seen enough of the royalties to self-fund a future game. $400,000 is clearly a big goal, but we’ve seen other well-loved adventure series achieve this and higher. It’s time to find out how much love there still is for Broken Sword, I guess – it should be interesting.

Declaration of interest: A few years back I worked on Broken Sword: The Director’s Cut, but have nothing to do with this project other than a desire to play it.

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54 Comments »

  1. jondare says:

    Eh, i think you got a bit too lazy with that whole “Paste embed code and disappear into the shadows” thingy :P

  2. djbriandamage says:

    John, I noticed your name in the credits of the Nintendo DS version of Broken Sword: Director’s Cut. May I ask your role in the project? Localization or somesuch? That game’s writing was so sharp I could shave with it.

    • John Walker says:

      The writing is all down to Cecil and his team. I wrote the diaries and the hint system, as well as general consulting on the project, and failing to get Charles to remove the sliding block puzzle.

      • djbriandamage says:

        I commend your work, sir. Would you like to shake me by the hand? And what do you think of this soiled tissue?

      • MerseyMal says:

        Wife’s lost count of the number of games that she never completed due to their being a sliding block puzzle.

  3. WMain00 says:

    Shut up and take my money.

  4. Milky1985 says:

    I really hope that is the engine they are using, as that looks awesome art style wise, methinks i might be visiting the kickstarter later!

    Video they put up was well done as well tbh, surprisingly so!

    [EDIT] Looks like i’m gonna have to find myself 100$ in my budget somehow!

  5. rustybroomhandle says:

    Completed by April? April Ryan? Is this a Longest Journey crossover?

  6. Yachmenev says:

    $400k for a completely new BS game seems reasonable and somethin all fans of the genre should want. I´m there.

  7. JohnArr says:

    Totally understand “Uncle” Charles Cecil now.

  8. Moni says:

    Is there an ‘animated staring eyes’ tag?

    I think this is the first Kickstarter for something I actually want to see, and where I’m fairly certain the people behind it can deliver.

  9. Contrafibularity says:

    [cue Revolution's Broken Sword intro music]

    Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. Game noir, je t’attends avec impatience!

  10. x-jay says:

    Looks good, voice actors are all there and Cecil is more dedicated to his franchise than most. Here’s my cash!

  11. zachforrest says:

    That’s the easiest sell i’ve seen in a while.

    Can a goat be promised? Particularly a talking goat?

    Also bright yellow shirt and wayfarer sunglasses? George is a fashion icon.

  12. brkl says:

    I presume those are George and Nico’s stunt doubles? They are pretty good, you probably couldn’t tell it isn’t really them in a high speed car chase.

    EDIT: Started watching the video, and… Oh god, they are using that horrible 3D animation that stopped me from playing the BS1 remake for more than 15 minutes. It’s totally lacking in charm compared to the excellent original hand drawn animation. Charm and atmosphere were hugely important for BS, so for me this doesn’t work at all.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Exactly…. It reminds me of Al Emmo – great hand-drawn backgrounds and awful pre-rendered 3D characters… While I can understand it with Al Emmo, it is worse with Revolution – they are of course more detailed, but it still feels too artificial, they do not fit in the hand-drawn backgrounds and hey…the 90s called, they want their animation back :/ They could add a milestone – 900 000 USD and we will replace the 3d characters with hand-drawn 2D counterparts… I think they might get the money in no time with such a carrot :)

      • brkl says:

        2D animation is expensive, I know that, so it’s probably not feasible. But I know I wouldn’t enjoy the game like this. If I see evidence that the game would ship with the animation and rendering somehow significantly better, I would back this. In spite of my reservations about Cecil’s work in the past 10 years or so.

    • Moni says:

      Keep watching, they do bang on a lot that the finished product will be traditional 2D painted style, and at 4:58 there’s a tiny glimpse of it.

      • brkl says:

        No, what you see there is concept art. They clearly state the characters are pre-rendered 3D models.

        • Contrafibularity says:

          In the description they clearly state those 3D renders will be turned into 2D animations though. I can only hope this means they will also be “rotoscoped” (hand-painted on top of the frames, a bit like “A Scanner Darkly” except in the Broken Sword style obviously).

          • RandomGameR says:

            What they mean is that it’s pre-rendered. They described their decision to do it this way on their facebook page in response to some people mentioning this:

            Broken Sword – Official When we started thinking about the project, we wanted to get as close as possible to the original feel in HD. But HD on, for example, the iPad3 is over three times the original resolution both horizontally and vertically – 10 times as many pixels. We did experiment with an artist creating the character animations but it would simply have taken too long to create them. Personally I am pleased with the 2.5D look – we do model and animate in 3D but then pre-render to get as close to 2D as we can.

            http://www.facebook.com/brokenswordofficial

          • Valvarexart says:

            This is fairly disappointing to be honest. They sacrifice good looks for the sake of high resolution. Not happy with this at all.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The problem I have is not so much the animation (although it still looks a bit stilted / puppet like), but the fact that the facial expressions make them look like ventriloquist dolls or robots. Just opening their mouths, but not really emoting any feeling.
      You get that with wrinkles, pupils, eyebrows, etc. And that just isn’t there.
      Oddly enough, back in the day when we didn’t have enough detail of faces in the first place, we didn’t notice it as badly, and we could kinda cheat by just slapping huge eyebrows on some things (DOTT wahey) or using classic comic style animation to express stuff.

      Here I don’t feel it or see it. I “get” the intention, but I find no delivery.

  13. AmateurScience says:

    Now THAT was a good pitch video.

    Edit: AND the rewards seem very generous. I hope this is successful.

  14. D3xter says:

    This reminds me of this short Interview with Charles Cecil I saw a while ago about Broken Sword, 2D and 3D Adventures, the possible death of the genre, SIERRA, LucasArts and the past and future for Broken Sword xD

  15. webwielder says:

    Ugh, Nico sounds horrible. Why do they have such difficulty hanging on to Nico actresses? They even changed her voice in the middle of Director’s Cut! First Nico was best, BTW.

  16. int says:

    More beer over here!

  17. Kleppy says:

    The first Broken Sword game was absolutely fantastic, the rest… not so much. I forced myself to replay the series earlier this year, but by the time I got to the fourth chapter I ran out of good will for the whole thing.

  18. The First Door says:

    I honestly promised myself that I wouldn’t spend any money on Kickstarter this month. But Broken Sword 1 and 2 were so brilliant and well written I even struggled past that bloody goat puzzle to finish them.

    Just about the only thing which would top this for me would be a new version of Beneath a Steel Sky!

  19. Zarunil says:

    HELL YES! Sold!

    I recently completed the first two remastered games on iOS (ducks for cover).

    • The First Door says:

      Using ducks for cover is just cruel! Plus, you must need quite a large amount of very understanding ducks.

  20. Dizzard says:

    I’m a big fan of the Broken Sword series and would probably back this in an instant.

    but there’s something about those 3d models that creep me out. Not sure if I can get past that. Maybe I’ll warm to it…

  21. stiffkittin says:

    Awesome. They were games with real character. Although, cute as it is, Nico’s French accent could do with a bit of work. Maybe as a stretch goal?

  22. Fen dweller says:

    This lame franchise is the platform for a contest of the lamest iteration.

  23. Carra says:

    Instant buy!

    The first two broken sword games are still some of my favorite games ever.

  24. Demiath says:

    No thanks! Broken Sword is pretty much the Eurodisco of old adventure games; i.e. tasteless and derivative even by contemporary genre standards. In particular the stereotypical female characters (major as well as minor ones) just put me off entirely.

  25. kwyjibo says:

    You need to pay $5000 in order to attend the launch party.

  26. Kinth says:

    Ugly 3D animation on top of 2D backgrounds, nahh I’ll pass sorry. Those characters don’t look like they belong in the scenes

    Loved the first two games, but I’ve given up on the franchise after the last two. Only a proper 2D animated Broken Sword could interest me again.

    If they want me to fund then they either give it their all or they don’t bother.

    Double Fine offered to make a 2D animated Point and Click for $300,000 ($100,000 was for the documentary) So I can’t see why Revolution cant do the same.

  27. Valvarexart says:

    Will I miss out on the story by not playing the third and fourth game? Because I couldn’t stand more than an hour of the third game….

  28. Charles de Goal says:

    Hello, I’m French and I want to mention it’s very difficult for me to understand what that woman is saying. Can’t they drop the silly made-up French accent?
    Oh, by the way, I don’t want to play a bland blonde guy either. This game looks like it totally lacks any sense of fun or humour.

    • Yachmenev says:

      If you don´t like it, don´t pledge. That´s how the system is supposed to work. But let us who are interested in the project throw our money at it. :)

    • Contrafibularity says:

      While I have to disagree about BS lacking humour (what little there is in this pitch are mostly in-jokes for people who played the games), I really don’t like George’s new looks. He went from basically a goofball-who-can-be-serious to this really intimidating and nefarious looking character. I don’t care that he and Nico went through several “save the world”-type deals, there’s absolutely no justification to make him look like a total douche.

      And yeah Nico’s voice needs (some) work, but you’d be surprised what voice actors can do, given that Nico’s been voiced by a different person for each game I think they can make that work.

  29. theloz says:

    Prerendered characters on 2D backgrounds just looks AWFUL. Ironically if they hadn’t posted that video, I might have been willing to pledge. Not impressed, sorry Charles.

  30. Lukasz says:

    So Nico and George meet again by a chance?

    awww. they are not a couple :( No idea what happened in BS4 as i did not play it yet but they were my fav. gaming couple.
    going to support it

  31. sophof says:

    The art style in that video is putting me off sadly. I think I’ll wait for the release.