They’ve Got It! Wadjet Eye Announces Blackwell Epiphany

By John Walker on February 21st, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

Adventure supremo Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games has announced a new entry into the lovely Blackwell series. The fifth game of the ghost-n-detective adventures is called Epiphany, and once again has Gilbert writing, with Ben Chandler on background painting and sprites. Which is exactly as you’d want it.

In a typically understated fashion, the fifth game has been announced in a forum post on the AGS site. Gilbert explains that this time out the investigative pair are chasing down a a force that is tearing people’s very souls apart, aiming to release this Autumn.

If you’re not familiar with the Blackwell games, what better time than now to get yourself acquainted? It begins with The Blackwell Legacy, where medium Rosangela Blackwell first meets laconic ghost Joey Mallone, investigating a series of spook-related suicides at a local university. Then comes Blackwell Unbound, this time set in 1973, featuring Rosa’s aunt, Lauren Blackwell, hunting down a serial killer. Third is The Blackwell Convergence, back with Rosa, and fourth is The Blackwell Deception seeing the regular pair investigating the peculiar deaths of fake street psychics.

The pricing is a little wayward, however. If you get each game separately they’re £7 each on Wadjet’s own site. Get them on Steam and they’re only £4 each, apart from Deception which is £7. Or you can get the first three in a bundle from Wadjet for £11, and then the fourth from either. Man! Either way, you’re getting four really decent adventures (perhaps a little let down by the voice acting, and more especially, poor recording in places) for under £20. Which seems like a good thing to me.

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25 Comments »

  1. Rauten says:

    Into my veins, please.

  2. basilisk says:

    Also, GOG’s got all four in a single bundle for $15.

  3. brulleks says:

    Fantastic stuff. Blackwell games need to be released on an annual basis. Or monthly / weekly / daily / hourly. Really, as often as possible without negatively affecting the length/quality.

    No Gilbert and Chandler you are not allowed to sleep, and any nutrients must be liquidised and consumed through a straw while you work.

  4. phlebas says:

    Ooh, good news! After last year’s excellent output from Wadjet Eye I was a bit worried when the newsletter said they were focussing on ports this year.

  5. sdancer says:

    As they say, shut up and take my money!

    I just hope they do better audio recording this time, it’s one of the low points with voice frequently clipping and the mix not being so nice every now and then. It’s really a blemish. Someone give them studio time and an orchestra already!

  6. gritz says:

    These games are kind of on the short and easy side*, but it’s great to see an indie episodic point and click adventure series thriving.

    * Gilbert is very conscious to avoid using “adventure game logic”, which is great, but that often means his puzzles are a little obvious.

  7. guygodbois00 says:

    Yes! I have moneys waiting for this for far too long.

  8. RobinOttens says:

    How did I miss this entire series while buying every other recent Wadjet Eye adventure game out there?! I was always under the impression the Blackwell games were some boring hidden object games or something. Alright, this just went on my steam wishlist.

    • Auspex says:

      Got them confused with ‘Emerald City Confidential’? (I have not played ECC in the event that they are not boring hidden object games either)

      • phlebas says:

        Indeed not, though ECC has a more ‘casual’ feel than most of Wadjet Eye’s stuff. It’s a bit more linear and tourist-focussed, though it does have some proper puzzles.
        It might, though, be possible to get mixed up with Murder at Blackwell Grange, which is not a Wadjet Eye adventure game but Cluedo.

      • zapatapon says:

        Emerald City Confidential is great, definitely a traditional adventure game and nothing at all like an hidden object game. It shares with the Blackwell series (and with “The Shivah”) the exceptional sense of Dave Gilbert for *pacing* in an adventure game, especially in the concise but thoughtful writing.

        The only problem with those games is that they tend to kill other adventures games for you, Getting back to pointless long-winded conversation trees, cliché “break the fourth wall” jokes and hamfisted humor is really depressing after getting a glimpse of what good adventure game writing can achieve.

    • Teovald says:

      Well, these games are easily missable. The writing is a bit poor (random psychic story that could have been scribbled on a napkin for a made for tv movie) and the enigmas are not very strong either.. There is a certain charm to them though. Especially since there are not so many adventure games shipping these days.

      • Acorino says:

        Wut? I wouldn’t call the writing poor, quite to the contrary. That the premise and some of the storylines aren’t incredibly original I find agreeable though. And like with a favorite TV series the Blackwell games are always compelling to play, but only few memorable scenes stand out. Blackwell Unbound is probably the most memorable of the bunch, though the poorest in terms of graphics. Its ending was quite emotional.

        I hope D.G. sets his sights a bit higher this time around. With Blackwell Deception he pretty much perfected his formula, with puzzles of just the right difficulty and which are almost seamlessly interwoven with the plot, and a story that hits the right beats and is enveloped by a neatly constructed dramatic arc. But since he has already achieved that I hope he won’t fall into a routine and basically design little variations on the same game again and again. That would be a shame. The Blackwell games aren’t a TV series after all, the format is allowed to change a bit from time to time I feel.

      • tnzk says:

        The writing is poor? What the flying fu-

        I mean, not too long back some new studio announced a ‘weird fiction’ game and people went bat shit crazy over the idea. And that’s just it, really. I suppose if Mr. Gilbert marketed his stories as ‘weird fiction’ like those – and I’m choosing this next word carefully – pretentious devs trying to stir up some hype, people would laud his genius and left-field creativity. But no, dude is the most genuine indie adventure dev out there, writing his story and designing his game without beating you over the head about how different he is.

        In any case, if you didn’t like his unannounced concept of ‘weird fiction’, there was always the fact that Rosangela and Lauren Blackwell are some of the most incredible female protagonists in all of gaming. In fact, I don’t think there’s another video game around which doesn’t treat its main girl so naturally and without sexual objectification.

        Bring on the Blackwell Epiphany.

        • Teovald says:

          What did not work for me centers around Joey. the whole “I am a ghost from the *** era and still clings to its dated slang and view of the world” has been done to death and I can’t prevent myself from yawning each time this character talks.
          I agree that Rosangela is refreshing though. It is rare to have female characters that are not overly sexualized. I don’t think it is necessary to belittle all the games on that topic, even if many games are indeed pretty poor in that regard.
          The overarching story of the games did not really clic for me as well, the whole thing felt pretty tired and previsible. I may be a bit harsh on Blackwell since each time I play an adventure game I compare it to my favorite titles of the golden 90′s era.

  9. TomxJ says:

    This looks grimier than thier previous outings. Can’t wait!

  10. mouton says:

    Excellent, the other games were quite good.

  11. epmode says:

    I *love* this series. It’s easily Wadjet Eye’s best work, and I probably would not have even bothered if it wasn’t for RPS’ coverage of Blackwell Deception.

  12. qrter says:

    My guess would be that if you buy the bundle or the seperate games from mr. Gilbert’s own website, he’ll give you Steam codes for all the purchased games, as a bonus. He’s always been very nice about that.

    • TomxJ says:

      I can attest this is true. I got keys for Primordia and Resonance from David himself. He’s a really nice guy.

      • Damn Skippy says:

        Gotta chime in here, they do have wonderful customer service. I ordered the physical version of the Blackwell games when Deception came out, and was sad to see the DVD case didn’t have the DVD in it when it arrived. So I sent an email, and within hours Mr. Gilbert had personally responded with download codes for the lot and let me know they were shipping out another copy no questions asked. Based on that, I’ll always at least look at what they release, and it doesn’t hurt they make and publish fun adventures, either.

  13. shengjing says:

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  14. adonf says:

    I like that they’re selling the first three games in a bundle so everyone who got the last one in the indie royale bundle doesn’t have to buy it twice or pay full price. These are good people.

    Also, note that the Steam prices include VAT while the prices on their web site don’t (VAT is added by their payment processor)

  15. scatterlogical says:

    Wooooo, I absolutely loved the Blackwell games.
    Wadjet Eye are awesome.

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