If 80 Days [official site] had been released on PC last year, when it came to iOS devices and later to Android, it would have been in my top three games of the year on this platform. It’s a beautifully delivered piece of interactive fiction, with deliciously evocative visuals, that puts almost every other collection of words I pored over in 2014 to shame. Inkle deserve a place alongside Failbetter in the rankings of the great literary game studios, and now they’re bringing 80 Days to PC and Mac, with 30 new cities and over 150,000 new words. It’s out September 29th.
As well as the new locations and two new globe-spanning plotlines, the port will have some graphical touch-ups.
The desktop versions are being built in Unity, with the bulk of the work done by Cape Guy, a new indie studio founded by ex-Rocksteady developer Ben Nicholson. Ben approached us to take the game on, and quickly impressed us with his credentials as a developer (if you want to know what he did on the Batman games, for instance, take a look at the company name and guess…)
We’ve been building in Unity 5, and leaning heavily on the new UI canvas system, with some of our features – such as the gently animated text reveal – really putting it through its paces.
We’ve also been making use of the graphical capabilities to produce some fancy new colour and shading effects, including a day/night cycle that moves across the surface of the globe.
The new version is prettier than ever!
It’s a wonderful take on Jules Verne’s story, placing the player in the shoes of valet Passepartout as he accompanies his master on a globetrotting gamble of a trip. The world they encounter is one of technological and social progress, a sort of Industrial Romance, although not without hard edges and sharpness within its machinery.
The journey is nonlinear, broken up into encounters at various points along the way, as well as during trips on mechanical creatures, airships and all manner of other delightful inventions. It’s not a steampunk world, this one, it feels much more like an authentic reimagining of the past rather than a genre-piece.
inkle’s narrative games combine the spirit of old-school text adventures with mechanics borrowed from the strategy, role-playing, and adventure genres to give players an unprecedented amount of choice and freedom in shaping how the story unfolds. Because of the stories’ extreme “branchiness,” no two players have the same experience and loads of replay opportunities await.
I love it dearly and won’t have long to wait for the new version. It’s coming to Steam, GoG and Humble on September 29th, priced at $9.99. We’ll have more information soon.
And, hey, was Cape Guy founded by the chap who, according to internet legends, spent two years working on Batman’s cape at Rocksteady? It would appear so. Here’s hoping we can get the truth behind that story.