Inkle’s Wonderful 80 Days Coming To PC This Month

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.

28 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Ridiculous Human says:

    My idiot brain: “Look at the company name? Rocksteady? Was he a tester?”

    Also, 80 Days was wonderful, and I was eternally rubbish at it.

    • Samwise says:

      I managed to do it in 42 days by going over the North Pole. Problem is I don’t think I will ever beat that time so I haven’t played it since.

      • Carra says:

        Only played it once so far. I also took the most nonsensical route I could imagine, the north pole and to my surprise I ended up finishing it in half the time I needed.

        I should give it another run, great writing in this game.

    • Cape Guy says:

      @Ridiculous Human. Hmm, perhaps that bit was a little too cryptic :-/. I developed Batman’s cape used in the Batman:Arkham series while I worked at Rocksteady – and a lot of other stuff, see . Hence the company name ‘Cape Guy’ :-)

  2. internisus says:

    Oh, my! Yes, please!

  3. lowprices says:

    While I won’t be getting this for PC (the phone feels like the perfect platform for it, to me. There’s something very pleasing about playing a game about travel while you’re on the move), I’m very glad that people who don’t play mobile games get a chance to experience this. One of my favourite games of last year.

    • lowprices says:

      *Re-reads article more carefully*
      Wait, NEW words? Maybe I will be buying this a third time.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        What was the second?

      • disconnect says:

        Not saying you shouldn’t buy this on desktop, but Inkle have confirmed that the new story stuff is coming to mobile as a free update on 1st October.

    • jgf1123 says:

      I don’t know about mobile being the best platform. I have it on my Android phone and find inventory management interface a bit of a pain, especially if you’re racing against the clock to catch a connection.

  4. AngoraFish says:

    Watched the trailer, still have no idea how the game plays. Basically, as far as the trailer is concerned, they seem to be selling an Around the World in 80 Days aesthetic… and that’s it.

    • iviv says:

      I was the same, the trialer is kind of terrible in that respect. However, I was able to grab the game as part of a humble bundle, and it is fantastic.
      As for the gameplay, it’s essentially a choose your own adventure. You move from city to city along a set of predefined routes. You can spend time in each city exploring and discovering new routes to different cities, you can buy and sell goods at different towns (Talking to peaople will give you hints about items which are in particularly high demand in what cities), and of course there’s the fact that different routes have different modes of transport, cost and duration.
      And naturally there’s lots of events that can happen on different routes, each game has a seet which determines which ones show up so every game is different, and naturally there’s a ton of ways to get around the world. There’s even a surprising amount of replayability in it thanks to the fact that there are a ton of substories that go on as well, apparently there are a couple of characters you can even marry, though I’ve not managed to do that yet.

    • ribby says:

      It’s a choose your own adventure with wonderful writing. But it’s also quite tough to race around the world in 80 days, so it’s challenging and maybe a little tense and frustrating too

  5. Rikard Peterson says:

    Many people whose opinions I respect love this game, so I’ll consider giving it a try if I remember it by the time it gets released. Will you be posing a WIT?

  6. Gnoupi says:

    I played through 80 days twice on my phone, finished in time, loved the game, had the feeling that it was just a run against the clock, your decision influence only the time you take. I was wrong, and realized that in poor circumstances

    My wife was in the hospital for complications in her pregnancy, scared about what will come next (it all went well in the end, but those were stressing 4 weeks), and I stayed with her during this time. To change the mood from stress about things going wrong, I installed 80 days on her iPad, and we played through it, it was fun, and making us think about something else.

    This was after the release of the North Pole expansion. I hadn’t heard about it. When given the opportunity to go in that direction, she picked it, it seemed interesting. We were not prepared, we just pushed on, since I was convinced that at worst, your bad decisions cost you time.

    Oh how wrong I was, and needless to say, it didn’t help the mood. I won’t go into spoilers here, but people who played through it know how this goes.

  7. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    Adam, next time can you please tell us *what the game actually is* for those of us that didn’t catch it on Android.

    The trailer is appalling, and the website is not helpful either. Is it multiplayer only, or genuinely also single player?

    It’s not ‘interactive fiction’ as I understand the term. IF=text adventures as they used to be called. It sounds a bit more like Long Live The Queen – which is choose your own adventure with RPG skill training constraints.

    I might take a look at this from the comments above, but if they hadn’t been posted I’d place it as the sort of shite Indiegala promote all the time – a fancy trailer with no gameplay shown, because it’s non existent.

    • lowprices says:

      It’s basically a choose your own adventure with a bit of resource management. You choose where to travel on your journey, balancing the speed of travel with your funds and Phileas Fogg’s mood. Each journey and city has story branches that can be followed which might influence where you go next or how long you stay in a particular city.

      You can play for the challenge of getting round the world in the time limit, but the main attraction is visiting new places to experience the genuinely great writing and world-building that has gone into the game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      Yes, sorry. I saw the announcement and excitedly wanted to say my piece before leaving my computer for the day. But will follow up with more soon.

    • malkav11 says:

      Text adventures stopped being called text adventures precisely because interactive fiction was a more accurate term to describe a medium that was increasingly turning towards works like 80 Days.

      • April March says:

        Of course, this runs into the “multiplayer online battle arena” problem that, if you take the description literally, almost every game is “interactive fiction”. That’s not how words work, fortunately…

  8. MistaJah says:

    Touch support for Windows tablets is a given, right?

  9. qrter says:

    Inkle are great. Their adaptations of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! gamebooks are the best adaptations of choose-your-own-adventure/Fighting Fantasy books I’ve seen.

    They managed to crack open the third gamebook and make it into an open world game.

    They still have to do the fourth and last book, and I’m guessing they’ll wait for the full set to release them for PC.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      If you hadn’t said this, I would have. Inkle’s take on Sorcery! is great, especially, as you said, The Seven Serpents.

  10. Sin Vega says:

    Oh god oh god oh god

    BUY THIS. BUY THIS GAME IMMEDIATELY. It’s the only mobile game I’ve ever bought, and it’s so wonderful. Some very minor gripes cannot possibly outweigh how lovely it is. Every time I play I have a memorable story, and nothing else in almost 30 years of playing games has felt as much like going on an adventure.

    Buy it! Play it!

  11. racccoon says:

    When I took off the first my balloon went so high I got lost in space.
    nah.. I never played it all.

  12. RQH says:

    This game will always have a special place in my heart. I played through it 3 or 4 times while my wife was in labor.

    That sounds bad–but her labor took 40 hours of not-making-very-much progress, and after the first 24 she finally requested an epidural. At which point, she was able to get a little rest, and I was basically left to my own devices in a hospital room waiting for my child to be born, hoping that everything would be okay while each passing hour raised the risk of complications.

    Everything was okay. But until then, there was 80 Days.

  13. Joshua Northey says:

    A game both my wife and I loved, I probably played 15 campaigns, and I daresay she did 30? Well worth the money as each game take at minimum an hour I would guess.