It was a happy day for all adventure fans when Revolution’s point-and-click classic Broken Sword: Director’s Cut hit the App Store, following the success of Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered just a few months earlier.
Of course, this iPhone Director’s Cut had already popped up on the Nintendo DS, but according to Revolution Managing Director Charles Cecil, bringing Broken Sword to the App Store offered distinct advantages.
‘The major benefit is that we have been able to include full speech,’ Cecil told us. ‘But, on top of that, we have had the luxury of the time to hone the game further, fixing any minor glitches, and building on the interface that we developed for Beneath a Steel Sky. The beauty of iPhone publishing is that games don’t get announced until a few weeks before release, so we really do have the opportunity to hold a game until we are happy that it really is finished before announcing it.’
It was the warm reception that greeted Beneath a Steel Sky’s release that encouraged Revolution to drive forward with Broken Sword, claims Cecil, and its ‘cult following’ gave it a good, early push.
‘A number of adventures had previously been ported to iPhone, with mixed reviews, so I was a little concerned,’ Cecil said. ‘We took the approach that we would design the control system from the ground up and, if necessary, change any other elements to fit. Thankfully Beneath a Steel Sky was very well received, and provided a great platform on which to build further for Broken Sword.’
And Revolution doesn’t intend to stop there, either. ‘The opportunity to self-publish Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword has been fantastic,’ Cecil added. ‘It has proved that this new development, publishing approach is viable.
‘We are already working on original products, one of which is a new adventure and one a narrative-driven game in a different genre. Both will take the touch control further in terms of offering an extraordinary new interface.’
With two new titles already being lined up, Revolution could well serve as an example to the bigger, traditional publishers that dominated the market when Broken Sword originally made its PC debut in 1996. Cecil says larger outfits could find the advent of the digital download era harder to manage than smaller, more concise outfits.
‘I can’t see how the large publishers, particularly those that don’t have very strong in-house development, can operate in these new markets,’ he said. ‘The music labels have been decimated by the consequences brought about by digital distribution. The big, traditional games publishers run the same risk if they turn a blind eye to the inevitable changes. But for a small developer like Revolution, the opportunities have never been greater.’
Opportunities that may well result in Revolution taking to the recently announced iPad, although the studio doesn’t have anything concrete to announce on that score just yet.
‘We don’t have [iPad] hardware yet, but the software emulations of both adventures at higher resolution on iPad looks amazing,’ he concluded. ‘We are very enthusiastic supporters of iPad and, while we may well publish custom versions of our current games, our main development thrust is going into creating new titles for the format.’
With new material planned, fans will no doubt be hoping that Revolution let George and Nico take to the streets of Paris for just one more new adventure on iPhone, if not many more.