Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse starts with intrepid lawyer, George Stobbart, and sassy journalist, Nico Collard, caught in the deadly robbery of a seemingly worthless painting. But we, the audience, also see a scene from the Second World War in which Spanish fascists storm a Catalan villa, killing the family, and seizing that same painting. As George and Nico are drawn into the murderous conspiracy, those around them claim that the painting is cursed by the Devil himself. George and Nico soon come to believe that they may just be right.
Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse is very much an adventure — traditional in terms of its core spirit, but wholly contemporary in terms of graphics and gameplay. The game was first announced as part of a Kickstarter appeal in August 2012 and, after attracting over 15,000 backers, doubled its goal. We were thrilled at the response of fans — particularly after hearing so often that the adventure game had died as a genre.
As well as funding a major part of the development, the appeal brought together a wonderful community of Broken Sword fans — epitomised by the Order of the Goat, a fan-created group that is named after a particularly fiendish puzzle that I designed for the first Broken Sword game.
The idea for Broken Sword was actually conceived back in 1993. Noirin Carmody, our Commercial Director, and I were having dinner with Sean Brennan, then deputy Managing Director of Virgin Interactive Entertainment.
We were close to finishing Beneath a Steel Sky and were talking about what should come next. He recommended that I read Umberto Eco’s Fucault’s Pendulum, which uses Knights Templar mythology as its backstory. I started researching and discovered that the Knights Templar could offer a wonderfully rich puzzle environment.
Back then, very few people had even heard of the Order: this was many years before Dan Brown had written Da Vinci Code (some of our fans like to point out some remarkable similarities between our story and his). And so, over a fine bottle of claret, the seeds of what would become Broken Sword were sewn.
The first Broken Sword, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, was released in 1996. The original PlayStation had launched the year before and we approached Sony and pitched the game — they agreed to publish, and it went on to be a huge success on their platform. The second Broken Sword was then published on PlayStation (and was voted the 5th best PlayStation game ever by the readers of Official PlayStation Magazine), and the third Broken Sword on PlayStation 2 (and was nominated for three BAFTA awards).
So now we’re thrilled to continue our relationship with Sony and are delighted to be able to announce that we will be publishing Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse (the fifth game in the series) on PlayStation Vita. The PS Vita is an ideal device for an adventure game — the combination of the front and rear touch screen, as well as the analog stick and shoulder buttons, gives us so much scope to create a really great user interface.
The adventure continues. :-)