So, hey, remember how sometimes I periodically mention Broken Age, the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter that funded March of 2012? And how I listed it on my Top 5 Games I’m Really Looking Forward To In The New Year? I mentioned how I wasn’t even sure Broken Age was going to be dropping in 2014. Being almost 2 years since it funded, you can see how I would be worried.
Well, the good people at Double Fine yesterday released an update and posted a date for the beta of Broken Age: Act 1 to start: Today. TODAY?! Well, this is certainly a surprise. I, like a great number of others, will be jumping in head first as soon as I get home. This is great timing as I’ve been on an adventure style gaming kick lately, from the old-school Gabriel Knight to the new indie UnEpic. Putting down one of them isn’t going to be the easiest of feats, but this certainly qualifies as “the new shiny”.
But, see, I hate betas. Most times when I’ve played in a beta, I find I come to dislike whatever game it’s for. For example, I played in the Rift beta and haven’t played Rift since because of it’s beta flaws. I remember the graphics having been terrible, the combat lackluster, and the rifts annoyingly got in the way of the questing! Blargh! But this doesn’t feel like a beta that we’ve come to understand. There are no server load tests. There aren’t any character wipes. They aren’t giving us fake cash to use in the game’s store. They aren’t making it feel like we’re working for them but not getting paid for it. This, instead, feels like the product is complete, and the primary tests will just be for system compatibility. The ins and outs of playing the game itself should be good to go. This feels like a real complete game (or at least Act 1) and so doesn’t feel like I’m just donating my time to them.
Of course, I can’t tell you anything about the game yet. They are releasing a press release today (Though the trailer was posted to YouTube yesterday, having since been rescinded. We all know when you want to keep something secret, posting it to YouTube is the best thing to do. In case it’s still down, here’s an older trailer.), to announce the public ship date of the game.
A “formal review” embargo, though, is also being placed until January 27th, so I won’t be able to tell you any thoughts until then. I don’t consider this post anything even close to a review, so I’m assuming this is hunky-dory. [Update] Strike that. They’ve changed their minds and according to the last update, they’ve lifted the embargo entirely. According to the update:
‘The decision to set this originally was not made with any sort of malicious or controlling intent, but rather to keep spoilers to a minimum and give press time to enjoy the game, reflect on it, and write a review without feeling rushed to get it out first.”
I didn’t see it as overly controlling personally, but I’m guessing others did. I agree with keeping spoilers to a minimum, though. I guess the only thing that’s stopping me now is just playing it!
So, anyway, YAY! A new adventure game to prove the world still likes adventure games! Or… at least us older gamers who like to read and explore do, anyway.
I do wonder, though, what the point of truly fiendish puzzles are in this age of Google? Will people appreciate the challenge, when the answers are literally a couple of keystrokes away? Will they make the puzzles so easy that people don’t feel compelled to cheat? If they make it too easy, then what will be the draw to play? Is this why the adventure game is considered “dead” in the first place? I hope not. Not all of us cheat first and play later. This is going to be either the first step in a resurgence, or the last breath of a dead genre.
I may be a little on the old school side, but I hope the adventure game never dies.
P.S. – Update: It looks like Broken Age, Act 1 will be releasing on January 28th fully
(not a long time to post reviews), is currently available for pre-order on Steam, and the trailer has been put back up. Can’t wait to start kicking some ass with Vella!