Chat with Charles - We talk the future of Broken Sword with its mastermind

Sharpening the sword

Chat with Charles - We talk the future of Broken Sword with its mastermind

In the first two of this three-part feature series, we discussed the place of adventure as a genre in 2016 and, particularly, how it's changed thanks to developers like Telltale, Dontnod, and Quantic Dream.

We then looked forward, and talked about how adventure might work in VR and AR - two highly exciting new technologies.

The best should always be saved till last though - and that's exactly what we've done here. So read on to learn all about the future of Broken Sword as a series from the esteemed creator himself.

This question was inevitably going to come up: What's next for Broken Sword?

"To answer your question simply: of course we'll be doing another Broken Sword, but we're not actively working on it at the moment. The way that we always approach adventure games - and Broken Sword - is to come up with a story, and then to build a gameplay framework around that.

"I love the history of the Templars, the Cathars, and what was going on in medieval Europe in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. And I'm very keen to go back and explore more history of that period, but obviously with a contemporary ring.

"I've actually answered your question by not revealing anything whatsoever. Except to say that it's something very exciting and not too far off. But it's not something we're actively working on at the moment."

In the various exotic locations you visit in Broken Sword, there's this very real sense of place that's missing in similar games. I was just wondering what process you had for building that?

"I remember very well when we were doing the first Broken Sword, we were working very closely with Virgin Interactive - our publisher at the time - who was based in Paris. We flew over regularly to meet the team.

"Whilst there I visited this sewer museum, which found its way into the first Broken Sword, and the catacombs in Montparnasse. I got very excited by the locations, history, and finding connections.

"I tend to spend a day or two really getting to know a place so that the locations, puzzles, and narrative feel as believable and as authentic as possible. That's something that we take very, very seriously.

"For example, in the second part of Broken Sword 5 there are four locations that you need to find and draw lines between. And that pinpoints where you go next - even on a real map. I love being as authentic as possible."

Final question: The first two Broken Swords and 5 are readily available on most platforms, but 3 and 4 are quite difficult to track down. Are there any plans to revive them?

"Yes - particularly 3, which went down well at the time - despite some fans not liking the move to 3D - but we have all the assets, and there is certainly potential to redo it.

"The difficulty is that Broken Sword 3 and 4 were written in real-time 3D, so the UI doesn't transfer as well. It's also technically a much more complex job - but we absolutely want to do it.

"To me, it's really important that we look forward as well. Just after we wrote Broken Sword 4, we were in a financially weak position due to the publishing model. So we did go through a period where we looked at our back catalogue.

"Initially,that was Beneath a Steel Sky on the iPhone and the iPod Touch, then Broken Sword 1 and 2.

"To survive as a company, we had to look backwards. But that brought us into a financial position to fund Broken Sword 5. Due to its success, we're now in a much better position and have a wonderful relationship with 15,000 Kickstarter backers and everyone else who bought the game.

"It's terrific. We have a very good relationship with our community. Certainly, the people that take the time to contact us seem very pleased with the relationship that we have with them.

"That puts us in a strong position to move forward."

Chris James
Chris James
A footy game fanatic and experienced editor of numerous computing and game titles, lively Chris is up for anything - including running Steel Media! (Madman!)