Bill Tiller-linked iPad adventure Perils of Man will be free with no IAPs
Paid for by insurance company Swiss Re
Perils of Man is a forthcoming point-and-click adventure game being worked on by, among others, Bill Tiller, a former LucasArts artist who had a hand in The Curse of Monkey Island, The Dig, and more recently Snuggle Truck.
You play as a 16-year-old girl called Ana Eberling, who comes across a pair of goggles called the "risk atlas", invented by her great-great-grandfather and somehow related to the disappearance of her father. These goggles allow Ana to discern the risk attached to objects in the world.
The example developer Nathan Ornick gave me at Gamescom was of a tablecloth whose perilous flammability would only be visible through the goggles, which switch the perspective to first person whenever you use them.
There's also a time-travelling conceit in the game, whereby Ana travels to the sites of major historical catastrophes to learn about the events that led to up to them. This all takes place in doll's house environments, where the camera dollies around within a single large 3D location rather than switching from screen to screen.
It looks interesting, with the rather significant caveat that I wasn't able to see any of the puzzles or hear any of the dialogue. That's because Ornick's iPad wasn't working. But I did learn that the game will be free. Not freemium - free.
Perils of Man is basically an advergame, funded by insurance company Swiss Re to commemorate its 150-year anniversary. Once I learnt this detail - quite late into the meeting, and only after asking - I spent some minutes trying to understand what it was that was being sold through the strangely elaborate vehicle of an episodic point-and-click adventure game.
According to Ornick, there's no branding whatsoever in Perils of Man beyond the Swiss Re logo in the credits. Instead, the company is advertised rather circuitously through the exploration of risk as it appears to risk engineers, underwriters, and charming teenagers.
It's essentially a PR exercise to illustrate that insurance premiums are scientifically derived measurements of probability and not, as you may previously have supposed, cynically derived measurements of how much money it's possible to wring out of consumers. I doubt the game developers will be entirely successful in persuading sceptics of this.
In any case, the first episode of Perils of Man will be free when it arrives this October.