The origin of names is pretty awesome and something that appeals to many fantasy and sci-fi fans. Tolkien himself was one if the original scholars in this field, being heavily influenced by Nordic mythology and went so far as to create new languages for Middle Earth that actually worked – it’s actually crazy how much they work! Unlike many months though, July’s history isn’t based on a mythological character or event and actually on a mere mortal. Well actually not so ‘mere’ in that it was Julius Caesar who lends his name to the month. Originally called Quintilis (translated as ‘fifth month’ in Latin, as July was originally the fifth Roman month), the name was changed in honour of the great man after his assassination. So if you didn’t know the origins of July before, now you do!
Thanks for the history lesson Tin Man, but what about gamebooks? Show me the gamebooks!
The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf
Herbie Brennan’s classic four-book series, Sagas of the Demonspawn, lovingly now known as The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf is around 80% complete as things stand. We are including all four gamebooks in one app, which has been quite an undertaking – more than we expected in fact. You will be able to read Fire*Wolf, The Crypts of Terror, Demondoom and Ancient Evil back-to-back in the one app and take the huggable barbarian on his quest from start to finish. With brand new illustrations, a new combat system and a gorgeous user-interface, this will be one of our best digital gamebook releases yet. Oh, and we just received the amazing soundtrack yesterday from Ryan Grogan that oozes the style of 1980s sword and sorcery movie soundtracks. We wanted to release this in July, but August is now looking more realistic on iOS and Android.
Appointment with F.E.A.R. (Fighting Fantasy – Steve Jackson)
If you feel like Appointment with F.E.A.R. has been in development for ages, well you’re probably right and to be honest we feel the same! It is all for very good reasons though as AWF is our first title making it’s debut in our new gamebook engine and marks the start of a bold new direction for us in terms of interactive path-based storytelling. Gone is the booky feel and the dice have been well and truly lost down the back of the couch. The traditional Fighting Fantasy rules have been streamlined and instead of playing the fixed male superhero from the paperback, you can now design your character using a bunch of beautiful preset super-designs. We have also included a very retro map of Titan City and a new trading card mechanic! Why continue reading about it when you can watch Neil’s recent demo on AppSpy!
We’re motoring ahead with Caverns of the Snow Witch, which will be available in our normal gamebook engine like all of our previous titles. Normally we would colourise the original black and white artwork from the original paperback, but due to the style of those illustrations having heavy black lines and little white space within them, we have decide to create brand new painted artwork, like we did with Starship Traveller. It’s obviously quite time consuming for one illustrator to create all of the images for one book and as we have a limited time release for this project, we have invited seven (yes 7!) artists to bring the creatures and locales within the Icefinger Mountains to life. Joining previous Tin Man illustrators, Pirkka Harvala, Josh Wright and Simon Lissaman, are newcomers (for us at least), John Stone, Leonardo Meschini, Dan Angelone and Ben Ee. The artwork so far has been amazing, getting approval from Ian Livingstone at every stage, and really brings a whole new visual vibe to this classic gamebook!
Gamebook Adventures 10: Lords of Nurroth
We’ve had to put GA10 on hold for a while due to some of our other projects taking precedence. All illustrations are complete and editing is about 50% done, so we’ll be revisiting this over the coming months! We know that writer, Dylan Birtolo, is desperate to see it released so hopefully we won’t have to disappoint him much longer.
English-speaking fans of Lovecraft will be pleased to know that we’re currently editing an English translation of Les Fils d’Uruzimé. This will be released in a few months along with an English translation of La Bataille de Ia Drang, currently being translated by gamebook writer, Paul Gresty!
We also have a (long overdue) Italian release of An Assassin in Orlandes due as well as Italian and French versions of Blood of the Zombies later down the pipe.
Fighting Fantasy: The Next Generation
We’re constantly being asked about re-releases of City of Thieves, Deathtrap Dungeon, Citadel of Chaos and the rest. Regular followers of the blog will know that we’ve been holding off on these for a while until we feel our new gamebook engine is mature enough to handle them – about now in fact! Appointment with F.E.A.R. is nearing completion and our next target for the new engine will be the grand-daddy of the series, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. We’ve hired a new technical artist in the office who is currently hard at work developing the art style for the game and Jonathan Green has already started re-designing many of the aspects of gamebook. Neil spent a day with Jon recently talking about the scope of the project and the narrative that we want to weave. While we want to keep as much of the gamebook as true to the original as possible, we also want to expand it significantly and give Firetop Mountain a certain logic and sense of history and scale. More news on this will be announced in due course!
In other News…
As well as working our socks off on our upcoming titles we also made the trip to Finland for Pocket Gamer Connects. As well as taking part in a panel, we also showed off Appointment with F.E.A.R. and took part in the Big Indie Pitch. Unfortunately we didn’t win said pitch, but we did receive some valuable feedback from visiting journalists. Overall it was a very valuable trip and lots of new contacts and potential business connections were made.
Talking of Pocket Gamer, Starship Traveller was recently included in their 21 Best iPhone and iPad Games of 2014…so far! Big props to Clinton Shepherd, Ben Kosmina, Kamina Vincent, Dan Maxwell and Simon Lissaman for that release.
If you didn’t know, Jonathan Green has been busy putting together You Are The Hero, a history of Fighting Fantasy. To celebrate the launch, Jon is running Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014, taking place in London on Sunday 7th September! There will be an amazing line-up including Ian Livingstone, Steve Jackson, Russ Nicholson, Malcolm Barter, Chris Achilleos, Tony Hough, John Blanche, Leo Hartas, Inkle Studios and Arion Games. We’ll also be there in some fashion, so if you’re attending come and say hello. Tickets are available here.