Why Did Young Megan Jones Have To Hang?
That's one of the questions that will be confronting players of Arberth Studios' forthcoming Point & Click adventure game, 'Coven'. Did she suffer the noose because she really was a witch, as they claimed? And why has the ghost of the black dog haunted the river bridge ever since?
Wales-based developer Arberth Studios is currently riding the strong popularity wave of its debut title 'Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches', which has achieved both critical and player acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Production has now begun on their keenly awaited second game.
Comments Noel Bruton, one of the three-person development team, "'Coven' was formerly known as 'Project Rivercastle'. It is a moving tragedy, unfolding through generations in Castle Avon, a small town steeped in Welsh history.
The player arrives in the present day, ostensibly to mix corporate duties with the family business of claiming an inheritance, the legacy of an unknown Great Aunt. But your investigations enmesh you with an involved story going back to the frightening witch-hunts that coincided with the English Civil War, traversing the Rebecca Riots, the British Agricultural Revolution and World War II espionage, to the terrible threat that has come to grip the fate of the town following your Aunt's demise. You must discover and assume your Aunt's occult responsibilities - summon allies and new skills - and face the truth that has eluded Castle Avon for nearly four hundred years.
He continues, "As with 'Rhiannon', we have dipped into Wales' past; however this time into history rather than legend. In the seventeenth century, while England and Scotland were hanging and burning hundreds accused of witchcraft, Wales exercised pragmatic tolerance; there are no records of witches being executed there. So now we add another layer of gameplay - what made Megan Jones special?"
Bruton is at pains to point out that for this title, the fledgling company has learned much from player and reviewer feedback. "There was so much that people loved about 'Rhiannon' - and some aspects where they asked us to improve next time. So in 'Coven', navigation is slicker and more precise, along with a new "Where Am I" feature and shortcuts to distant locations.
Scene panning is used where it fits. There will be an ingenious way of recording player progress and delivering gameplay hints. Graphics are more animated. But we're sticking to our preferred model of the player acting alone, in the first person - and story and puzzles still come first. Even with such a tragic story, player enjoyment is crucial. There's fun to be had here too."
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