Today we get to finally announce our latest project, created in partnership with Edmund Pevensey in America: Seven Poets and the Assassin’s Secret, a real-time, serialised adventure story for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Seven Poets was our first project coming out of Frankenstein and in some ways, it couldn’t be more different. For a start, it’s not an inklebook – it’s not a branching narrative and there’s no game-logic, no adaptive storytelling.
But it is a novel reshaped in a way that suits these strange, super-connected, multi-functional things we all carry around in our pockets. And so we’ve been solving a lot of the problems we wanted to solve on Frankenstein – how do you keep a reading coming back when the screen they’re looking at has the entire internet inside it? How do you make the book become a personal thing, digitally dog-eared as the reader turns the pages?
For a low-tech bit of storytelling though, it’s fairly high-tech: the chapters of the novel are released in real-time, and updated in real-time onto the device you’re reading. The novel itself, and the newspaper content that goes alongside it, are written and delivered as the story progresses. (We like to call it the first world’s first agile novel.)
It’s been a tech-heavy project to get it made, too. The author, Matthew A Brown, and his team at Edmund Pevensey are based in Texas. We’ve never met, except over video-conferencing, and we’ve done all our collaboration over the internet, across a permanent time-difference. There are plenty of international game studios that work like this, non-stop, all the time: we hadn’t quite expected to be doing it ourselves so early on!
The app is built in four main sections – two are about story-telling, and two are for recording your own progress through the story. The author had a clear idea about getting a light gameplay element from the novel and into the reading experience, and we’ve worked with him to design something that’s elegant; something between double-dare and keeping a diary.
The team behind Seven Poets have strong ambitions about where they want to take this story, and are running a Kickstarter project to fund it. If you want to take a look, then please do. Otherwise, we’ve got some servers to tighten.