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On this week's inklecast we ask a question that's close to our hearts: when is the game part of your story game too much game for your story?
In all our projects, we try to marry the gameplay and the narrative elements so tightly together that neither could be removed - but is there an argument for the cutscene-and-play model? Have a listen and tell us what you think.
The gates of Kharé have opened once more, and the wilds of Kakhabad await. Players on PC and Mac can now venture into the shifting deserts, tangled forests and thick swamps of the Baklands as they attempt to make their way to Mampang and the Crown of Kings.
Sorcery! 3 is our most ambitious interactive narrative so far - not just an entirely open-world adventure where you can go anywhere, by any route you choose, and that's stuffed full of secrets - the game is actually two open-worlds, which you can freely blend together as you explore.
You can either continue your story from Parts 1 & 2, or jump straight in at this installment: the game will adapt itself appropriately. And not only that, it's 25% off for the first week.
Many ways to win, and a hundred ways to die
Roaming the wildnerness are seven deadly serpents, racing to Mampang to warn the Archmage of your coming. How you tackle them is up to you - head on combat? Strategy and cunning? Or will you simply try to outpace them?
The choices you make in this part will define your adventure in the concluding part of the story, out later this year.
Want to hear more?
To celebrate the launch we recorded a special episode of the inklecast last week all about how the open-world design affected everything from the way we built it to the way player's played.
We're happy to announce that the third part of the Sorcery! saga will be hitting Steam, Humble and Green Man Gaming on April 5th, bringing desktop player's up to date with the story.
We'll be talking a bit more about the game in the next inklecast, but for now, here's the trailer to whet your appetite:
A wilderness to explore
Sorcery! Part 3 takes the adventure out into the wilds of the Kakhabad, a land of deserts, grassy plains, forests and swamps - and it transform the game from a linear story into a fully open-world experience. Go from anywhere, to anywhere, by any route you can find; backtrack to find every secret or plough your way forward - and with the aid of ancient magic, even reshape the landscape through which you travel.
Open world design, story-rich content
But being open world doesn't change how the game is played: its still rich with characters, stories, traps, monsters and peril. Everything that happens in a Sorcery! game is bespoke and unique, and Part 3 is the largest Sorcery! game to date, the size of Parts 1 and 2 combined.
Can you survive Kakhabad, cross the Horns of Xamen and Lake Ilklala? Will you travel fast to evade capture, or hunt down and destroy the Seven Serpents dispatched to end your journey? Will you explore the ancient land through magic, or leave the past untouched? All these choices, and hundreds more, will carry over in Part 4 and alter the stakes in the story's conclusion.
Next week is GDC, and Joe's going to be presenting a talk about our scripting language, ink, that we use here at inkle to write massively-branchy content in a way that allows writers to get on and write.
We've been using and developing this language for four years but as of yesterday, the language is now available for all to use. We've decided to go open-source, with all you'll need to plug ink-scripted content into Unity projects. You can grab it on GitHub, right now.
We dig into its clever real-time, multi-character conversation system, and talk about how it plays and (maybe) how it works, before our own conversation branches into dialogue systems in general. Take a listen and see what we thought, spoiler-free.
In this week's inklecast we get lost in an intractable problem of all creative work: what to call your game once you've finally made it.
Is it possible to sum up potentially years' of work in two to three words? Or should you just put two other words together to make a new one? Have a listen to the inklecast, and find out.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to see a little Sorcery! in action, including some good commentated demonstration of the combat, we've been enjoying SplatterCatGaming's Let's Play series.
To celebrate, we've recorded a special episode of the inklecast talking about how the game. We cover how the game came to be, how we developed it and how it changed along the way.
Welcome to the inklecast, bite-sized snippets of game design. This week: how do choices help you roleplay, and are Bioware games just a quiz with the answers already pencilled in?
This one's gone up a day early, as cast-master Tom is at the Global Game Jam in Oslo tomorrow.
And with next week seeing the release of Sorcery! for Steam, so we're considering a Sorcery! special. Let us know in the comments or via Twitter if you have questions. (But, please, no "how do you visit the Gardens of Briar"?)
Welcome to the inklecast, episode two! This week's bite-sized chat is about choices - are they worth it, or are "analogue" controls in a game always better?