Bow Street Runner
Over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Jim Rossignol picks up on Channel 4′s forthcoming point and click adventure, Bow Street Runner, an online title I wrote the Game Design Document for a couple of months ago.
The aim of the game is to educate players about the work of the formative British police force, The Bow Street Runners, through some Georgian detective work in a Broken Sword-ish style.
Unbelievably, (and thanks to the hugely talented flash designers and coders) despite the 8-week turnaround for the project thus far, the original design blueprint has remained mostly intact (a few puzzles have been removed/ simplified) and, as the project’s episodic, there are a number of exciting things for players to look forward to.
The broadcaster is wanting to create quality (whisper it) ‘edutainment’ – that scourge of the late-nineties classroom – the difference being that this time around the titles are being worked on by people who actually know games. Additionally, the budgets are large enough to facilitate fairly heavyweight work with some quality talent (hence the appearance of Julian Glover in the game, he of Indiana Jones and Star Wars fame).
Alice Taylor, C4′s Commissioning Editor for the project writes Alice in Wonderland, a prominent gaming blog, and her resulting vocabulary meant that we were able to reference titles like Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney and Monkey Island when outlining how the game might play.
While Alice is off suckling her newborn, ex-Edge magazine editor and former freelance boss Margaret Robertson has stepped in to cover her. Indeed, the names behind C4’s new edutainment drive are good ones that will hopefully ensure the content is interesting and, most importantly, plays well.
There’s still lots of work for the team to do on Bow Street Runner (although I’ve not been involved in the testing process since final document stage – all of the fun, none of the graft) but the preview, while buggy, is solid and enjoyable and I’m pleased at how things like the esteem gauge – imports from orthodox adventure console games – have translated so well.
Obviously the game’s not going to cause a ripple in the wider gaming ocean, but within the pool of corporation-produced web-gaming, its technical balls ensure it’s of fair importance, representing a significant step forward for games on this fast-growing platform.
See what you think.