Drawn sequel takes flight Aug. 31
A couple of weeks ago we sat down with Big Fish Games Studios’ Chris Campbell and Brian Thompson as they walked us through a demo of Drawn: Dark Flight, the follow-up to Drawn: The Painted Tower and probably one of the most anticipated sequels since Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst. Now that the embargo has lifted we can happily tell you all that we learned about this casual adventure.
Drawn: The Painted Tower began the story of Iris, a young lady whose beautiful paintings proved the key to saving her from imprisonment in a large, gloomy tower. The Painted Tower was always intended to be the first part of Iris’s story arc, and ended purposefully on a cliff-hanger, Campbell and Thompson explained. Dark Flight will pick up shortly after the first game left off and bring Iris’s story full circle as you try to restore Iris to her rightful place on the throne and bring hope back to the despairing kingdom.
One of the first major departures in Dark Flight is setting. In The Painted Tower the entire game took place inside the tower itself, as players went in and out of paintings to access new floors. Dark Flight opens in the underground caverns below the tower, which players will spend some time exploring before they eventually make their way outside and into the outside world and kingdom beyond.
In The Painted Tower players could look out of windows and see the massive town below – but that was as close as they got to experiencing it. In Dark Flight you’ll actually get to explore the town and walk through the streets of the theatre district, library and more.
Gameplay is still point-and-click fare, with a hint system that, in the developer’s words, is now “smarter” and knows exactly what the player needs to move forward. There will be a lot more tasks that involve sketching – in other words, tracing outlines on paper with the mouse button to create usable inventory objects.
In addition to drawing, one of the game’s overall themes is paper cutouts and we saw many charming examples of this in the demo, such as interactive pop-up books and the paper pirate mini-game below.
Dark Flight is intended to be a more free-roaming experience in general. One example of this is how the developers have tweaked the task bar along the bottom of the screen. In The Painted Tower, and like most other hidden object and adventure games, the task bar was locked to the bottom of the screen and visible at all times. In Dark Flight, however, players have the choice of either having the task bar visible or hiding it so that it only pops up when you scroll the mouse cursor down to the bottom of the screen. The thought behind this change was that if the task bar was hidden it would allow people to become more immersed in the game world without constantly being reminded that they were playing a game by seeing inventory items, menu icons and other “game” paraphernalia.
The developers also strove to make Dark Flight accessible to everyone, even gamers who haven’t played The Painted Tower. Hence, the game offers a “casual mode” which funnels players through a tutorial to teach them the ropes, and an “experienced” mode that lets players skip the tutorial altogether.
It took the nine-person team at Big Fish Games Studios nine months to develop Drawn: Dark Flight, and you’ll get to play the finished product on Aug. 31, when the Collector’s Edition launches. The Collector’s Edition will feature the usual extras (wallpaper, concept art, soundtrack) as well as an extra chapter and a new painting to explore.