Interview

Revolution's Charles Cecil on Broken Sword 2 and why it's the best time ever to be an indie

Revolution's Charles Cecil on Broken Sword 2 and why it's the best time ever to be an indie
Charles Cecil points to the phone call he received from Apple in 2008 as a revolution for Revolution Software.

At that stage, the veteran UK studio behind the Broken Sword adventure games was struggling to come to terms with the technical and financial challenges required in making 3D games, as well as the increasingly miserly terms offered by publishers concerning such niche boxed retail games.

That phone call suggesting Revolution released its games on the emerging iPhone platform was the right advice at the right time.

"Apple has been absolute brilliant for us, both in terms of supporting our releases, as well as revitalising the games business," Cecil beams.

To-date, the company has released two back catalog titles, Beneath a Steel Sky and a director's cut of the first Broken Sword game, the latter selling an impressive 160,000 copies at $6.99 and $4.99.

"The reaction has been excellent. We love self publishing," Cecil says.

Talk to me

Unsurprisingly, Revolution's next release is an iOS (universal app) version of the second Broken Sword game.

Subtitled The Smoking Mirror Remastered, it sees the original art assets enhanced, while the original music can now be included in uncompressed form for the first time.

Artist Dave Gibbons has provided a new supporting comic, and the game features the same hints and diary features that made the first iOS Broken Sword a more accessible experience for newcomers.

There's also a direct email feedback button; something Cecil is looking forward to in terms of enabling more communication with players.

"Feedback is incredibly important to us and we will bend over backwards to help our audience out," he says.

Full speed ahead

Still, even for fans, there's only so much excitement to be gained from replaying classic games of the past.

The good news then is that Revolution is working on three new original titles, and not just in the adventure genre, although one continues the Broken Sword series.

It's too early for Cecil to give away any details as the first game won't be released until the second half of 2011 though.

More generally he says that while Revolution will still develop boxed retail games in the future, its focus is digital distribution with everything from iOS, Android, XBLA and PSN considered viable platforms for future output.

"I've been an independent developer for over 20 years and now is the most exciting time," he ends.

"Not only do we make ten times more per sale on the App Store compared to working with a traditional publisher, but we can interact directly with our audience, which is incredibly important for games such as Broken Sword."

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.

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