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Broken Sword is making a comeback – here’s everything we know so far

Ten years since its last release, the classic point-and-click game is making a comeback
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There were plenty of unexpected announcements at Gamescom 2023, but there was one in particular that was surprising for a number of reasons. The Broken Sword series was originally released back in 1996 with the first game Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. After that, there was a steady release of games in the point-and-click adventure series every few years until Broken Sword 5 in 2013. Then silence. We all assumed that, like most things, Broken Sword had come to an end, and we would have to be satisfied with the stories that already exist.

Now we are entering what creator Charles Cecil calls the “Renaissance of Broken Sword”. A remake of the original game with completely redrawn graphics called Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – Reforged is expected to launch at the beginning of 2024, and the studio will also be working on a new entry in the series Broken Sword 6: Parzival’s Stone. In both of these games a lot of attention has been paid to the minor details. Cecil explained to me in detail things that were corrected from the original. A chair where a bomb blew up is now knocked over and in tatters, a drain pipe that you climb to the rooftops above, now extends all the way up there. It’s small changes, ones that people likely overlooked, but ones that will help the world feel more realistic.

Screenshot from Broken Sword Parzival's Stone

Aside from the new art style and changes to the finer details, there are plenty of other updates for modern players. Point-and-click games still have their audience, but the modern gamer doesn’t have the tolerance for banging their head against a wall that gamers of the past had. When there were fewer games to enjoy, and people wanted to get their money’s worth from the games they purchased, convolution and difficulty were seen as welcome distractions. The team at Revolution has been working hard to figure out what will make the games less frustrating without giving away the answers.

The first is removing more unnecessary items. You will still be able to find them and read the flavor text, but after you discover them, they won’t linger in your inventory. Likewise, when you try a combination of items that don’t work together, the option to combine will become unavailable, letting you know this isn’t the path forward. If you are missing a key item, and a certain amount of trying has been attempted with other methods, the item will twinkle when you are close to it, guiding you closer to the correct answer. It’s all about leading the player to the right answer, so that your actions bring you a greater sense of progress, without just telling you which way to go. If you want to play the old-fashioned way that’s still an option, and you are welcome to change back to the guided mode if you are truly stuck.

Screenshot from Broken Sword Parzival's Stone

A lot of time has clearly gone into the psychology of the player, and how the behavior of gamers has changed over the years. This knowledge is not only going into the ‘Reforged’ version of the original, but the upcoming sixth installment. Not only this, but Revolution is keen to remake the second entry, Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror, and already has plans in place to do so. When it comes to the third, fourth, and fifth entries though, the waters get a bit muddier.

“There was a guy [from the publisher] who was very proud of the fact that he had never played a game,” Cecil recalls, “And there were two things he said. One was that point-and-click adventures are dead. And the second thing he said was that the PC is dead as a platform. So we had to transition to 3D, and I would say that Broken Sword 3 is pretty good.” While the quality of Broken Sword 3’s story remained on point, the 3D art style has dated the game in a way that makes it far harder to remake than the original two games. Cecil says it would need to be “substantially brought up to date” which adds to the team’s concerns. Though it isn’t Broken Sword 3 that Cecil is most eager to see come back.

Screenshot from Broken Sword Parzival's Stone

“Broken Sword 4 was done under huge duress,” Cecil tells me, “And I thought it was going to kill us. Basically, we had a very, very bad publishing deal. How I would love to go back to Broken Sword 4, and take all of the things that I loved when I wrote it, and do a proper version. If I could do that before I died, I’d be really happy. Everybody wants all the games, but they always say ‘well Broken Sword 4 isn’t very good’ and they’re right.”

Whether we get all the way to see the renaissance of Broken Sword 4 depends on the success of the other games that are already planned. However, seeing how the fans have reacted to the surprise reveal at Gamescom, it appears that Broken Sword is certainly back.