The Raven — Legacy of a Master Thief
E3 2013 Impressions
"I liked what I saw of The Raven, since it looked like it was ready to put its own spin on the again-flourishing adventure game genre."

I was a big fan of Nordic Games/The Adventure Company's The Book of Unwritten Tales: a multicharacter point-and-click adventure title with a self-aware sense of humor and a charming fantasy world, so I was excited to take a look at their newest title, a three-part episodic crime story called The Raven — Legacy of a Master Thief.

As detailed in the free prequel graphic novel (available via browsers, iOS, and Android), The Raven was a notorious thief who robbed from the rich and gave to himself some years before the game itself takes place. Signing his signature by way of leaving behind a jet-black raven feather at each crime scene, he became something of a beloved cultural icon despite his sticky-fingered ways. His legend met a brutal end, however, when a detective obsessed with catching the wayward thief discovered him at a scene and shot him to death.

Flashing forward to the time when the game takes place, a new rash of thefts garnished with a black raven feather have caused a stir, with people wondering if the Raven himself has somehow survived and returned to his filching ways. Each episode of the game features a different protagonist, and the first episode sees you in the shoes of a Swiss police officer out to prove his mettle as a master detective. What follows is a caper in the tradition of Agatha Christie, with players questioning suspects, solving puzzles, and attempting to unravel the true identity of the Raven.

The Raven will be a bit more serious than the light-hearted Book of Unwritten Tales, though not totally devoid of humor and never jumping into the kind of violent crimes that would make it unsuitable for younger audiences. Gameplay will be comprised of traditional point-and-click adventuring, with a slightly more realistic tone. Your character will be unable to put large items in his or her pockets (only things that would reasonably fit there), so if you want to use a chair on something, you'll actually be seen carrying it around and have to put it down if you want to do anything else. Solving puzzles nets the player points that can be used for hints– or, for the especially crafty with no need for such things, used to purchase artwork after completing the game.

The visuals are stylized like Book of Unwritten Tales, but with more realistically proportioned human characters and a Clue-like modern setting. Since the team wanted to aim for a film style in the writing and presentation, the user interface has been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. Additionally, the game will feature the same attention to quality voice acting and music as Book of Unwritten Tales, with the same composer handling the latter.

I liked what I saw of The Raven, since it looked like it was ready to put its own spin on the again-flourishing adventure game genre. The realistic focus and mystery story absolutely had my interest, and this is one caper I'll look forward to solving. You'll be able to join me when episode 1 (titled 'The Eye of the Sphinx') launches on July 23 for PlayStation 3 via PSN and PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam. Episode 2 — Ancestry of Lies — is scheduled for release August 27th, with episode 3 — A Murder of Ravens — finishing the saga on September 24th. A boxed version containing all three chapters will be available on October 24th.

© 2013 Nordic Games. All rights reserved.

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