[dropcap size=big]D[/dropcap]eveloper Wispfire is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for their interactive drama Herald. In this point-and-click adventure, players take on the role of the steward aboard the HLV Herald, a merchant ship sailing the seas in a 19th century setting. This steward protagonist goes by the name of Devan Rensburg, and essentially works under the radar to help those aboard the ship. Though he serves the captain of course, some of the errands Devan runs for the people on the ship may or may not entail him abiding by the rules. The game world of Herald portrays a contrast between the wealthy and less fortunate, which Devan finds himself caught between. Throughout the game, the player will be able to make choices through conversation that change the course of the game, adhering to the established rules, or rebelling against the authority. The side the player chooses will win the favor of the respective groups of characters in this story.
A demo of Herald is available for download for PC, Mac and Linux, where players can get just a small taste of the game mechanics, as well as how the story is conveyed. Though the demo is short, it features a fully-functional 3D environment built in Unity and supporting all the core elements of the game. Being a point-and-click, players will move Devan around with the click of a mouse. Opening the journal and examining objects are both done in the same manner. The journal is a very useful feature available that of course allows players to keep track of events and points of interest discovered through play.
As previously mentioned, Herald features a storyline with alternate routes that are directly influenced by player choice. This is the core focus of the game, as the outcome is heavily dependent on how players choose to interact with the characters in the game. Much of this of course is directed by the conversation mode in the gameplay, but deciding on what quests to undertake also factor into the ending result. The demo is just a brief taste of what the developers have planned, however there’s enough here to get a good look at what backers are pledging towards. Believable voice acting drives an enchanting narrative and really brings this game world to life. It’s at this point that the player is really immersed into the game, as it succeeds in setting the mood established by the theme.
Players view the world of Herald through static camera emplacements much like the style made popular by the original Resident Evil. Moving Devan in just the right trigger zone will switch the camera view to give a broad look at an area in the scene previously out of central and peripheral view. In this alpha, Devan’s range of movement is fairly limited, as it’s a bit difficult to get him to move freely in any spot of the floor. Clicking further away from his character model is a better bet if players want to move him somewhere else in the current shot.
Wispfire has set a goal of €15,000 Euros to cover the development costs of Herald. After being in development for a year, the game hosts a solid foundation leaving a clear path for the rest of the story and gameplay to be constructed. Fully interactive and driving players with a branching narrative, Herald is a Kickstarter Staff Pick campaign that caters to the adventure game enthusiast. The game is also on Steam Greenlight, currently looking for those votes to get on the Steam market.