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Revolution: The Quest For Game Development Greatness Is A Must-Read For Revolution Software Fans

Pages that span 30 years

As a huge Broken Sword fan, backing Revolution Software co-founder Tony Warriner’s Revolution: The Quest for Game Development Greatness on Kickstarter was a no-brainer. Though even I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the book. For a company that has been around for more than 30 years, there were bound to be some stories to tell, but what I wondered was how much the book would pad those stories to fill out the pages. Instead, what Warriner has produced is a compelling deep-dive into the history of one of the pioneers of the adventure game genre.

What you can expect is a rich text full of images and heartwarming stories of the underdog overcoming the odds to do what they love – make video games. There are plenty of stories about Revolution’s early days and the development of games such as Lure of the TemptressBeneath a Steel Sky, and the early Broken Sword games. It all feels a little rock star in its own kind of way.

You’ll also find a good helping of anecdotes about the underbelly of the video game industry and how publishers can cripple a studio with one-sided contracts and kill projects due to internal politics. If you’ve wanted to know a little more about Revolution’s cancelled Good Cop Bad Cop project, this is it. It’s a fascinating and eye-opening read, though quite frankly, none of it comes as a surprise.

One of the most interesting discoveries for me was that the reason Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars Director’s Cut had missing content (something that has never sat well with fans of the original game) was that the studio never properly archived the build of the original Broken Sword. This meant that when the studio came to develop the Director’s Cut, it was easier to simply leave parts out due to the difficulty of piecing it all back together.

It’s not all about Revolution Software though, with Warriner sharing his journey and the challenges he’s faced along the way. By all accounts, he was never the most academic kid at school but managed to turn a passion into a fruitful and long-lasting career. Warriner comes across as a man that is loyal to the core and strongly believed in his convictions even if that may have meant that he was not the most open to change throughout his time at Revolution.

The book also goes into detail about coding, a topic that can get a little dense at times. A lot of the earlier, pre-Revolution chapters are full of information that will appeal to those on the game dev side of things, harkening back to the 8-bit and 16-bit days. While other chapters discuss how issues with Revolution’s titles were addressed or how certain engines and systems were created and utilised. I’d be lying if I said I understood every word of it, but it certainly offered insight into the less sexy side of how games are made.

If you’re hoping for some news on what Revolution Software is currently working on (is it Broken Sword 6?), you’re going to be out of luck, with Warriner leaving Revolution before the release of its latest game Beyond a Steel Sky. However, if there’s one thing that this book does, it’s to elicit a sense of appreciation that whatever Revolution does next— it’s earned it the hard way.

Regardless, if you’re a fan of Revolution Software or just like reading books about the video game industry, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Revolution: The Quest for Game Development Greatness. It’s a truly insightful read about a group of developers who embarked on an adventure to create the best adventure games they could, and in doing so produced some of the best and most revered games the genre has seen.

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If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so from Tony Warrnier’s online store.

Written By Zach Jackson

Despite a childhood playing survival horrors, point and clicks and beat ’em ups, these days Zach tries to convince people that Homefront: The Revolution is a good game while pining for a sequel to The Order: 1886 and a live-action Treasure Planet film. Carlton, Burnley FC & SJ Sharks fan. Get around him on Twitter @tightinthejorts


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