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Graham Goring joins International Hobo Family

Graham-GoringInternational Hobo is proud to announce the addition of a new member of their game design, narrative design, and dialogue scripting "family". Veteran writer Graham Goring, who recieved critical acclaim for his comedic writing on LEGO City Undercover and worked on eight games in TT's hugely successful cross-branded franchises, has become the latest consultant to join the International Hobo brand.

Graham's credits also include Planet Zoo, Planet Coaster: Console Edition, Elite Dangerous, Deaths Door, as well as supporting credits in Braid, Spelunky, Super Hydorah, Aquaria, and Titan Souls. As well as working on and with a great many developers on their projects, Graham is an accomplished programmer, and working on his own indie masterpiece (currently under wraps).

"We started working with Graham on Tropico 6," explains International Hobo Founder and Chief Consultant, Chris Bateman, "and immediately knew we'd found someone with a special talent for both comedy writing and understanding the narrative complexity of game scripting. As we kept coming back to him for more work, it made sense to offer him a seat on the core team. Our unique business framework allows talented individuals in the creative medium of games to gain the strengths and advantages of a larger organisation while maintaining a high degree of autonomy."

Graham had this to say about becoming a member of International Hobo: "Ever since I first heard about International Hobo in 1638 I have wanted to be a part of it. Alas at that time I was an earthworm, but thanks to a fortuitous series of reincarnations (jellyfish > duck > horse > dolphin > human) I eventually acquired the requisite limbs and brain-chunks to be a writer, and so here I am now."

International Hobo was founded in 1999, and over the decades has served as the consultancy framework for some of the biggest names in game design and writing, including Ernest Adams, Rhianna Pratchett, Richard Boon, and Wendy Despain, who still moonlights as a writer for International Hobo while officially working for ArenaNet, the Guild Wars developer.


Introducing... Twilight Tunnels

The incredible new project from ihobo games: Twilight Tunnels. Coming from the far future soon!Twilight Tunnels Logo

Wield powers of Time, Space, Mass and Energy in the first ever Ultratech FPS Dungeon Crawler, set against the final days of Planet Earth in the year 7,600,000,000 AD

  • Quantum Elements: manipulate Time to see the past and slow foes, or use Space to hover, lift, and bend light, Mass to apply incredible shattering force, or Energy to vaporise steel!
  • Unleash Weaponry Forged at the End of Time: choose two weapon patterns from anywhen in history before each Raid, then seek Elemental power sources to weave them into your hands!
  • 10 minute Survival Raids: you begin each Raid with nothing, but with one advantage - a choice of which Quantum Element power source you appear next to… Choose wisely!

High risk, 10 minute, ultratech dungeon raids – can you survive?

Elemental Lighting v2bc.Composite + transparencyThese four screenshots show how the world looks when wielding each of the four Quantum Elements - the tunnels beneath the Dying Earth look completely different depending upon which power source you choose to nanoweave your weapons. Four Quantum Elements, infinite tactical variations!


Game Writing, Second Edition

Game Writing  Second Edition.Cover (final)International Hobo is proud to announce the imminent publication of its long-awaited second edition of Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames, the original 'how to' guide for game writers. Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

As the videogame industry has grown up, the need for better stories and characters has dramatically increased, yet traditional screenwriting techniques alone cannot equip writers for the unique challenges of writing stories where the actions and decisions of a diverse range of players are at the centre of every narrative experience. Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames was the first book to demystify the emerging field of game writing by identifying and explaining the skills required for creating videogame narrative.

Through the insights and experiences of professional game writers, this revised edition captures a snapshot of the narrative skills employed in today's game industry and presents them as practical articles accompanied by exercises for developing the skills discussed. The book carefully explains the foundations of the craft of game writing, detailing all aspects of the process from the basics of narrative to guiding the player and the challenges of nonlinear storytelling. Throughout the book there is a strong emphasis on the skills developers and publishers expect game writers to know.

This second edition brings the material up to date and adds four new chapters covering MMOs, script formats, narrative design for urban games, and new ways to think about videogame narrative as an art form. Suitable for both beginners and experienced writers, Game Writing is the essential guide to all the techniques of game writing. There's no better starting point for someone wishing to get into this exciting field, whether they are new game writers wishing to hone their skills, or screenwriters hoping to transfer their skills to the games industry.

The new edition is published by Bloomsbury, and will be available as paperback, hardback, or ebook from 28th January 2021.


Retro Gamer's 200th Issue

Retro Gamer 200The tenacious videogame print magazine, Retro Gamer, has a special 200th issue this month, with a fantastic set of articles covering the history of games. International Hobo's founder Chris Bateman was interviewed for a piece on the origins and legacy of the open world genre, a topic Chris has extensively researched. Here's an extract:

"The genesis of the open world happens entirely in the United Kingdom in two key years, 1984 and 1985," explains Chris Bateman, founder of ihobo, the studio behind Silk, an open world game inspired by games like The Lords of MidnightEye of the Beholder, and The Bards Tale. "EliteThe Lords of MidnightParadroid, and Mercenary all laid out ways of giving the player maximum agency with the relatively minimal resources of the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and Amstrad." Chris points out that Elite "directly inspired DMA in making the GTA franchise.".

Retro Gamer #200 is in all good newsagents now.


Chris Bateman Becomes First Game Writer in the Writers' and Artists Yearbook

Writers-artists-yearbook-2020International Hobo is proud to announce that its founder and chief consultant, Chris Bateman, has become the first game writer to have an article in the Writers & Artists' Yearbook, the essential guide to the craft and business of writing. He joins other luminary writers such as JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman in writing an article for the new 2020 edition of the guide. Chris' piece is entitled "Writing for videogames: a guide for the curious" (p400), and provides a helpful introduction to the strange and wonderful world of writing for games, ideally suited to help a writer from another medium who is thinking about games as a space to branch out into.


Spring and Summer Events

International Hobo has a busy year ahead! You can catch us at the following events this Spring and Summer:

Conference: GDC 2019
Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd March
Moscone Centre, San Francisco

We are meeting with publishers at GDC this year to discuss two of our game projects being made by our new ihobo games development studio in Manchester UK. Our meeting schedule is now full, but use the contact link if you'd like us to send you a copy of the pitch deck for review.

Talk: "The Virtues of Cyborg Players"
Monday 25th March, Evening
LCAD, Laguna Beach

International Hobo's founder, Chris Bateman, is giving a talk at Laguna College of Art and Design on cyberethics, and the important role that videogame players have had - and will have - in shaping our moral relationship with digital technology over the next few decades. Free admission.

Conference: Develop 2019
Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th July
Brighton Metropole Hotel, Brighton

We are once again at Develop this year. Chris is talking (see below), and the team will be meeting with publishers, developers, and potential clients to discuss our award-winning design and narrative services, promoting game projects under development, and looking for new business opportunities with interested parties.

Talk:"The Narrative Design Survival Guide"
Date TBA
Brighton Metropole Hotel, Brighton
Don't miss this 'survival guide' for the challenges of narrative design in videogames, from the people who first coined the term! Hot from our acclaimed talk at Develop 18, our founder, Chris Bateman returns to Brighton to give another barnstorming Develop talk, guaranteed to make you think about games and stories in fresh and thought-provoking ways.

Conference: Gamescom 2019
Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th August
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany

Once again at Gamescom to meet with publishers and potential clients. Both Chris and our hard-working producer Patrick will be available for meetings. We will have new games in development to offer to publishing partners, and we are always happy to talk about our award-winning devleopment services in game design and narrative.

Please use the Contact link in the sidebar if you want to get in touch about any of these events! See you there!

 


Silk Kickstarter Launches Thursday

Silk Promo Title 4
After months of hard work from the team, we are now ready to show our new sandbox RPG and adventure game Silk to the world – and to ask for your help in finishing it. We’re excited to announce that on Thursday 28th February, at 7 am GMT, the Silk Kickstarter commences!

This project started out as a tribute to Mike Singleton’s classic game The Lords of Midnight, and the game uses a rendering engine with the same ‘landscaping’ algorithm as Mike’s groundbreaking strategy-adventure. Also like its inspiration, Silk offers many ways to play – as an exploration adventure, a caravan trading sim, or a siege battle game. Another key influence is King of Dragon Pass, specifically the Clan ring, which inspired the Advisor system that forms the centre of the wilderness adventures of Silk.

We are asking for all friends of International Hobo to help us promote the Kickstarter and the game. It’s vital that we hit the ground running on Thursday, as early momentum is the key to success in every crowdfunding campaign. Please retweet and share everything you see about Silk over the next week – and especially on Thursday.

If you want to back us, take advantage of Early Bird offers and get first pick of one of the special rewards on offer, please do so as soon as you can on Thursday. Day One is going to be our most important day – thank you all in advance for all your support!

Check the list below to find the launch time for your part of the world:

  • 7 am Thursday 28th February for the United Kingdom
  • 8 am Thursday for Europe
  • 11 am Thursday for Dubai
  • 1 pm Thursday for Mumbai
  • 3 pm Thursday for Hong Kong
  • 4 pm Thursday for Kyoto
  • 6 pm Thursday for Melbourne
  • 2 am Thursday for Philadelphia, PA (EST)
  • 1 am Thursday for Nashville, TN (CST)
  • Midnight Thursday for Billings, MT (MST)
  • 11 pm Wednesday 27th February for Laguna Beach, CA (PST)

The Persistence - Out Now!

PersistenceThis week, Firesprite’s Playstation VR game The Persistence was released – and to great reviews! It was International Hobo’s pleasure to work on the narrative design, script, and voice recording sessions of the game. This was a significant challenge since the roguelike, procedural elements disrupted conventional storytelling and required careful construction to ensure the story did not get in the way of the game. We also worked closely with Firesprite to tweak the world building in subtle ways that will be invisible to players but which significantly improved the final experience. Firesprite gave us a lot more rope than we expected, and allowed us to create a truly unique story mounted as a two-hander theatrical play set against numbingly recurrent death. If you’re a PSVR player, check it out!


Best of E3: Shadows

Best of E3At this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, one of International Hobo’s RPG projects received two Best of E3 nominations, one from RPG Fan and one from WorthPlaying. The game, Shadows: Awakening – the latest instalment in the cult Heretic Kingdoms franchise that began in 2004 – is developed by long-time ihobo client Games Farm. Featuring an original narrative design and script by International Hobo’s founder, Chris Bateman, the game features characters voiced by Tom Baker, Sally Knyvette, Robert Ashby, Joanna Wake, Ramon Tikaram, Marc Silk and many other talented actors and actresses.

Due for release later this year by publisher Kalypso, Shadows: Awakening is an action RPG set in a dark sword and sorcery world. The player controls a Devourer, a kind of demon that can swallow the souls of the dead and manifest them as puppets. But who is really pulling the strings? Find out later this year!


The Virtuous Cyborg - Out Now!

The Virtuous Cyborg - Cut-outHow would you know if you were a good cyborg? My latest philosophy book explores this and other problems of contemporary cyberethics. From arcade machines to MUDs to World of Warcraft to Pokémon Go, encounter our strange relationship with games and technology from an entirely new angle. The Virtuous Cyborg is out now from Eyewear Publishing.

Go to cyborg.ihobo.com or click the book in the sidebar to learn more!