Newbury & Hobbes: The Plot Thickens...

A while ago, we announced that we’re working on Newbury & Hobbes: The Curse of Menamhotep with talented author George Mann. For anyone who missed it, the game is based on George’s long-running series, The Newbury & Hobbes Investigations, but unlike a lot of the licensed games we’ve created in the past it will be a brand new chapter in the series! We’ve been working on the story with George, crafting something that works as a game in its own right but also ties into both his existing novels and the ones he’s planning for the future of the series. Working directly with an author on a game that’s set in their IP is a bit of a dream, and we’re having great fun with it!

If you look carefully, you’ll see some of my INCREDIBLY BAD pencil art, which will obviously be replaced with work by a competent professional in the final version.

If you look carefully, you’ll see some of my INCREDIBLY BAD pencil art, which will obviously be replaced with work by a competent professional in the final version.

The game’s chugging along nicely, and we’re planning on a Q4 2019 Kickstarter launch. Originally we’d planned for Summer 2019, but all three of us have been incredibly busy - and one of the joys of working on something for ourselves is that we can choose to push deadlines back instead of rushing to hit them. Luxury! We’re really happy with how the game is progressing and we can’t wait to show off some more details.

So… let’s not wait! Let’s show off some more details now.

First, let’s talk a little bit about the plot. For anyone who doesn’t know the series already. Newbury & Hobbes is set in a steampunkified version of Victorian London, where clockwork automata act as servants to the elite, hulking airships come and go from the furthest corners of the empire and the streets throng with marvels of modern science. It’s not all shiny brass and cogs, though; there’s a lot of darkness to be found, from undead monstrosities stalking the slums to shadowy secret societies threatening to topple the Empire.

Just… go and read them, yeah? It’s an awesome series. The Affinity Bridge was the first novel, so it’s a great place to start, but The Undying (a recent comic book release) has also been crafted as a good jumping-on point, if you prefer your stories to be told in a more visual medium.

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Right, now you’re caught up on the setting, let’s talk about The Curse of Menamhotep! The game will see Crown Investigators Sir Maurice Newbury, Miss Veronica Hobbes and Sir Charles Bainbridge dealing with the ascendance of a long-forgotten cult as it infiltrates the upper echelons of London society. They’ll be joined by a new character (to be announced!) who will make her debut appearance in this game, but will no doubt go on to make appearances in future tales in the series.

The game’s plot will unfold over a number of Chapters (we’re still figuring out the exact number), each of which equates to a single session of play. During a Chapter, each player takes on the role of one of our four main characters, and takes a bespoke Casebook for that character. The Casebooks contain a series of numbered passages which will track the players’ progress through the game. While the contents of each Casebook for a given chapter will be broadly the same, each one will feature unique elements based on the character’s skills, strengths and connections. For example, Newbury’s sharp, deductive mind might lead him to clues that the other characters might miss, while Bainbridge’s authority with Scotland Yard will open doors that might remain closed to the others.

As well as the Casebooks, the game will feature a large spiral-bound Almanac, which will contain full-colour illustrations of crime scenes and devious puzzles, and will also provide game boards for the action sequences that will crop up several times during a session of play. After all, anyone who’s read the novels will know that investigation and deduction will only get you so far - eventually, you’ll need to resort to chasing down criminals atop a speeding land-train, fighting your way past a horde of murderous automata or squaring off against your maniacal nemesis in single combat. (Again - read these books.)

As well as the Casebooks and Almanac, one of the most exciting parts of the game is the character busts, which are used as playing pieces during the action scenes, and also as markers during the investigative sections of the game. Sculpted by the incredibly talented Daniel Jack of Atlantis Miniatures, these represent the first time that the main characters of the series have been rendered in 3D, and we’re blown away by Dan’s work. (We shouldn’t have been surprised, though - have you seen some of the stuff that Atlantis puts out?) Here’s a work-in-progress render of Sir Charles Bainbridge - check it out!

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All in all, the game is progressing at a fantastic rate and we can’t wait to show you more. We’ll be showing off more snippets of gameplay over the next few weeks - if you want to make sure you don’t miss them, be sure to sign up to both the Needy Cat Newsletter and the Newbury & Hobbes Facebook page.

newsJames HewittComment