The Making of Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
The Making of Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - "Paris in the Fall"



In the Génération 4 Interview Cecil had stated that he was already working on a third scenario (after Temptress and Steel Sky) for a mega game that would play in Paris and that would involve a story about the Templars.14 His claim gave rise to a sort of priority dispute, in that Matthew Stibbe (project leader of Azrael's Tear) subsequently wrote a letter to Edge, in which he asserted that they had started design months before the interview in Génération 4.

Announcing a Templars game in Génération 4, 1992
Cecil, Edge interview 1996

However, in the interview a wrong date was mentioned that was the origin of the dispute.15 Staying true to the film rule "know your world"16 Cecil had explored real locations long before the interview was supposed to have taken place, and for his research he had visited Paris, going around catacombs at Place Denfert-Rochereau and checking out locations and sights."17 So he did send Stibbe a photo of himself in the catacombs with his six month's old daughter in a papoose, and Stibbe agreed to have been wrong.18 Cecil's visit with Noirin Carmody and their baby Ciara took place in October 1992, and after taking numerous pictures in the catacombs, he visited a bookshop specialized in esoteric books and bought various books about the Templars.19

Noirin Carmody, Cecil and Ciara in the Paris catacombs, October 1992

Unlike Cecil, the avatar won't visit a location in the game with piles of skulls as is shown in a photo of his visit to L'Empire de la mort with its six million skeletons (let alone that he climbs a stair of skulls like Mike Dawson does in Cyberdreams's game Dark Seed (1992).

Dark Seed


One of the books Cecil read was the controversial "Holy Blood And The Holy Grail" by Michael Balgent et al.,20 in which the authors claimed that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that they had children that were immigrated to France. They had set up a secret society, The Priory of Sion, to keep the "truth" alive and they created the Knights Templar, a military and financial wing. After reading the book, he felt there was enough history with Templars to make it a good subject for a game.21 Though he had considered to use the notion of the Priory of Sion in the game, he left it out because there wasn't a shred of truth to it.22



Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg (1981)

A story like the one of the Templars with a subject as conspiracy would work, according to Cecil, very well in an adventure, as it could drive through the whole structure of a story.23 All elements, an intriguing conspiracy that resonates to the present day, a lost treasure, chivalry and barbarity, came together in semi-legend, semi-truth, and provided a perfect historical backdrop for the game.24

The contemporary setting of the game was inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark. Cecil thought that the way Spielberg's film interwove a story set in the 20th century with biblical and historical plot elements was incredibly effective.25

Though research for the game had started in 1992 and initial concept sketches were already created early 1993, production would start in 1994 after agreement was reached with the publisher. The art style was changed when Cecil contacted out-house artists from Ireland to work on the new game (more below).


Sean Brennan ca 2008

In 1994 Cecil, Carmody and Virgin's Sean Brennan (Revolution's publisher) had a dinner in the King's Road. While drinking delicious French wines, they talked about the Templars myth, which would provide a rich historical background for a video game. They were inspired by Foucoult's "Pendulum"26 but realized the absurdity of books like "Holy Blood And The Holy Grail." When the dinner was finished, the outline of the scenario was determined and an agreement was reached with Brennan to publish the game.27

According to Tony Warriner the game was a kind of experiment for Virgin. The idea was to make a very slick adventure game with very high production values, and see how well it could do against the other big non-adventure games.28 Fifteen years after the release of the game, Cecil stated that it was the first and last time in his life where he told the publisher it would be ready when it was ready. That worked for a year before the publisher cracked down, but for a time, he had the time to get the story right instead of meeting milestones.29



(c) All artwork copyright Revolution Software
(c) Text game-nostalgia.com