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

Revolution stayed true to the design principles on which their previous games were based. Apart from being a point-and-click adventure game using a 3rd person perspective, a serious story was combined with humor,30 and two main characters were juxtaposed.

By using historical facts a new element was introduced into the story design. Whereas Temptress played in medieval times and Steel Sky in the future, The Shadow of the Templars would play in the present. Like in Temptress, a kind of "time distortion" was created by playing with past and present. The game turned the idea of Temptress ("modern ideas in a medieval context") into its opposite (medieval ideas in a modern context). The change compelled the designers to find varied ways to implement the historical part of the story into the game.

By juxtaposing main characters the exposition could be hidden and humor and drama could be created through their dialogues. The technique can serve various purposes, and it was, as we shall see, used in a different way than in Steel Sky. The humor wasn't confined of course to the dialogues between the two main characters, for another, already familiar design principle was Implemented as well: a supporting cast with well-defined, often wacky characters. Though The Shadow of the Templars stayed close to the serious tone of the story, the look of the characters, the way they behave and speak play a big part in the way humor was added to the game. The comments by the main character and his dialogues with other characters, or the questions he could ask them about inventory icons (representing locations and items in the game), also often contributed to the game's humor. Another principle, already applied in the previous games, was putting the player under pressure, for instance by limiting the time in which the player could respond to a threatening situation.31

The Shadow of the Templars also added some new principles to the design concept by introducing a cross-border game world" and a cinematic style. The Broken Sword games also got a cartoony look, before the series would move from 2D to 3D (with the third Broken Sword game). Another renewal was the change from traditional linear music into interactive music.

Jonathan Howard
Alan Drury
Responsible for story and design became Cecil, Cummins and Jonathan Howard.32 Though Steel Sky had already demonstrated that Cecil and Cummins could write a story with an impeccable script, both attended a film-writing course about how to write scripts and stories, and the script was read through by Alan Drury, a senior BBC scriptwriter and dramatist."33 Lead writer Cummins got halfway through assistance from Howard.34

Howard had become involved in the game industry when he joined MicroProse around April 1992 to design a steampunk sort of game involving giant robots entitled "Jagannath: Engines of Destruction." Two companies later he joined The Shadow of the Templars team. According to Howard, when he came onto the project, the overall story arc was in place and the locations the game would go, but what would happen in those locations was up in the air.35

Meeting of the section heads of the Neo-Templars

He recalls that the Fortean Times singled out one of his scenes, the scene in which the avatar eavesdrops on a meeting of the heads of the conspiracy, down in the Parisian catacombs. In the scene the section heads are reporting to the Grand Master how they've destabilized the military, industrial, and political establishments, ready for takeover once the Neo-Templars find the Broken Sword.36 Though Howard would continue to work on Broken Sword 2 and 3 as well, his experience with the game and positive feedback like in the Fortean Times inspired him to become a professional writer and after he had left Revolution he became author of the Johannes Cabal series of short stories and novels.37

As villains were needed in the game, the Knights Templar were portrayed as a group that was originally commendable and pure, but became a corrupt and evil force in the world, the Neo-Templars.38 The story of the Templars is slowly interwoven into the game by dialogues, scenes and sequences. At first it seems to be about bringing a murderer to justice, then it seems to become a treasure hunt as well, but its final twist consists in preventing that a plot by the Neo-Templars to overthrow existing powers becomes reality. A further complication is that besides the Neo-Templars the main character also has to deal with a competing group called the Hashshashin.39 In Spain the story includes a subplot in which the avatar helps an elderly countess to unravel the mystery about what has happened to her ancestors who were members of the Knights Templar.

The dialogues include many references to characters in literature, TV shows and films.40 Setting the game in various countries gave the writers the opportunity to play a bit with the different languages, as is demonstrated for instance in the Syrian episode (see the Nejo character below). From a narrative point of view The Shadow of the Templars has a more complicated structure than Temptress and Steel Sky, which is partly caused by the combination of the historical story and the present day story. By using various means such as special characters, dialogue hints and recaps, geographical boundaries, and interludes, the designers tried to make sure that the player doesn't loose track.

First concept drawings of George
How Nico started her life
After juxtaposing a peasant and a jester (Temptress), a "foster" child and his robot (Steel Sky), Revolution combined "male and female" in The Shadow of the Templars, and the new couple was dubbed George Stobbart and Nicole Collard.41 George became an American patent lawyer and adventurer, Nico a French photo-journalist. Stobbart was conceived as more laid back and flippant, which made at easier to write humorous dialogue for him, and Nico more sassy and determined, which made her character deeper. The reason to choose these nationalities was simply to appeal to the American and European Market.42

(c) All artwork copyright Revolution Software
(c) Text