|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2010)|
Artwork for the compilation Blackwell Bundle.
From left to right: Convergence, Unbound and Legacy.
|Developer(s)||Wadjet Eye Games|
|Publisher(s)||Wadjet Eye Games|
|Engine||Adventure Game Studio|
|Release date(s)||23 December 2006 (Legacy)
4 September 2007 (Unbound)
22 July 2009 (Convergence)
12 October 2011 (Deception)
|Distribution||CD (1) or Internet download|
Blackwell is an indie graphic adventure video game series consisting of four games: The Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound, Blackwell Convergence and Blackwell Deception. The first game was released on 23 December 2006, the second on 4 September 2007, the third on 22 July 2009, and the fourth was released on 12 October 2011. The games were designed by Dave Gilbert, creator of The Shivah and Two of a Kind, and published by Wadjet Eye Games. The first three games were later released on a compilation called Blackwell Bundle. Dave Gilbert is currently working on Blackwell Epiphany, the fifth and last instalment in the series, which is due to be released in early 2014.
All four games are retro-style point-and-click graphic adventure games.
The Blackwell Legacy
The protagonist of the game is Rosangela Blackwell (Rosa), who is a young freelance writer living a solitary life in New York City. Soon after her only relative, aunt Lauren Blackwell, passes, she is asked to write about a suicide in a college dorm. Rosa experiences headaches throughout the day and it culminates in a ghost named Joey Mallone making an appearance in her apartement. He explains that she is a "medium" like her aunt and that her job is to help ghosts that are stuck in the real world "move on". Reluctantly she accepts the explanation and proceeds to solve a case about the girl whose ghost is now haunting a dog park. She soon discovers that the girl is one of three close friends and that two of them have already committed suicide after they summoned a restless ghost with a ouija board. She learns how to and helps the ghost "move on". The third girl also attempts to commit suicide but is taken to the hospital, where Rosa finds her and the restless ghost. She then helps the ghost move on as well.
The game runs under the Adventure Game Studio platform. It was nominated for 4 AGS Awards for games released in 2006 and won the award for Best Character Art. Character art was drawn by Ian 'Big Brother' Schlapfer of Herculean Effort Productions.
Known for its excellent story and voiceovers, the game starred Sande Chen as Rosangela Blackwell and Abe Goldfarb as Joey Mallone. It was re-released in 2011, with Rebecca Whittaker starring as Rosangela (reprising the role from the later games in the series). This was done for consistency with the later games, but also because Dave Gilbert wanted to change some of Rosangela's dialogue, and add some new lines.
The second game is a prequel to Legacy and follows the investigations of Rosa's aunt Lauren Blackwell and Joey back in the 70s. They investigate two ghosts – a murdered saxophone player and a murdered woman haunting a construction site of her old apartment building. While investigating the two seemingly unrelated incidents, Lauren discovers that both ghosts have been murdered by the same elderly, homeless woman that calls herself The Countess. She claims that she is a medium like Lauren and is also helping the people move on. But she is in fact mad and is killing them. The duo tries to catch her, but she escapes. Puzzled that about The Countess' claims about being a medium, despite the obvious lack of a spirit guide following her, they discover that she is using New Yorker journalist Joseph Mitchell as a spirit guide substitute and kills whoever he writes about. Mitchell himself eventually made the connection himself, and stopped writing all together out of fear of getting anyone else killed. Lauren then convinces Mitchell to write about her to lure The Countess out of hiding. The plan works and she arrives at Lauren's place to kill her, where she is overpowered and Lauren is forced to kill her. At the end of the game, Lauren decides to get in touch with her brother again, despite Joey's misgivings about it.
As with Legacy, Unbound uses the Adventure Game Studio engine. Unbound was originally supposed to be a flashback sequence in the next game, Blackwell Convergence, but it grew so large that it became a game in its own right. The game was nominated for Best Story and won Best Music in the AGS Awards for games released in 2007.
The third game takes place six months after Rosangela met Joey. While visiting an gallery viewing, Rosa starts to investigate a possible lead from a director at a film company. She soon finds out that an actor from their recent film has been murdered. Rosa also finds out about an old murder of a researcher whose work was stolen to benefit a rivaling corporation. Finally, on the gallery's opening night The Countess makes an appearance as a ghost and kills the artist whose painting are on display. In all three cases, the companies are funded by a venture capitalist firm Meltzer Foundation and Rosa finds out that they benefited greatly from all three deaths. Rosa confronts them and also learn that it was The Countess who did the killings after forming a bond with Charles Meltzer, one of two brothers owning the Meltzer Foundation. He tries to kill Rosa as well, but The Countess' old guide Madeline interferes and Rosa helps her to break the bond between The Countess and Charles Meltzer. Freed from the bond, The Countess tries to take revenge on Charles, but is stopped by Rosa and Joey and Rosa helps her to move on. Rosa learns that The Countess broke her bond with her host Madeline and soon lost her mind; she then bonded with Joe Gould, later Joseph Mitchell, and finally Charles Meltzer who acted as her hosts.
This game was originally to be released sometime around June 2008, but was delayed for a variety of reasons. However, the game was released on July 22, 2009 to mostly positive reviews.
Two real people are included in the cast of characters: writer Joseph Mitchell returns, as well as New York eccentric Joe Gould.
The fourth game focuses on Rosa and Joey again and takes place some time after the third game. Rosa receives a call from her former newspaper employer asking to investigate a case for him. She soon finds out that he has been murdered while investigating a contact given by a psychic Lisa Tenzin. Rosa then proceeds to solve two more murder cases and finds out that Lise had both referred both to a man named Gavin. She confronts the psychic about their deaths and it turns out Gavin had brainwashed her into helping him. Gavin has in fact been "feeding" on their energy to remain immortal. Gavin then captures Rosa and kills Lisa who tries to escape. He brainwashes Rosa into trapping Joey and tries to feed on her. However, Joey escapes and manages to bring Rosa to her senses. As she breaks Gavin's ritual of feeding on her, she accidentally kills him. Since Gavin fed on large amount of Souls he tries to resurrect himself but Lisa's Ghost distracts him. Rosa took advantage and dragged him as well as Lisa's Soul to the Gates where someone unseen stopped Gavin from moving on and, in order to punish Gavin for failing his mission, somehow destroyed his Soul. After Lisa's departure Rosa, confused by her purpose, decides to track down the organization that was behind Gavin and found a full scale "Ghost Investigation" Agency.
The game was released on October 12, 2011. An updated version was released on October 31, 2013. Notably, this version changed the character portraits from the original comic-style, to a more realistic style matching the other games in the series.
The project originally began as Bestowers of Eternity. This game was released as free software in 2003 via the Internet under that title, and gained much popularity. Subsequently it was decided for the project to be extended and redone into a proper commercial product – and thus The Blackwell Legacy was born.
Gilbert has previously stated for the concept of The Shivah that he wanted to do an investigation, but have the hero be someone other than a detective. On a separate occasion, he mentioned that he watched a movie about a medium contacting her spirit guide, and started thinking about what the poor spirit must go through to help this woman. From the union of these two ideas, Joey and Rosa's relationship was born.
|The Blackwell Legacy||Blackwell Unbound||Blackwell Convergence||Blackwell Deception||Blackwell Epiphany|
|Coding & Writing||Dave Gilbert|
|Character Art||Ian Schlaepfer||Erin Robinson||Shane Stevens||Ben Chandler|
|Background Art||Tom Scary, Chris Femo||Luminous Arts, Karen Petrasko||Indrek Plavutski||Ben Chandler|
|Additional Art||Eyal Jammer||Eyal Jammer, Julie Gilberg||Eyal Jammer, Jenna Leder||Shane Stevens, Eyal Jammer, Jenna Leder, Emma Grahn, Jose Navarro, Luminous Arts, Ian Schlaepfer|
|Music||Peter Gresser||Thomas Regin|
Characters and voice actors
|The Blackwell Legacy||Blackwell Unbound||Blackwell Convergence||Blackwell Deception||Blackwell Epiphany|
|Rosangela Blackwell||Sande Chen (original)
Rebecca Whittaker (re-release)
|Joey Mallone||Abe Goldfarb|
|Kelly Hawthorne||Chen-yung Hsu|
|Adrian Tucker||Thomas Tucker|
|Nishanthi Sharma||Ruth Weber||Nonie Craige|
|Jim Burdo||Matt Garnder|
|Dr. Quentin||Joe Rodriguez|
|Hospital Guard||Francisco Gonzalez|
|Alli Montego||Chen-yung Hsu|
|Susan Lee||Jennifer Estaris|
|The Deacon||John Swist|
|Lauren Blackwell||Dani Marco|
|Isaac Brown||Daryl Lathon|
|Mavis Wilcox||Chen-Young Hsu|
|The Countess||Stephanie Cox-Williams||Ronica Reddick|
|Cecil Sharpe||Daryl Lathon|
|Joseph Mitchell||Dave Gilbert|
|Harriet Sherman||Shelly Smith|
|Sam Durkin||Francisco Gonzalez||Francisco Gonzalez|
|Jack Blackwell||Dave Gilbert|
|Columbia Operator||Julia Detar|
|New York Receptionist||Brandon Van Slyke|
|Allen Reiken||Brian Silliman|
|Josie Park||Shelly Smith-Shenoy|
|Claude Urdin||Daryl Lathon|
|Monique Stahlman||Ronica Reddick|
|Minetta Bartender||Dave Gilbert|
|Paul Meltzer||Marcus Weems|
|Frank Lyons||Francisco Gonzalez|
|Charlie Meltzer||Dave Gilbert|
|Madeline||Nonie Craige||Jennifer Holmes|
|Joe Gould||Marcus Weems|
|Martin Goldwater||Marcus Weems|
|Ryan Jacobs||Michael Gambino|
|Jeremy Sams||Edward Bauer|
|Madison Haines||Shelly Shenoy|
|Penelope Haines||Jennifer Holmes|
|Danny Marconi||Dave Gilbert|
|Lisa Tenzin||Rachel Rydzewski|
|Tiffany Walters||Miranda Gauvin|
|Rachel Abu||Jennifer Holmes|
|Kenneth Sharpe||Daryl Lathon|
|Elaine Appleton||Mercedes Rose|
|Jamie Graham||Sara Elmaleh|
|Seb Frederick||Dave Gilbert|
||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (September 2013)|
- "Postmortem: Wadjet Eye's The Blackwell Convergence". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "The Blackwell Bundle Tech Info". GameSpot.com. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "When Giveaways Go Wrong: Wadjet Eye Interview". Rockpapershotgun.com. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
- Wadjet Eye Games. The Blackwell Legacy. PC. (23 December 2006)
- Gilbert, Dave. "Another question for the fans: Blackwell upgraded!". Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- Wadjet Eye Games. Blackwell Unbound. PC. (4 September 2007)
- Wadjet Eye Games. Blackwell Convergence. PC. (22 July 2009)
- Wadjet Eye Games. Blackwell Deception. PC. (12 October 2011)
- "Review of Blackwell Legacy". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- "Review of Blackwell Unbound". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- "Review of Blackwell Convergence". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- "Review of Blackwell Deception". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Review of Blackwell Legacy". GameZebo. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Review of Blackwell Unbound". GameZebo. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Review of Blackwell Convergence". GameZebo. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Review of Blackwell Deception". GameZebo. Retrieved June 27, 2012.