Inkle (company)

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Privately held
IndustryVideo game
FoundedNovember 2011 (2011-11)
FounderJon Ingold, Joseph Humfrey
United Kingdom
Products80 Days

Inkle is a game company based in Cambridge, United Kingdom that specialises in interactive narrative, i.e. text-focused computer video games. They are notable for games such as 80 Days, which was Time Magazine's Game of the Year in 2014, and Sorcery!, a recreation of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! gamebook series.[1]

Inkle has also created inklewriter, an online tool for creating interactive fiction.


Inkle was founded in November 2011 by Jon Ingold and Joseph Humfrey.[2] Their first project was an interactive, choice-based version of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, written by gamebook author Dave Morris and published by Profile Books.[3] It received mixed reactions, earning a Kirkus Reviews "Best of 2012" star, while The Guardian described it as "digital butchery", noting it's "bewildering" format and how, despite being billed as "interactive", users cannot change how the base story plays out.[4][5]

In May 2013 they released the first game in a fantasy series, Sorcery! , based on gamebooks by famous UK games designer Steve Jackson. The adaptation was widely praised, with IGN calling it "a prime example of what can happen when traditional storytelling gets along with contemporary game design".[6] The first sequel followed in November 2013 and was substantially larger in scope, with the final two instalments published in April 2015 and September 2016.[7]

They have collaborated with Penguin Books on two apps. "Poems By Heart" is a memorisation game intended to help readers learn poetry and was chosen as one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013.[8] In the same year they worked with author Kelley Armstrong on "The Cainsville Files", a visual-novel style interactive prequel to her Cainsville book series.[9]

Gamasutra named them one of their top 10 developers of 2014, saying their game 80 Days "set an exciting bar for what mainstream interactive fiction could look like... without sacrificing sophistication and depth for accessibility".[10] The New York Times cited it an example of successful interactive storytelling while The Telegraph called it "one of the best branching narratives ever created" and "one of the best books of 2014".[11][12][13]

Authoring tools[edit]

Inkle have also created inklewriter, an online tool for creating interactive fiction.[14] It was used in schools and was awarded a "Best Website for Teaching and Learning" award by American Association of School Librarians in 2013.[15][16] It was also used by some game developers, such as Stoic Studios to aid in development of their game The Banner Saga.[17][18] In August 2018, Inkle closed inklewriter[19] citing lack of time to solve its issues. Instead, Inkle promotes ink,[20] a markup language for interactive fiction and a specialised editor inky. The language is available under the open-source MIT license and can be integrated in game engines.


Year Title Genre(s) Platform(s)
2012 Frankenstein Interactive novel iOS
2013 Sorcery! Part 1: The Shamutanti Hills text/graphic adventure iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS
2013 Sorcery! Part 2: Kharé: Cityport of Traps text/graphic adventure iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS
2014 80 Days Interactive fiction iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS
2015 Sorcery! Part 3: The Seven Serpents text/graphic adventure iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS
2016 Sorcery! Part 4: The Crown of Kings text/graphic adventure iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS
2019 Heaven's Vault adventure Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4


  1. ^ "These Are the Top 10 Video Games of 2014". Time. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  2. ^ "inkle - About us". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  3. ^ "Blog - 'Frankenstein' Reborn: Profile, inkle, Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson launch new app - Profile Books". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  4. ^ FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley , Dave Morris , Inkle Studios , Profile Books | Kirkus Reviews.
  5. ^ Baddeley, Anna (2012-04-14). "Digital butchery makes a monster of Frankenstein". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  6. ^ Sorcery! -, retrieved 2018-09-23
  7. ^ "Sorcery! Part 2 due late Sep/early Oct on iOS". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  8. ^ POEMS BY HEART by Penguin Group USA , Inkle Studios | Kirkus Reviews.
  9. ^ "Kelley Armstrong's Cainsville Files Review | 148Apps". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  10. ^ Staff. "The Top 10 Game Developers of 2014". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  11. ^ Cameron, Phill (2014-08-18). "80 Days review". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  12. ^ "Virtual Worlds Invite Visitors Into the Story". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  13. ^ Martin, Tim (2014-11-23). "Christmas Books 2014: best fiction to read". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  14. ^ Alexander, Leigh. "New, free tools allow any novice to make an accessible text adventure". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "If you've ever wanted to create your own gamebooks, inklewriter could be the website for you". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  18. ^ "The Banner Saga – Single Player Progress". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  19. ^ inklewriter is shutting down.
  20. ^ ink - inkle's narrative scripting language

External links[edit]