Flush with the success of Message in a Haunted Mansion we were able to hire an actual writer, Erin Brown, for Nancy’s 4th interactive mystery, Treasure in the Royal Tower. Erin was great to have on the design team and she prefaced each idea with “Maybe, maybe, maybe….”
Erin hated slider puzzles and had a great idea for how to deal with them: “Maybe, maybe – maybe we could like put a giant anvil hanging over a slider puzzle and you could just break the chain to smash it?”
Erin also had an odd fascination with food reflected in the strange menu of Wickford Castle.
The idea of a castle made up of parts from historic castles was Inspired by a visit to the Winchester House that the then Art Director, Laura Henion, and I visited when we attended the Game Developer’s Conference in San Jose.
It was great fun collaborating with Erin on Treasure. It was especially fun creating the ‘puzzlemeister’ character of Ezra Wickford, inventor of chocolate milk and regretful disciplinarian. And who couldn’t love the creator of the wildly popular Koko Kringle chocolate bars?
I think that the direction for Nancy’s uncovering Ezra’s secret room is one of the best in the series: the soft, wistful musical theme, the lighting of the candle to illuminate his joys and sorrows and the gradual melting of the wax to reveal his key. It was poetry to my eyes and ears!
Despite the difficult theme of Ezra and his regrets, we still kept it light especially with the zany character of Professor Hotchkiss played perfectly by Keri Healey. I remember struggling to script her eye blinks as she talked to Nancy behind the door. We were limited to 5 minutes of lip synching per character and had to use this device to stay within budget.
We joked about having the characters in the next game wear paper bags.