Blood & Laurels now in the App Store

As promised: Blood & Laurels is now live in the App Store.

Versu

Cults. Conspiracies. Poison. Stabbing. Blackmail. Seduction. Prophecies and rumors. Divine wrath — or possibly just bad weather.

Our new Versu game, Blood & Laurels, is now live in the App Store for iPad.

With more than 10 times as much authored text as you are likely to see in a single playthrough, Blood & Laurels adapts strongly to what you choose to do, and what you choose to explore. Scheme, romance, murder, or choose your own ideals and stick to them. It’s up to you.

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12 thoughts on “Blood & Laurels now in the App Store

    • We’d love to do an Android port, but we’re starting with what was already launch-ready when the project left Linden. Whether and when we’re able to accommodate other platforms — which we very much want to do — will depend on our resources, as we’re now a smaller team.

  1. Once again, congratulations on seeing this project finally come to fruition! The promo video looks very sharp as well!

  2. Quick note: I think one of the sample screenshots in the app store is a bit spoilery (the one with the cast). Maybe substitute a “neutral” one from before any plot happens?

  3. Congratulations Emily! I snagged B&L as soon as I woke up this morning and ran all the way through Part 2. Can’t wait to see what sort of trouble unfolds.

  4. I don’t have an iPad, so I won’t be able to play this, but congratulations to getting this on the market! More games set in ancient times is always a good thing, and since it has your name on it, I have no doubt that it is excellent.

  5. It’s nicely done and I look forward to seeing more in future! Congrats to Emily and team.

    This is significantly more replayable than the other stories making it good value for money. I did play it several times and appreciated that the story arc could go in genuinely different directions with plenty of new and interesting content. Though I missed being able to play in other roles, this was probably necessary to create plot content centered around a specific protagonist.

    One opportunity to add even more replayability and interest to stories using this engine could be if the motivations/dispositions of the other characters can be slightly randomized so they are not necessarily as predictable after having played before. Ie, if in one playthrough Gila may have been secretly pining for Marcus and longing to reunite with him, and in another she is full of contempt for his impiety and could be openly hostile if you don’t notice and address that. In this way you would have to study how the characters react to you and can’t assume they will behave in largely the same way every playthrough if you make the same choices.

    I think the realism of the character interactions are also continuing to improve since the initial stories, but would agree with what was posted elsewhere about the “uncanny valley”; ie since the dialogue is approaching verisimilitude in places it seem be all the more jarring when the occasional awkward bit pops up. (some examples with minor spoilers below)

    For instance on summoning the ghost of the dead emperor I was presented with the choice to make it my new love interest (apparently I’m not its type). In other situations, it was clear that the author had invested in writing unique text that was specific to a particular dramatic moment in the story; but in the midst of this the AI or player character may interject generic responses or non-sequiturs presumably relating to another less important affordance or practice going on at the time, causing significant bathos. E.g. in the opening scene, immediately after witnessing the omen of the bloody egg and screaming with blood dripping down her chin, Sophronia spontaneously fed me an olive while continuing to declaim how devastated she was by this portent of doom.

    After watching a dramatic death in the arena there can be a conversation where the Emperor asks Marcus if he has been a wise ruler; Marcus can choose to throw caution to the winds and deliver a long, scathing and well-written indictment of his many misdeeds. I was on the edge of my seat to see if the Emperor had expected an honest answer and may even have agreed, or would execute him consistent with his character, but instead it triggered a generic response to mild criticism:
    Emperor (looking mildly annoyed): Don’t treat me like that again.
    M: Sorry if I offended you.
    E (smiling): All right. We won’t say anything about it again.
    M: (Grins.)
    The same minor interactions work well in other places, so I wonder if there’s some way to give different weighting to social practices or circumstances that have higher dramatic importance or have happened more recently, making it less likely to trigger a banal response or non-sequitur at a dramatic moment in the story.

    Also I was interested to read how the Prompter language is enabling content development to proceed more quickly, and hope this is an omen of many more stories in future. Do you still have eventual plans to open this for IF development by other authors?

    • Thanks for the detailed feedback!

      Re. eventual plans, I’m just not in a position to make promises about that, I’m afraid. I’d love to do that, but I don’t know what’s going to be practically possible. But if we do reach that point I will certainly do my best to make sure everyone knows about it. :)

  6. Purchased the app immediately after seeing this post.
    However on my iPad 4 (ios 7.1) it stays forever on the “loading versu AI first time” page… Redownloaded a few times, still does not work.
    How long does the configuration phase normally take? Is internet connection required for loading(my country blocks a lot of web services so it might be problematic if the app tries to connect to a blocked server)?

    • Sorry to hear you’re having trouble! It should not take long to configure, nor should it need server access. However, we’ve had a couple of reports of users having difficulty related to language/region settings. My first suggestion: try setting the iPad’s language to English and “Region format” to Europe, and try again to load the game. Once it is loaded properly, you should be able to go back to whatever your standard settings are to play.

      Sorry for the inconvenience — we’re still tracking down exactly why this happens, but I imagine there is something in the initial loading process that makes assumptions about file names or structure that don’t hold in all languages.

      • Thanks for the reply!
        It now works after I changing region format to Europe (my system language setting was English so region format issue alone caused the freeze in my case)!

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