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Articles

Murder Party on the Orient Express

by Randy Sluganski
November 16, 2006

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We partied like it was 1934. Well, actually it was 1934 inside the stylish Campbell Apartment at New York’s Grand Central Terminal during The Adventure Company’s launch party for Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express.

After a hellish day-long New York excursion turned treacherous by a pelting, freezing rain befitting a Noah’s Ark revival, the warmth and camaraderie of the Dreamcatcher staff was more than welcome.

Unlike the E3, where the noise and confusion make it impossible to evaluate any games in-depth, press parties offer an opportunity to meet development teams on a one-on-one basis and pick their brains at leisure. They also help to foster relationships by allowing JA to present the concerns of the adventure community to those with the most influence.

Samuel Rachett - click to enlarge
Rachett, Antoinette, Suzanne, Poirot & The Princess - click to enlarge
Poirot Investigates - click to enlarge

In attendance were a cast of characters from the game that included Detective Hercule Poirot, Antoinette Marceau (the new character added for the game), Countess Andrenyi and Samuel Ratchett. Each actor was dressed appropriately for the period and also stayed in character throughout the evening. It must be noted though that the actor portraying Hercule Poirot more resembled a poor man’s Charlie Chaplin and as for the actor portraying Samuel Ratchett, well, what’s a nice way to put this. . . the guy was a friggin’ nut case! His role-playing intensity frightened the bejabbers out of attendees and when he slowly pulled a (fake, but realistic looking) gun – from beneath his vest, my breathing momentarily stopped as I mentally assessed the reality of the situation (I had just entered the room and was not yet aware of the character actors) . After the event ended, I spotted ‘Ratchett’ outside Grand Central Terminal describing his acting ability to total strangers.

Dreamcatcher CEO Rich Wah Kahn was unfortunately unable to attend, but his shoes were more than ably filled by the debonair Marshall Zwicker, VP of Sales & Marketing. We chatted at length about numerous subjects, the most important being JoWood’s announced purchase of Dreamcatcher. Marshall firmly believes that it is an advantageous publishing arrangement for both companies as it opens new territories for game distribution. Marshall also let slip a little tidbit that, when announced, will rock the adventure community, but my lips are sealed for now.

Lee Sheldon - click to enlarge
Suzanne & Mike Adams - click to enlarge
Marshall Zwicker & Shelly Eckenroth - click to enlarge

Also representing Dreamcatcher were Suzanne MacGillivray, Public Relations Coordinator - who was striking in bright red - Byron Gaum, International Product Manager & Producer Mike Adams. Mike and Byron both took the time to present intensive demos of the Murder on the Orient Express game and also answer my numerous questions (and endure my silly Borat impressions).

Topmost on my long list was why not permit the gamer to play as Hercule Poirot, especially when famed Poirot portrayer David Suchet is voicing the super sleuth? Quite simply, Poirot is known for his methodical investigations and the gamer bumbling about searching for clues would not fit the character image, so better that we play as new character Antoinette Marceau. Having since finished the game, I’m glad to announce that playing as Antoinette does work and also that Poirot is freely available for advice throughout the game.

Also present were Mary Leddy and Shelly Eckenroth of Foghorn Public Relations, both of whom I’ve known for years but never before had the pleasure of meeting, and Murder on the Orient Express Scriptwriter Lee Sheldon with whom I had a long chat that we will soon post on JA.

So enjoy the pictures and we hope we’ve whetted your appetite for all of the upcoming special interviews, articles and finally review of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

New Yorkers in Love - click to enlarge

 

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