Broken Sword designer retires after 30 years in the industry, laments the 'threat of AI' to the next generation of creators

A character from Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror remastered looks out a plane window towards a the ocean.
(Image credit: Revolution Software Ltd)

On June 20, Steve Ince announced his retirement on LinkedIn after over 30 years of working in the gaming industry. Ince has enjoyed an impressive career and was a big part of the Broken Sword series, classic point-and-click adventure games that date back to 1996 with Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (which received a Director's Cut in 2010). He's built up an impressive portfolio during his long career—production, writing, and even creating art for games like Beneath a Steel Sky, as well as credits in The Witcher and Resident Evil: Village. 

Ince is, in his own words, reaching "retirement age here in the UK", and also cites concerns with the rapid advancement of technology: "Games have developed unbelievably in the last three decades since I began working for Revolution Software," he remarks. "I must admit that I struggle to keep up."

"I'm also a little concerned about the threat of AI, and I fear that it may undermine the careers of many writers and creatives in the game industry and beyond. So it may be a good time to retire for this reason alone."

It must be strange for an experienced writer and artist in the games industry to see a lean towards AI interference with both parts of those creative processes. We've already seen the tech start making headway in games like Hidden Door, the creator of which PC Gamer's Tyler Wilde interviewed earlier this month. Firmament, a puzzle game from Myst developer Cyan Worlds, also listed "AI assisted content" in its credits. 

Despite an uncertain future for creatives in the industry at large, Steve Ince looks back fondly on his career: "There have been so many people that I've worked with over the years who have made working on video games pleasurable, rewarding, exciting, and challenging. Many of them have made me a better writer, artist [and] game designer in the process," he goes on to thank the founders of Revolution, for "giving me the initial break." 

Ince gives us a heartfelt sign-off: "I have many more years of creativity ahead of me, but my days of working on video games are drawing to a close. Thank you." He plans to retire in February next year, but won't be putting the pen down for good. "I find I'm increasingly drawn towards writing books—particularly, children's books," said Ince, "and hope that those who wish to support my work in the future will read my stories."

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.