Pan-industry publisher lineup set to reinvent The Thirty-Nine Steps

25 January 2013 - Glasgow, Scotland: Interactive content developer The Story Mechanics is pleased to announce a groundbreaking publishing consortium to bring to market its digital adaptation of John Buchan’s classic thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps.

The pioneering deal sees three publishers from three different sectors working alongside each other to release The Thirty-Nine Steps across iPad, Mac and PC platforms. The distribution partnership spans the book, casual gaming and core gaming marketplaces.

The line-up is confirmed as Faber and Faber (iOS and OSX via App Store), Avanquest (PC retail) and KISS Ltd (PC digital), with a release date set for 15th March 2013.

The Story Mechanics’ adaptation of The Thirty-Nine Steps is a new form of digital entertainment that bridges the gap between literature, film and gaming - combining words, cinematography and relevant player interactions to deliver a powerful and coherent story experience.

The debut title is a remake of John Buchan’s classic spy novel, set in 1914 before the onset of WW1. Using a unique on-location reading system, gesture control sequences and more than 300 hand-painted environments, players are transported into the world of the book, where they bring Richard Hannay’s adventure to life.

The product features an original soundtrack by Si Begg, theatrical performances directed by the Citizens Theatre’s Guy Hollands, and original artwork by acclaimed artists Paul Scott Canavan and Andy Hepworth. Playtime is 6-7 hours.

The Thirty-Nine Steps is made with the Unity games engine, and uses a system of bespoke story mechanics to transform the written word into an interactive story experience such as has not been seen before.

The Story Mechanics’ creative lead Simon Meek

said: ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps is the first of a new breed of interactive entertainment that brings powerful and emotive storytelling to audiences via digital platforms. We believe the product has the potential to reach out to audiences everywhere - whether they’re core gamers, casual gamers, digital readers or anyone else with a passion for a great story. We have taken great care to hand-pick the best publishing partners need to take this new product to widest possible market.’

Henry Volans, Head of Digital Publishing at Faber said: “This compelling and faithful new version of The Thirty-Nine Steps is an interactive thriller: much closer to a game than anything Faber has published before. We’re proud to be working with The Story Mechanics as we continue our work to take stories beyond the existing boundaries of the ebook form.”

Simon Reynolds, European Games Director at Avanquest said:“We at Avanquest are delighted to be working with Story Mechanics on The Thirty-Nine Steps.  It’s an innovative and unique project, and something that we are excited to be involved with. We’re sure our retail partners will be as excited as we are.”

Darryl Still, CEO at KISS said: ““When we started Kiss we were looking for creative, innovative product that stepped outside of the industry humdrum and offered us something truly different to work with. The Story Mechanics have that in spades and we are delighted to be able to take their great products to the digital marketplace”.


The Story Mechanics is the digital storytelling arm of Scottish independent production company Tern TV. The Story Mehanics is the company behind the multi award-winning (digital) and KNTV (TV)  series for Channel 4, and is also responsible for the BBC’s Beauty of Maps multiplatform series and an array of other productions for the likes of SyFy, ITV, C4 Education and BBC Learning. Tern’s TV arm delivers to BBC, National Geographic, ITV, Sky and UKTV.


Founded in 1929 by Geoffrey Faber, Faber and Faber remains one of the UK’s leading independent publishing houses. Faber publishes fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books alongside its garlanded lists of poetry, drama, music and film.


Avanquest Software is one of the world’s leading software developers and publishers, with operations in Europe, North America and China, and marketing its software titles through Retail, Corporate, OEM and Direct-to-Consumer channels. The company is committed to innovation in the design, development and publishing of world-class, easy-to-use and affordable software.


Kiss Ltd is a full service management company with nearly 60 years experience in the leisure software industry. Our focus is on new digital distribution channels and we have excellent contacts with the key people within all of the major digital vendors.


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