The BBC tries hidden objects with Jane Austen-inspired Rogues and Romance

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By Kathleen De Vere Comments

The BBC is the latest company to try its hand at the ballooning Facebook hidden object genre, announcing today a game based on Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice called Jane Austen’s Rogues and Romance. The game is currently in closed beta with a tentative launch window set for March.

Rogues and Romance will follow the adventures of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy after they are married and somehow manage to escape from the pages of Pride and Prejudice. Players will be tasked with tracking down the couple, searching in scenes pulled from all six of Austen’s novels. Players will also be able attend and host formal balls, trade calling cards, decorate their own manor houses and collect 19th century costumes.

The game is being developed by L.A.-based Legacy Interactive, in association with the BBC’s commercial subsidiary, BBC Worldwide. Legacy has previously made branded games for Fox’s House, M.D. and Mean Girls and Murder, She Wrote.

“Social interaction is at the core of Austen’s work and we felt that was a concept we could explore that had a natural synergy with Facebook,” said Robert Nashak, the BBC’s executive vice president of digital entertainment and games in a statement accompanying the announcement.

The works of Jane Austen have long inspired a dedicated, mostly female, fanbase eager to experience the world of Jane Austen and her creations through Austen-themed vacations, conferences and even formal 19th century-style balls. However, even while the source material is likely to be a hit with the game’s target demographic, competition in the rapidly growing hidden object genre is heating up.  Earlier this week, Disney Playdom announced it would be following up its runaway hidden object hit Gardens of Time with Blackwood & Bell Mysteries; last week News Corp-owned Making Fun launched its photorealistic take on the genre, Hidden Haunts; in January, Zynga moved into the space with the launch of Hidden Chronicles, a game developed by a team of industry veterans including hidden object expert Cara Ely; and almost at the same time, Vostu launched competing hidden object title World Mysteries.

Rogues and Romance is the BBC’s second foray into social gaming. Last year the company teamed with Utinni Games to create a Facebook game based on its popular supernatural drama Being Human. The broadcaster also recently announced it will officially launch its Doctor Who themed MMO, Dr. Who: Worlds in Time in March.