Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Games and Books

It appears Random House is changing the field of video game adaptations. Most often, the way it’s been done in the past is video game to book. Now, Random House has set up a whole new branch that will handle “transmedia intellectual property.” This means, according to GamePro, the video game’s story content will be available through multiple media sources - “video games, social networks on the web, mobile platforms, in print and on film.”

Random House will do more than just authorize a book based on the game.
…the publisher will license the universe and let authors, game developers, or even comic book writers express the IP in different formats.
Random House will, of course, still be directly involved in book deals for video games. Brad Wardell, Stardock CEO and developer of Elemental: War of Magic, didn’t automatically get approval to write a novel based on his game.
Wardell had to submit sample chapters to earn the right to write a novel set in his own universe. After approving his submission, the newly-formed transmedia IP branch worked directly with him to edit the manuscript and cross-check it against the video game's writing so that both properties were consistent in style, tone, and quality
His novel will be out this August.

How many of you are game players or even game designers, artists or programmers? Would you feel qualified to write a book based on a game you worked on or played?
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22 comments:

  1. Wow. Can't wait to read Frogboy's novel*. I wonder how his head-bloated pomposity will translate to the realm of fiction.

    The Random House initiative sounds like picking over the bones of the IP. Confused how this relates to Elemental** though. I'm reading this as if Random House has a measure of control over the Elemental IP, but unless something radical has happened recently, Stardock (Wardell's company) is self-funding and self-publishing the game.


    (* I will NOT be reading Brad Wardell's novel.)
    (** I will definitely be buying Elemental. Frogboy is full of it but you can't fault the games his company makes.)

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  2. This must be their way of diversifying...

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  3. Not a gamer, and would have no idea how to write a game. But it's an interesting development, one that seems a natural growth out of current trends, hmm?

    The Old Silly

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  4. I wouldn't know how to do it, but I know my husband or son could. I'm not too surprised RH is taking this path.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  5. The way I read it is that the authors won't be writing the game - that's already been done. They'll be writing books or comic books based on the game - taking it into another realm.

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  6. Interesting genre, definitely. Gamers seem so fanatical with their games, I wonder if this passion will translate over to the game books.

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  7. Wow. It will be interesting to see how that goes over. Creating a game is a very different skill than writing a book. I wonder how many will even want to try it.

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  8. Book to game? New twist. I love to play them but wouldn't want to write one.

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  9. My son is a big game player and book reader. I think he would do both.

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  10. I've never played a video game. Being addicted to Spider Solitaire is enough for me in terms of distraction.
    Karen

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  11. Other than solitaire, I am not a game player. That’s a good thing since I spend far too much time sitting in front of a computer screen already.

    I’m sure I don’t have the imagination to write a book that could bring about a game.

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  12. Just another indication that the world of publishing is evolving at breakneck speed. Hard to keep up sometimes and I appreciate that you find these news items to share.

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  13. I don't play video games either. My husband used to play Link long ago. Now the games are huge online game experiences. My son not only plays the games, he's getting a degree in game design. It seems to me, that to write a book based on a game, you'd have to be an avid player of that game.

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  14. To me game to book appears to be a bad idea from a literature point of view. Comercially, it will probably be a great success, sucking more money out of the gamers.

    Personally, I think all video games are damn boring, and the books based on them would probably be even worse. World of Warcraft, the book, would just be a crap version of Lord of the Rings.

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  15. My guess is that the books based on games, surely, would be storylines that branch out from the games themselves, taking the game characters to new territories and adventures.

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  16. I on't play video games. I don't have the time. But I can see where an author can get inspiration from them. I don't think I would write a book based on one, although I could loosely base a hybrid-story on elements from about a dozen or so games.

    Stephen Tremp

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  17. This news to doesn't surprise me. With the rise of many new e-book readers, the development of interactive books will make them seem more like video games anyway. I suppose that this is the first step in acquiring new products for that format.

    As far as today's video games go, they do actually hire writers, and many games have pretty complex story lines and characters. Video games like Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid come to mind.

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  18. I agree, Christina. The storylines in online games can be extensive. I learned that while I was writing a book on Video Gaming.

    For a while now there have been interactive books for children. The book would have a website for kids to go to and to all kinds of stuff related to the story. Now, it can be combined right within the book.

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  19. Maybe I should send the writing son that way.

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  20. I have a friend who earns some income writing dialogue for some game developers. It might be something authors will get into in the future although I think screen writers might be better at it than novelists.
    If there is anyway to get those kids to put down the game controllers and pick up a book I'm all for it.

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  21. Agree with last point by Susan above. More important that you read than what you read. Reading junk literature is better than nothing >:)

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  22. You're right about screenwriters, Susan. For screenplays and games, you have to write tight, meaningful dialogue. Taking screenwriting classes is a great idea for all writers, whether you plan to write screenplays or not.

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