Orson Scott Card Talks Ender's Game: The Game

Orson Scott Card Talks Ender's Game: The Game

image

The last time Orson Scott Card was involved with a videogame what we got was the disappointing Advent Rising, but the sci-fi author has bigger and better plans for the game adaptations of his landmark novel, Ender's Game.

The first Ender's Game game will focus on the Battle Room, a simulated environment where children participate in war games and undergo training to prepare them for an intergalactic war against an evil alien species. Card, however, has a grander vision of where Ender's Game videogames can go beyond that title. "My hope and plan is that the Ender's Game computer and console games will not be mere tellings of the story, but rather true games with a high degree of replayability," Card said in an interview with Sci-Fi Channel.

Instead of simply creating a minimally interactive retelling of the novel's narrative, Card wants to immerse players in the Ender's Game universe. "In other words, you don't play the game once, so you can act out the story (as with, say, the Harry Potter movie-based games), and then discard it," Card explained. "The Ender's Game games will immerse you in the experience of different aspects of the life of these kids who train together in order to fight a war. I can see a Battle School online game as well as a Battle Room game, various Formic War games, even the Mind Game (or Fantasy Game) that Ender plays relentlessly on his computer."

It's nice to see a writer treating the adaptation of his work with this much earnestness and ambition, especially in the light of other videogame adaptations of literary classics. I'm not sure Card will ever get a fraction of the dozens of his ideas made into reality, but if you understand half of what Card's talking about (Formic Wars? Wha?), I'm sure you're excited for the possibilities.

[Via MTV Multiplayer]

Permalink

The Formic Wars was the whole battle with the alien buggers, wasn't it? Sounds interesting though, whoever he gets to design that beast is going to have to invent an entire genre of zero-G close quarters combat. Good luck Major Tom.

This sounds awesome. I've always thought that Ender's Game lent itself well to a movie or video game.

For the Battle School, a multiplayer first/third-person shooter would probably work, with the selling point of zero-G combat. Fast hard-hitting games... just remember, the gate is down.

The wars against the buggers were more like a strategy game - commanding fleets of ships against the buggers. Could go the multiplayer route and have a player per ship with a commander overseeing, or stick to singleplayer... or both.

L.B. Jeffries:
The Formic Wars was the whole battle with the alien buggers, wasn't it? Sounds interesting though, whoever he gets to design that beast is going to have to invent an entire genre of zero-G close quarters combat. Good luck Major Tom.

As hard as that would be, can you imagine how awesome it would be if they did it well. I'm filled with glee just thinking about it!

I remember thinking, "I want to play that game!" when reading Ender's Game.

If this works out well... I might die. Well, not literally. More as in go-numb-from-over-excitement.

My girlfriend goes crazy for Ender's Game. She's going to be very excited to hear this.

Finally! Ender's Game is the best book ever, I just hope the game can deliver on the promise by the book.

So... real people are going to play a game about playing a game that is actually real?

That's so meta.

The physics engine for that has got to be top-notch.

I'd rather have Zone of the Enders 3. Though this does sound a bit interesting.

As an avid fan of Ender's Game (and sequels), and as a CS student studying AI, physics and game design I say:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHH!

Whoever designs this is going to have one hell of a time getting it right, and if they get it even slightly wrong, it'll miss the whole damn point and they'll have the fans like me tearing them a new one. I hope it happens and I hope it works, but the odds are a longshot. I'm talking similar odds to ones Ender faces in the novels type longshot - they can't just take the best of existing games to make it, they have to build a whole new engine, no, practically a whole new GENRE of gameplay to make this work. I mean... ragdoll physics and third-person shooters will take care of n% of it, but... it hurts to think about. The mind boggles.

As for the Formic Wars, that's some crazy complex 3d strategy going on there.

And as for the Fantasy/Mind Game...

no, just no, never ever ever ever ever not until immersive virtual environments exist and complex heuristic AIs are invented will that EVER work. In essence, that game is either a lame clone of Myst, or what was actually depicted in the book. Nothing else works.

God I hope all three happen within my lifetime.

I hope they don't reach for too much in one go. I'd hate to have a game that's like hanging around the Gold Saucer all day, gambling tokens on minigames.

The main thing that looks like it could go "wrong" would be the 3D Zero G practice game. Platforming is hard enough from a first person perspective, even when only the feet are used in a few ways. A 3D Zero G FPS would have all those difficulties in spades. And you have to command other people too.

The Formic Wars (and trainers) would lend themselves better as games, if only because it's all been done before. My ships vs. your ships, but in three-d. Some missiles and bullets, and the little doctor. Very dry and abstract, at first glance, but the easiest to do.

Various minigames, yes, but we have Popcap for those.

I predict that what will come out of this will be either:
A) A paint-by-numbers RPG that follows Ender Wiggin. Expect lots of cutscenes to balance lack of gameplay. Plus minigames. In Space.
OR
B) Battle Training Simulator Commander, or whatever they title it. Take command of a band of young recruits. Train them, organize them, lead them, and battle other groups to be number one. Lends itself to online play, and could be very fun. Or the aforementioned difficulties of the newly-founded gengre could make it horrendous. Plus minigames. In Space.

[Edit]
I hope Card does get lots of say. Feist's dialogue and plotting are a big chunk of what made Betrayal at Krondor so great.

Yay! This makes me so happy to hear this, for the zero-g rooms they could do something like dead space but remove the magnetic boots.

I've always wanted to play that fantasy Mind Game.

xitel:
This sounds awesome. I've always thought that Ender's Game lent itself well to a movie or video game.

Ditto. This will be so cool if it works, but if it goes even slightly wrong, it'll probably be horrible.

I could see this being like the Harry Potter Quiditch game, in a sense, because you could choose your team, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, you can choose Ender's army, but maybe you won't. See what I'm saying?

Oh, and then you could control the commander of whatever Army you choose out of the war games.

I'm excited yes but I guess I'm just too much of a pessimist to accept that this will be good.

I loved the book it is one of my all time favs, but to turn it into a game? I heard some rumblings that it would be made into a movie, which if done right would have been awesome. But somethings just wont translate well as a game.

nilcypher:

L.B. Jeffries:
The Formic Wars was the whole battle with the alien buggers, wasn't it? Sounds interesting though, whoever he gets to design that beast is going to have to invent an entire genre of zero-G close quarters combat. Good luck Major Tom.

As hard as that would be, can you imagine how awesome it would be if they did it well. I'm filled with glee just thinking about it!

Who am I kidding? I'll be first in line. Wonder if it'll be a Wii version?

The arm waving might be appropriate for once.

I never read Ender's Game, but I did read Ender's Shadow and I quite enjoyed it.

But Jesus, I didn't think so many people liked that Ender book! I have my doubts that it would work, it works just as often as a movie adaptation of a book which isn't very many times. Book to video game doesn't seem like the exception.

What I'd love to see is a game based more on Card's shadow series. The later books where bean and the other genius of the battle academy attempt to take over the world. I think it could be done as an RTS style game where you would take the role of a battle academy student leading his nation army in battle against other nations and then you could have a large conquer the world map kinda like romance of the three kingdom between battle were you do diplomacy and strategic deployments of your troops. Card has said in interview before that the romance of the three kingdoms was one of his favorite games of all time.

Dead Space did zero G maneuvering alright. Ender's Game would just need to expand on that, since the suits don't have gravity boots and they move along walls by crawling. Just make it an FPS with a toggle between grab and bounce, then it automatically pushes off in whatever direction their aiming.

Doing the Shoot Through Legs trick seems like it would be more difficult however...

I should probably read some of these books, shouldn't I?

The Battle School in general is crying out for gameplay ala Bully.

It would be pretty controversial, but it would also be very much in line with the 'train the most ruthless and efficient kids possible' idea of the Battle School.

I'm not sure the Battle Room has enough gameplay to make an entire game out of it, although using a team based-approach online I suppose people might play it quite a bit. Allow enough flexibility in terms of tactics and it could be interesting.

Make the Battle Room part of a Bully-type game and take it online with persistent characters and it might take off.

Holy crap! That would be amazing. I remember talking to a friend of mine about pretty much the same idea, and how awesome it would be. I'd love to see this happen, assuming it will actually be good.

-Zen-:
I'd rather have Zone of the Enders 3. Though this does sound a bit interesting.

READ A BOOK!

READ A BOOK!

READ A MOTHERFUCKING BOOK!

Keane Ng:
I should probably read some of these books, shouldn't I?

Yes and no. Ender's Game is a lot better when you are a younger and more bitter teenager and such, and when you grow up it's kind of like "oh hey, that's not bad". Speaker for the Dead, the first book of the sequel trilogy (a sequel of three parts! How epic!) is also pretty good, but you may as well stop there. Xenocide and Children of the Mind are complete ass. I haven't read Ender's Shadow or Shadow of the Hedgemon, but I have heard they are pretty good as well.

As for the news story: I imagine we should be expecting this about the same time as the movie.

I love the entire Ender/Ender's Shadow sagas. If this game is even half of what my expectations for it are, I'll be happy.

It's funny because I actually posted a fairly well thought out way it could be executed on this forum in July.

My Post


Proof
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.63683#549107

ccesarano:

-Zen-:
I'd rather have Zone of the Enders 3. Though this does sound a bit interesting.

READ A BOOK!

READ A BOOK!

READ A MOTHERFUCKING BOOK!

I've read numerous of books, Skippy, but as it turns out, Ender's Game wasn't one of them. However, I hear they're good, so I acknowledge this as interesting. Thanks for insulting my intelligence.

Well, I'm glad that Orson Scott Card is smart enough to not want a movie tie-in as a game. A lot of authors would just sell the rights and let it go at that. Which is often a mixed bag. But that's what the movie/game industry is really used to. So I don't know how they'll react to an author with an idea (or two). I'm still wary about the movie version. There have been plenty of books I thought would be great movies that turned out to be chock full of suck when they were. And, of course, there are the adaptations I know will be chock full of suck (like Watchmen and The Spirit). And the game versions are generally worse (though I do recall that story about the Speed Racer game being better than the movie).

Ender's Game (and Ender's Game: The Game) could likewise suffer from that same "suckiness" if placed in the wrong hands (and all us gamers know what there are plenty of wrong hands, both in Hollywood and the Games Industry). But Orson is a smart guy (although he's absolutely out of his element when he opens his trap to talk about politics) so maybe he had conditions when he sold the rights to the games.

Jumplion:
I never read Ender's Game, but I did read Ender's Shadow and I quite enjoyed it.

But Jesus, I didn't think so many people liked that Ender book! I have my doubts that it would work, it works just as often as a movie adaptation of a book which isn't very many times. Book to video game doesn't seem like the exception.

Thing is, Shadow doesn't touch as much on what this game would be about, i.e The mind Game and Battleroom. It touches on them a little, but not enough to get a feel for it.

I heard about this a while ago. I also saw a disappointing 3D picture. However, I'm sure that the graphics will have improved enough by now, and hopefully the gameplay won't be ridiculously bad.

I'm curious to see how he adapts his ideas to fit them into the game.

A bit of your optimism has rubbed off on me, but... can this really work? I do not want an abomination of one of my favourite books, and I do not want a decent but different popular adaptation that will forever replace what the general public thinks of when you say Ender's Game.

The Gate is Down. I'm looking forward to seeing if they will do the zero G sections well or not.

Last I heard, Chair has been hired to make the game. Chair made that underwater-class-based shmup-ish thing that was given away for free to appease the dirty Live masses after the Great Outages of '07.

When I first heard about Card+Chair(who apparently are made up of developers that previously worked in the studio responsible for Advent Rising? This is purely out of memory, I'm not cross-referencing before speaking right now, sorry, it's late)+Battle Room, all I could think was that they'd take a similar approach, and do it in zero-G, instead of underwater.

All that thought did was make me very sad...

HobbesMkii:
Well, I'm glad that Orson Scott Card is smart enough to not want a movie tie-in as a game. A lot of authors would just sell the rights and let it go at that. Which is often a mixed bag. But that's what the movie/game industry is really used to. So I don't know how they'll react to an author with an idea (or two). I'm still wary about the movie version. There have been plenty of books I thought would be great movies that turned out to be chock full of suck when they were. And, of course, there are the adaptations I know will be chock full of suck (like Watchmen and The Spirit). And the game versions are generally worse (though I do recall that story about the Speed Racer game being better than the movie).

Ender's Game (and Ender's Game: The Game) could likewise suffer from that same "suckiness" if placed in the wrong hands (and all us gamers know what there are plenty of wrong hands, both in Hollywood and the Games Industry). But Orson is a smart guy (although he's absolutely out of his element when he opens his trap to talk about politics) so maybe he had conditions when he sold the rights to the games.

That's because Orson Scott Card is a gamer. He's been playing game since at least the NES days. I imagine he wouldn't ok any game that he wouldn't play. He does have experience with making games too. He did write the story for Advent Rising. It was an ok game and I liked the dialog and story. Just wish the controls had been better. Also I think he still retains the right to the anything Ender game related. If he refused to sell the rights to Hollywood I don't think he's going to sell the right to a game developer and walk away. I bet you he still has creative control and could pull the plug if he didn't like the product.

Also, the Watchmen movie sucking, I don't think that's going to happen. *crosses my finger and prays til the 7*

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here