In partnership with Liber Primus Games, a Budapest-based indie developer dedicated to bringing “immersive story driven games to the digital marketplace,” Gollancz announced A Land Fit For Heroes yesterday: a mature-skewing Choose Your Own Adventure based, to begin with, on a property that science fiction and fantasy fans have a lot of love for, namely The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan. This is the pitch:
Kirellin of House Caith is a skilled war veteran, Calnar is a young Majak warrior and Ilaria is an accomplished thief. Each of their paths will cross in this adventure where they are tested to the extreme—but wherein the reader decides upon their fates.
Children go missing in the marshes. Ancient spirits awaken. Powerful machine-demons manipulate the fate of mankind. But all of this is just a game for even darker forces. In the first of its kind, bestselling author Richard Morgan brings his trilogy of novels to life as a three-player game-book set in the world of A Land Fit For Heroes.
A Land Fit For Heroes will be released “later this year” on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, as well as Amazon Kindle Fire and other Android platforms by way of Google Play. PC gamers are getting a version of the game-book too, where it’ll be distributed through Steam.
But what about the project’s provenance? Well, founded as it was in 2014, Liber Primus Games is a relatively new developer, but things move incredibly quickly in the mobile marketplace, and it’s already published a pair of game-books: parts one and two of a franchise known as The Narborian Saga.
Pocket Gamer was broadly positive about the first part, although its reviewer took particular issue with the shady save system, whereby players were had to buy “bookmarks” to record their progress—with in game currency, of course, though that rare resource could also be bought with actual pounds and pence.
Happily, there’s every reason to hope for a less mercenary monetisation model in A Land Fit For Heroes, not least because of Richard Morgan’s involvement. He’ll be “working closely with a great team of writers in the role of producer, or ‘show-runner,’” a spokesperson from the team told me. “He’s been consulting on all aspects of the plot and world-building from the very beginning, so this remains very much his world and readers of the trilogy can now look forward to revisiting it from a whole new perspective.”
“I’m extremely excited about this collaboration on A Land Fit For Heroes as a game-book,” the author himself said. “It’s a fresh format of storytelling for the trilogy and one I’m really looking forward to developing with Liber Primus Games over the coming months.”
This isn’t Richard Morgan’s first rodeo, either. Between the books that are his bread and butter, he’s assisted with the scripts of two other video game, specifically Crysis 2 in 2011 and Syndicate in 2012. Both of which I recall enjoying.
So what are we to make of A Land Fit For Heroes? Well, at this early stage, it’s a very promising project, based on superlative source material and bolstered by a developer with enough nous to know that the author’s involvement is a bona-fide boon. When the time comes, I imagine I’ll (ahem) buy it at a high price. But just the once! Got that, guys?
Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.