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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Right now, taking a (short) break from the WoT rewrite to spend an evening working on the Mistborn video game script.
Any plans for a WoT game?
Yes, there are many plans. I don't know how far along they are, however.
Any news for a date on WoT?
Fall, most likely.
For those curious, I did finish the video game work I needed to do last night, and am back at work on the WoT revision today.
Was Towers of Midnight the last book to be published? I live in Ireland so news travels slow. XD
Before we wrap up, Brandon have you got any news about movies or a Mistborn game?
Yes, the Mistborn video game is very much a go, the guys at little orbit have just been awesome, we are working together to make an excellent game I hope. I'm working on the story, I've turned in to them an overarching story for the whole, for the game and they are taking that and building the game and level design around that and then I will come back after they've done that and I will write the dialog for the characters that moves the story along, so the videogame is a completely go, cross-platform ps3, Xbox 360 and steam for 2013.
The movie we are pitching to studios this month, so hopefully we can get something rolling on that, I have no news other than what I posted on my blog which is we've now got a good screenplay, it's quite good and we're now trying to pitch to studios and trying to convince somebody to pick this thing up and run with it. We're really hoping that, you know fantasy has a really good reputation right now because of the excellent Game of Thrones adaptation and so we're hoping that people will take a look at some good fantasy properties and that we can get a film made.
Mistborn:Birthright website is up.
I'm going to write the dialogue and have a lot to do with the story. That's the only part I can really guarantee, but these guys are pretty awesome.
Also, I've seen early gameplay demos of Pushing and Pulling with Allomancy. It gave me chills.
Can you tell us what genre it's going to be (action, rpg, etc...) or is that confidential information?
Looking at LittleOrbit's web site, I think we shouldn't be expecting Skyrim here...
Little steps. I've pitched an open-world, Skyrim-like RPG (set in a new world I designed) to game developers before, but I don't have the video game experience to persuade them.
These guys are solid. The games they've done before were to stabilize the company, but guys on the Mistborn team worked on Fallout (the original ones) and others worked on Baldur's Gate.
Our goal is a third-person action RPG like Demons' Souls or The Force Unleashed with a heavier storytelling focus and a good system for Allomantic powers. If I can get the city to be somewhat open-world, like Infamous, I'd like to go that way—that may or may not be viable. We don't know for sure at this point.
About the upcoming video game Mistborn: Birthright:
He conveyed that he's still writing the script for Mistborn: Birthright (although, considering the production timeline of video games, you're never really done writing the script until the game is on the shelves). It will be a cross-platform action RPG in the style of Infamous and Demon Souls, although he doubts they'll be able to have as open-ended a world as is featured in Infamous. Brandon went on to reiterate that the game is set 250 years before the first Mistborn book and stars a character who is "part of the history of the world." You can read more information about the character and the setting here.
There's some other cool stuff in there that eventually I'll talk about.
But nothing specific?
Nothing I'm going to be able to (can't tell what he's saying. Basically that he can't say anything specific, I think.
I was going to say generalities. Does that cover the basics of it?
That definitely covers the basics of it, yeah. There was stuff from Sazed's metalminds. A lot of that stuff that was in there. Everything that was in there, he tried to get in the books. And then some other additions. Such as Elendel, which he created as a basin for life and things. And stuff like that. They are very interesting. These guys are here recording everything I have to say. So I have to watch myself.
The author, who also writes video game adaptations, expressed interest in working with local moviemakers and the gaming industry, saying that he sees films and games as another storytelling medium.
Sanderson helped write a video game called "Infinity Blade" that was released last year. Another game based on his bestselling Mistborn Trilogy is scheduled for release in 2013.
For Mistborn fans, World of Warcraft is adding a "Survivor's Bag of Coins" to the 5.2.0 patch. See details here. I think this is awesome! (Also note that the Mistborn action RPG Mistborn: Birthright is still in development, but right now it looks like the release might get pushed back to 2014 instead of this year. There hasn't been an official announcement though.)
According to your blog, an RPG video game called Mistborn: Birthright, based on your Mistborn series, will be coming out in 2013. Can you give us a teaser?
It's set hundreds of years before the first trilogy. I'm writing the story, and it's about a young nobleman who gets entangled in events he did not expect at all. It should be a whole bunch of fun, and I'm trying to work into it things like the origins of the mistcloak and fun stuff like that, [so] we can dig into the past of the world and see the origins of a lot of things that we see later on in the series.
We are always on the lookout for upcoming games here at Inside Mac Games. Recently, prolific fantasy author Brandon Sanderson announced that he was working with gaming company Little Orbit to create Mistborn: Birthright, a game based on his Mistborn novel trilogy. I was personally very excited about the game, as I have become a big fan of Mr. Sanderson’s books and truly enjoyed the Mistborn series.
If you haven't read this fantasy trilogy and are a fan of fantasy novels, you should really consider reading it. As with all of Brandon Sanderson's novels, the universe he creates is completely unique in the realm of fantasy and is definitely not a rehash of existing fantasy worlds. All of the Mistborn books (including a newer spin off series) are excellent reads (or listens in the case of audiobooks!).
The "magic" of the Mistborn series manifests in the abilities of certain citizens to utilize the "special properties" of metals. There are two aspects for each metal, affecting others or oneself. Most people, if they have this ability, can work with only one metal, but there are a rare few who can utilize more then one. In his novels, Sanderson develops ingenious ways for his characters to make use of these abilities to help them achieve amazing things. I will leave it up to you to read the novels to learn more.
If you are familiar with the Mistborn series, the events of the game will take place about 700-800 years before the events of the trilogy. What I believe Sanderson and Little Orbit plan to achieve is an Action RPG that stands on its own, but still exists in the world he created.
Initially, the game was to be released for consoles and Windows PCs. Later, it was revealed that the PC game will be released for Steam and that a Mac OS X version will also be available.
I had the opportunity to submit a handful of questions to Brandon Sanderson about his plans for Mistborn: Birthright. The rest of this article shows my questions, his answers, and perhaps a final comment of my own.
Why did you decide to try to create a game? Was it to satisfy a need of your own, that of your fans, or perhaps some other reason?
I'm a gamer, and I've been playing games since I spent my vacation money on a Nintendo instead of what I was supposed to spend it on.
Doing the job that I do now gives me some opportunities that I just didn't want to pass on; making a video game is one of them. I tried a couple of times earlier in my career to launch a Mistborn video game, to get a developer interested, and it just didn't go anywhere. I wasn't a big enough name yet. I eventually had to wait until the trilogy was done and had a good reputation, and then people started approaching us about making a video game out of it.
The reason to do it is just because I love video games. It's a bit of a self-indulgent reason, but let's just say that it's one of the perks of being an author with some success.
Author's note: I have no issues with his "self indulgence". Anyone who has read and enjoyed a great fantasy novel would most likely enjoy the chance to play in that world. As a successful author, Mr. Sanderson can bring fans into his world via a game. That is a terrific thing, especially if it is done right.
As an author, you can completely control all aspects of a story, the environment, and the characters in the story. When you move to a game realm, there will be many limitations and aspects you can't or won't control. How important is it to get "right" the following aspects of your fantasy realm? What do you plan to do to ensure they work?
a. The look and feel of the environment, which includes environmental sounds, and music
b. Character dialog and interactions, as well as NPC dialog and interactions
c. The storyline and sequences of events
d. Other aspects very important to you
This is quite an in-depth question. Certainly the things you mentioned, that you can't control all aspects of the story, are a consideration. The bigger thing for me with a video game, that is different from my own work, is that a video game is a collaboration. A novel in most cases is a solo work, certainly with the help of talented editing staff and art direction and things like that—but at the end of the day, I can do the bulk of the work on the book myself. On a video game, I can't. Nor would I want to.
On a video game, you take a step toward films where you need to have people who you trust working on aspects of the game that you yourself can't do. Certainly the look and feel and all these things you're talking about—I can oversee them, and Little Orbit has been great; they're showing me concept art and things and saying, do you like this or do you like this? What feels more like Mistborn to you? But at the end of the day, I have to let them do their job, which is program a great game, and come up with an engaging and fun system.
I can have some input in it myself, such as the dialogue and story—I can step in and say hey, I know how to do this; let me do it. So I have done that for this game—I've stepped in and I'm writing the dialogue and the story myself, and I'm going to try to make it the best it can be to match Mistborn. From there I'm working with and trusting people whose job it is to make great games be great.
It is early in the development process, but I am sure you have some intentions as to what you want this game to be. If you could get everything you desire in this project, what type of game would it be? I assume you have played a few games yourself, would it be an RPG like Dragon Age or Two Worlds II, a graphical adventure like Monkey Island or Myst, or will it be more of an FPS like Bioshock?
We're definitely shooting for, on this game, Action RPG. A little less like Dragon Age in that it's a solo adventure with one person—certainly there are NPCs and things, but we're not talking about a party; we're talking about a Mistborn doing awesome stuff. That's what I wanted this game to be. There are so many different ways you could take a game like this; I would like to try different aspects.
One of my favorite games recently was Demon Souls, and its sequel Dark Souls. I like gameplay mechanics like that, for a game like this. But we have to mix it with something more like Infamous in its combat system; powers and things like that. A blend of those types of games is what I would be shooting for. Certainly with a stronger RPG element to it.
Do you intend to create a novel (or series) to go along with or to follow this game?
I'm not intending that right now. There's a chance we'll do a graphic novel, but I feel like this story that I'm building matches the game, and I want it to be for the game.
Will this game explore only the nobility of the Mistborn world or will it include some of the lower class elements? Are you going to bring in any aspects of the empire or the long planned revolution?
This story is taking place several hundred years after the Ascension of the Lord Ruler; 700 or 800 years before the events of the trilogy. I don't want to give any more spoilers than that, but there will be lots of things in the game dealing with lots of different aspects of the Mistborn world.
I know there is nothing set in stone and there is a long path of compromises before the game becomes available. Is there any "teaser" you could share with our readers?
This is something really small—not a big deal—but I am planning to work into this game the origin of Mistcloaks.
Author's Note: You'll have to read the novels to understand these references!
I did ask about Mistborn: Birthright and apparently it is going to make it's way to the next generation of consoles, so it should be a very nice representation. I did find out that Brandon is still writing 100% of the dialogue (there were some rumors a while back that he wouldn't be) and that it is well underway.
What about the Mistborn video game?
We put it off until 2014, because of the new console generation. We had planned for it to come out right when the buzz was saying the new consoles were going to launch. And that felt like a bad idea to us. The Mistborn film is also in the works, but it is very early and it is not nearly as far along as the Wheel of Time film is. So if anyone's father is J. J. Abrams, have him call me.
I recently picked up the Mistborn Adventure game and am loving it. I made a character who is a blind Mistborn because hey, I thought it would make for some interesting possibilities. As I understand Allomancy, he can hear/sense well enough to get around with Tin, plus even though he's blind he can still "see" Steel lines (like the inquisitors), and I assume Atium would work the same way—that is, he could still "see" Atium shadows. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
No, you're right. That works. He'd have to burn metals a LOT though. It might warp him a little. :)
The metal that's stumping me is Gold—what happens when a blind person burns Gold—especially if he "sees" a version of himself that isn't blind? Can he see the other version or just hear/feel/sense him? What about the other version, can it see things? Could a blind person use gold in this way to see the world around him?
A blind person would indeed sense these things, but not have the vision with the eyes. In the same way that a blind person still dreams, but doesn't "See" in them. (As I understand it.) I'd suggest talking to someone who is blind and getting their take on how this would work.
Actually, similar question, though slightly broader scope. So Robert Jordan . . . well, I should say the Wheel of Time computer game came out mid 90s. I personally wasn't too fond of it, but I'm hoping that other computer games and things like that based on that world will come out. Any plans for that, is signed publishing . . .
The game rights . . . Well, forgive me, I think they're doing business as Manetheren. They were Red Eagle. It's the same people. It's just a change of the moniker. And they're working on it.
You know that . . . we haven't heard any press about it. Is there any details available on the net?
I don't know.
Not that we know. No major movement right now.
And last, when's your Mistborn computer game scheduled to come out?
Mistborn we pushed back until 2014 because we worried that we don't have specifics about the potential new console releases in 2013, and we figured we would rather be . . . A lot of you are like, hmm, I can't say anything. [laughter] We figured we would rather be a newer title on the new consoles than a title that got lost in the shuffle of all the hype about a potential 720 or things like that.
Sound reasonable. Thank you.
What benefit does an aluminum savant get?
(After a short period of laughing)
Is it even possible to become an aluminum savant? You'd have to be burning aluminum consistently, and aluminum just kind of goes away in a burst.... After that, he discussed how being an aluminum Misting will likely be considered a handicap in the Mistborn RPG because you can't pick up other Allomantic abilities.
I wonder which of the BSBs (Brandon Sanderson Bots) wrote this one? I'd guess it was BSB_04, since I'm pretty sure the current situation is:
BSB_01 is focused on Words Of Radiance
BSB_02 is working on Firefight (Steelheart sequel)
BSB_03 is prepping the Rithmatist sequel
BSB_04 is prepping Shadows of Self (next Mistborn)
BSB_05 is handling the promotional events
BSB_06 handles the Writing Excuses stuff
BSB_07 does M:TG/fathering
Seriously, how the hell does he do all of this?!
You forgot BSB-8: The Reddit bot.
Actually, this was my breather short piece between Words of Radiance (rough draft) and diving into Firefight and the WoR 2nd draft. I'm really feeling like I could use a few more bots, these days. The promotional events side of things has been killer.
I do have to say that these two Infinity Blade shorts have been quite fun to do. They've been my first chance to dive into something video game related, which is another entire world of writing. I plan to write the Mistborn video game when we finally get around to doing the thing, and getting some first-hand experience with the backend of video gaming has been wonderful.
So much awesomeness at once. Please don't burn out though! We want you to keep making books in the years to come too.
Also, we'll keep bying your books, so you don't need all that promoting ;)
Well, promotion for someone like me is more about going out and saying "Thank you" than it is about going out to encourage people to buy my books. Most of that promotion involves doing booksignings or conventions, which I do explicitly to meet with readers. (Without whom, I'd never have been able to do what I've done.)
The problem comes in saying yes to a full slate of conventions, then having two publishers decide to release three of my books this year. (When I had no book releases last year.) That added a heap of publicity onto my slate. Next year should go back to a more normal schedule.
Well, I can't pretend to be sorry for getting several books out of you this year, but it does sound like a monumental task.
Some of us really appreciate you interacting with your fans here, so thank you. That being said, I really prefer reading works that came completely from your own imagination than that of someone else.
I understand this, and don't worry—I don't plan to do a lot of this. At the same time, working within confines like these offer me a chance to flex different kinds of writing muscles, ones which I'd like to practice using. I plan to take these kinds of projects sparingly. However, if I'm going to dabble in video games, I figure I should gain some experience with the medium before I tackle something like Mistborn.
Are you tempted to write some content for an RPG like Patrick Rothfuss is doing for Torment? Love the books by the way.
The thing that would most tempt me would be doing Magic: The Gathering content, as that is my nerd obsession. I could foresee doing some kind of RPG content, however. Depends on the project and how behind on things I'm feeling.
Ha my respect for you just went up a notch. Nothing more fun then playing Magic: The Gathering with a big group of friends.
To be honest there must be versions BSB-9 and BSB-10 because you're also in those writing lectures on youtube.
I'm loving them by the way. At the start of the last years session where you started asking if anyone read Honor Harrington I literally raised my hand in front of the screen (couldn't believe more people didn't). You should assign it as a mandatory reading!
Glad you're enjoying them. Keep writing.
Hi Brandon! I'm curious if you have an update on Mistborn: Birthright or any potential happenings with the Mistborn film rights?
I'm afraid there are no major updates to either right now. :(